Maintenance and Manufacturing Staff Instructions (MSI) No. 3

Subject: En-route inspections
Number: MSI 3
Revision No: 1
Number of Pages:  
File No:  AARP-5009-3-3
Issue Date: 21/11/96

1. Purpose

1.1. These procedures outline the personnel qualifications and other criteria for airworthiness inspectors conducting cockpit en-route inspections, and the procedure for reporting findings.

2. Background

2.1. Pursuant to the Aeronautics Act and in accordance with the Ministerial Delegation of Authority,  airworthiness inspectors are permitted access and authorized to inspect all parts of aircraft and equipment operated by air operators, including aircraft in flight. Inspections conducted on aircraft in flight, are referred to as an en-route inspection.

2.2. En-route inspections are carried out to monitor (during normal flight operations) the adequacy of the air operator's maintenance procedures related to:

  1. journey log procedures;
  2. defect reporting/recording;
  3. MEL procedures/limitations;
  4. aircraft documents;
  5. safety equipment;
  6. aircraft ground handling (de-icing, loading, unloading, ground power, ground to cockpit communications, etc.);
  7. aircraft refueling;
  8. aircraft condition and operation;
  9. flight crew concerns and feedback;
  10. maintenance concerns and feedback; and
  11. monitoring/surveillance of contracted maintenance activities.

  2.3.  Because of the differences that may exist between different regional offices with regard to organization and work assignments, these procedures have been drafted to avoid reference to specific job titles or functions. This should afford regional managers the maximum flexibility in application of the procedures.

3. Effective Date

3.1. This instruction comes into effect on Dec. 09, 1996

4. Authority

4.1. The authority for conducting en-route inspections is contained in the Aeronautics Act. Canadian Air Operators operating in compliance with Canadian Aviation Regulations (CAR) 706 are subject to en-route inspections.

4.2.  Foreign air operators operating under a Canadian operating certificate are subject to inspection in accordance with these procedures. Canadian air operators operating under a foreign operating certificates will be inspected by HQ authorized personnel, unless the Director of Maintenance and Manufacturing Branch, requests that the inspection be performed by a specific regional office.

5. Personnel AUTHORIZED to conduct en-route inspections

5.1.  Principal maintenance inspectors (PMIs) and airworthiness inspectors currently involved in large air carrier surveillance activities may be authorized by their supervisors, to conduct en-route inspections.

5.2.  Airworthiness inspectors assigned to en-route inspection duties must have successfully completed the following courses:

  1. Transport Canada approved courses on type or equivalent; and
  2. FAA training course 21406, Airworthiness Inspector Cockpit En-Route Inspection.

5.3.  The above training requirements may be waived at the discretion of the Regional Manager, Airworthiness, when the inspector has equivalent experience.

5.4.  Each region shall retain a record of all training and qualifications for each inspector authorized to perform en-route inspections, using the en-route inspection training record, (Appendix B). Before signing an en-route inspection letter of authorization (Appendix A), the applicable supervisor  shall ensure all training is complete and current.

6. Planning, Initiation and access to aircraft

6.1. En-route inspections may be scheduled as part of the departmental operational plan. Additional inspections are scheduled according to national, regional and district office special requirements. En-route inspections are to be used for air operator audit and surveillance purposes only, and are not to be scheduled for purposes of transportation.

6.2.   En-route inspections will be initiated by having an en-route inspection letter of authorization (Appendix A) completed and approved by the inspector's supervisor .

6.3.  As a minimum, one copy of the en-route inspection letter of authorization shall be retained by each of the following:

  1. Regional Manager, Airworthiness;
  2. Inspector (carried by inspector during inspection); and
  3. The air operator. Copy sent to the air operator (in case of spot check, presented to company representative).

6.4.  Upon issue of the letter of authorization, the inspector will be responsible for negotiating directly with the air operator for authorization to occupy the jump seat or first row cabin seat, with as much advance notice as reasonably practical.

6.5.  En-route inspections shall be planned in such a manner to avoid disruption of company operational flight checks and Transport Canada Safety Board inspections. An en-route inspection schedule shall be prepared in coordination with the flight operations group of the applicable air operator. Written authorization from the air operator or boarding passes shall be obtained in advance.

6.6.  The inspector must ensure that the air operator is aware of his responsibility to advise the flight crew of an impending en-route inspection, including all embarking points and intermediate stops.

6.7.  The following documents must be carried by inspectors conducting en-route inspections:

  1. valid passport (with appropriate visas if required);
  2. Transport Canada credentials;
  3. National Airport Restricted Pass;
  4. airline authorization or boarding pass;
  5. en-route inspection letter of authorization (Appendix A);
  6. vaccination record when required;
  7. Ministerial delegation of authority ; and
  8. en-route inspection check-list, (Appendix C).

6.8.  Where en-route inspections are conducted in other regions/countries, the regional office/local authorities shall be notified as a courtesy.

7.  Inspector's conduct

7.1.  In the performance of their duties, the actions of all airworthiness inspectors are constantly subjected to close scrutiny and comments by airline employees and the general public. It is imperative that professional conduct, tact and good judgment be exercised at all times.

7.2.  Inspectors must observe Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) rules on alcohol and drug use (CAR 602) prior to and during flight duties.

7.3. Inspectors must be alert for leading questions from crew members regarding technical information, other operators, etc. It is imperative that tact and discretion regarding company proprietary information and good judgment be exercised at all times.

7.4.  Inspectors should be dressed in suitable business attire to assimilate with the cockpit environment they will be working in, or any special attire required by the air operator involved in the en-route inspection.

7.5.  Inspectors are not permitted to handle aircraft flight controls at any time. In addition, the inspector shall not manipulate, operate, select or deselect any switches or circuit breakers.

7.6. The use of the observer's audio select panel, oxygen selector and night operation of cockpit lights is only allowed upon the flight crews instruction and permission.

7.7.   Inspectors shall not carry any tools other than a flashlight and an inspection mirror, office supplies and material necessary to complete an en-route inspection report. Inspectors are reminded that operation of portable computers, portable transmitting-receiving devices, etc. are forbidden on most aircraft. If the operation of these devices is required, please ensure that all air operators and government regulations are adhered to and permission from the pilot-in-command has been obtained.

7.8.   Inspectors may wish to monitor radio communications during en-route inspections. It is the responsibility of the inspector to ensure that the air operator will supply an observer's headset, or that the regional office has headsets available that are approved and compatible with the aircraft.

7.9. Any complaints from an air operator concerning an inspector's conduct or dress will be investigated by the inspector's supervisor and, when required, restrictions to conduct en-route inspections will be imposed.

7.10. An air operator's request for the rescheduling of an en-route inspection may be accepted where warranted by bona fide operating requirements or at the discretion of the inspector.

8. Pre-departure inspection procedures and check-in

8.1. The inspector conducting en-route inspection must be familiar with the operating procedures of the aircraft type and facilities used by the air operator.

8.2. The inspector shall contact the air operator's flight operation center at least 90 minutes prior to flight to arrange a meeting place prior to departure so that the inspector may identify himself to the air operator's representatives and presenting his official credentials and trip pass.

8.3. The inspector shall confirm that the pilot-in-command or alternate flight crew member(s) have been advised that an en-route inspection will be conducted during the specified flights and the appropriate information concerning the inspection is understood and agreed to by both parties.

8.4.   The inspector shall acquire a boarding pass and/or flight coupon and be listed on the crew manifest. This is particularly important when a flight is international, so that customs and immigration clearances can be expedited. This will also help ensure that a meal is on board when the flight duration warrants it.

8.5. The dispatcher shall be asked for the names of the crew, aircraft registration, aircraft type, gate position, etc. and the information shall be recorded. The inspector shall introduce himself to the flight crew members as an airworthiness inspector, present his credentials and tell the pilot-in-command that he has made prior arrangement to occupy the observer's seat on the flight.

8.6. The inspector's baggage must conform to the air operator's carry-on baggage program. If there is concern that baggage limits may be exceeded, excess baggage shall be checked in. The inspector shall arrange to ride with the crew to the terminal and once aboard the aircraft, stow baggage and be sure not to clutter the cockpit. It is preferable to travel light.

8.7.  It cannot be over stressed that to conduct a successful en-route inspection, it is very important to establish a good rapport with the crew from the beginning.

9. Denial of access to cockpit

9.1 Should an inspector be refused admission to the flight deck for no valid reason, he shall inform the pilot-in-command of the aircraft that under the authority of the Aeronautics Act 8.7(1)(a) and CAR 705.27  he is authorized to occupy the observer's seat.

9.2. If the pilot-in-command still refuses, the inspector shall not continue the inspection. He must inform the pilot-in-command that the refusal is contrary to Section 7.3(1) (d) of the Aeronautics Act and is subject to regulatory compliance action under section 7.3(2) of the Aeronautics Act. He shall then  leave the aircraft as soon as possible.

9.3 In all cases, the inspector shall avoid confrontation with the flight crew. He shall not cause any delay to the operations unless there is an immediate threat to safety.

9.4. Immediately upon return to the office, the inspector, in consultation with his supervisor, shall complete a full report of the occurrence and submit the report along with any other required documentation to the person responsible for this function in the regional office.

10. Performance of en-route inspections

10.1. The items listed below are intended as a guide, but are not all encompassing. Any conditions that may have a bearing on flight safety shall be reported.

10.2. Upon boarding and stowing baggage, the inspector shall investigate the mechanical status of the aircraft as he would on a ramp check: physical inspection, journey log, manuals, certificates, etc.

10.3. A walk around check for security and general conditions shall be accomplished prior to departure if possible with a crew member in order to determine the thoroughness of their check.

10.4. The flight crew's use of the checklist shall be monitored during the pre-flight phase of operation to ensure proper documentation is adhered to.

10.5. A review of the aircraft journey log will often direct an inspector's attention toward specific irregularities or defects that warrant special attention during flight. Where chronic or trend items recur during the flight, the log entries shall be reviewed to ensure they are still in compliance with the MEL/MCM procedures. Corrective action entries shall be checked for maintenance release signatures. Should maintenance discrepancies or irregularities be observed during flight and not entered in the journey log, the pilot-in-command shall be advised upon termination of the flight that the regulation requires that an entry related to defects have to be entered in the journey log after each flight.

10.6. Ensure required manuals are available and current. Verify the list of revisions against the master copy.

10.7. Passenger compartment safety requirement inspection shall be conducted prior to, or at the termination of the flight, when no passengers are on board. Defects concerning this area of inspection shall be brought to the attention of the passenger safety inspector.

10.8. Refueling operations shall be observed when possible.

10.9. In cases of possible violation, the inspector shall advise the pilot-in-command of the aircraft, advise the air operator's maintenance department, and leave the aircraft if the condition is not corrected. All such situations must be reported.

10.10. If airworthiness is affected, it  may be necessary to issue a Notice of Suspension (26-0370) and suspend the certificate of airworthiness.

10.11. Seat belts shall be worn whenever the seat is occupied (CAR 605).

10.12. The inspector  is  required to be briefed on cockpit emergency procedures prior to take off, he must also familiarize himself  with headset and oxygen panel location and operation.

10.13. The Inspector shall take care not to divert the attention of the flight crew from their duties and observe sterile cockpit rules (no conversation below 10,000 feet, unless immediately concerned with aircraft operation, or queried by the crew).

10.14. Discretion shall be used when writing notes in flight (it may be distracting to the crew).

10.15. When passing through the cabin, the inspector shall  avoid conversation with the passengers.

10.16. In a hijacking attempt, the inspector has no responsibility, and shall remain in his seat.

10.17. At the end of the flight, if the pilot-in-command asks for any comments, the inspector shall be honest with him. He shall not say that everything was okay then write up otherwise.

10.18. In addition to these items, a general inspection guide for interior and exterior inspections is provided in the Appendix D.

11. Maintenance Discrepancies

11.1. In addition to formal recording, all maintenance discrepancies shall be discussed with the pilot-in-command upon the termination of the flight. Quite often, as in the case of a three person crew, the pilot-in-command will assign this duty to the second officer or the flight engineer. The inspector shall ensure these discrepancies, if reportable, are noted in the aircraft journey log  . If the pilot-in-command is unwilling to enter these discrepancies, he shall be advised that failure to record discrepancies is contrary to regulatory requirements (CAR 605).

12. Potential Violations

12.1. Prior to and during the en-route inspection, the inspector shall point out any potential violation prior to its occurrence and inform the crew of the possible consequences.

12.2. The inspector must not knowingly allow a violation to occur. However, this does not imply disregard for the approved cockpit procedures.

13. Reporting en-route inspections

13.1. An aircraft en-route inspection check-list (Appendix C) must be completed for each en-route inspection. Each item shall be addressed separately. Upon termination of the flight, the inspector will debrief the crew related to any items that were not satisfactory.

13.2. In all cases where known or suspected discrepancies have been observed which require coordination with other specialists, such coordination and action shall be noted as well as any corrective action which has been initiated.

13.3. All reports must be forwarded to the following:

  1. person responsible for this function in the regional office;
  2. air operator's file;
  3. PMI;
  4. en-route file; and
  5. regions affected by inspection.(contract AMOs, etc.).

14. Follow-up Action

14.1. Where the inspector who conducts the en-route inspection is the PMI or airworthiness inspector currently involved in surveillance activities with regard to the operations of the air carrier concerned, he shall initiate the necessary corrective action in response to any reported discrepancies, and keeping the report pending until all such action has been satisfactorily corrected.  Where reported discrepancies concern other specialists such as avionics or flight operations, such discrepancies shall be brought to the attention of the appropriate inspector for necessary follow-up action.

14.2. Where the inspector who conducts the en-route inspection is not currently involved in surveillance activities with regard to the operations of the air carrier concerned, he shall communicate the findings to the relevant supervisor who will be responsible to initiate the necessary corrective actions in accordance with the preceeding directives.

15. Aircraft maintenance and manufacturing branch contact

15.1. The responsible officer indicated below may be contacted for information regarding this MSI:

Brian Whitehead, AARPC
Aircraft Maintenance & Manufacturing Branch.
Phone (613) 941-8371

D.B. Sherritt
Acting Director, Maintenance and Manufacturing Branch


From :  
To :
Subject: En-route inspection

This letter authorizes a Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) inspector, under the authority of the Ministerial delegation of authority document, to conduct an en-route inspection on the following aircraft.

A/C type :
Air operator:
Dates/times/flight no.
Approved by:

EN-ROUTE inspection training record

P.R.I. number:
Previous training and industry background:

Aircraft type Course description Date Certification


Air operator:
A/C Type:
A/C Reg:


Wings                                                                            Fuselage                                                                                     Empennage

General                                ______________            General                                           ________________               Horizontal Stab                        ______

Leading edges                       ______________            Doors                                              ________________               Vertical Stab                            ______

Ailerons                                ______________            Windows                                         ________________               Elevators                                 ______

Flaps                                    ______________            Cargo                                              ________________               Rudder                                    ______

De-icing                                ______________            De-icing                                          ________________               De-icing                                   ______

Fueling                                 ______________            Fueling                                            ________________                                                             ______



Engine                                                                        Cockpit                                                                                              Cabin

Pylons                                  ______________            General                                           ________________               Emergency Exits                      ______

Cowls                                   ______________            Journey Log                                     ________________               ELT                                         ______

Propellers/Fans                     ______________            Pilot Complaints                              ________________               Evacuation                               ______

Equipment                            ______________            Weight Control Sheets                     ________________               Load Security                           ______

Intakes                                 ______________            Correction of Snags                          ________________               Slide/Raft Bottles                     ______

Exhausts                              ______________            Maintenance Time Limits                  ________________               Life Vests (if req.)                     ______

Reversers                             ______________            MEL Revisions                                 ________________               Oxygen                                   ______

Cleanliness                           ______________            Placards/Inop CB locked                  ________________               Fire Extinguishers                    ______

                                                      First Aid Kits                                   ________________               Cabin Logbook                         ______


Landing Gear                                        Aircraft Documents                                   Cabin

General                                __________________                   C of R                                                ___________         Windows                                _______

Brakes                                 __________________                   C of A                                                ___________         Seat/Seat belts                       _______

Tires                                     __________________                   A/C Radio License                              ___________         Lavatories                               _______

Doors                                   __________________                   A/C Flight Manual                               ___________                                                     

Struts                                   __________________                   Weight & Balance                               ___________                                                     

                                                              Compass Correction Cards                  ___________        





                 S = Satisfactory                    X = Unsatisfactory (see remarks)                           R= Remarks


The following job aids are provided as general guidelines for performing interior and exterior inspections. This requires a basic knowledge and familiarity of the type of operation being inspected. These guidelines are not intended to be tasks unto themselves, but should be used as additional guidance while performing cockpit en route, cabin en route, and ramp inspections.


1.  Examine the airworthiness and registration certificates to ensure:

  1. both certificates are current and valid.
  2. both certificates contain the same model, serial, and registration numbers.
  3. temporary registration is current.
  4. signatures are in permanent-type ink.

2.   Flight Deck Inspection

  1. Instrument security and range markings.
  2. Windows (delamination, scratches, crazing, and general visibility).
  3. Emergency equipment.
  4. Seal on medical kit (if located on flight-deck).
  5. Seat belts and shoulder harnesses (Technical Standard Order marking, metal to metal latching, and general   condition).

3  Check the following when using cockpit jump seat:

  1. Jump seat oxygen system - turn regulator on and select 100% oxygen.
  2. Interphone system - select Comm 1 and Comm 2 to ensure systems are working.
  3. The jump seat to ensure the seat is serviceable and that seat belt and shoulder harnesses are available.

NOTE: When the most forward jump seat is in the cabin, coordinate with the crew for connecting the headset and adapter cables.

4.  Cabin Inspection. Inspect the cabin, to include the following:

  1. Lavatory, to ensure:
  2. Fire extinguisher system is installed in sealed trash containers.
  3. Smoke detection system is installed.
  4. Trash containers are sealed according to applicable Airworthiness Directive(s).
  5. "No Smoking" placards are posted.
  6. Ashtrays are available outside the lavatory.

5.  Flight attendant seats, to include:

  1. Pulling the jump seat down to ensure seats in the path of the exits retract.
  2. Inspecting seat belts for Technical Standard Order marking, metal to metal latching and general condition.

6.   Cabin emergency equipment, to include:

  1. Flight attendant flashlight holder.
  2. Slide containers, to ensure containers are properly marked for content. Check for last inspection date and pressure of slide inflation bottle if visible.
  3. Medical kit (if not checked on flight deck).
  4. First aid kit (seal and security).
  5. Emergency oxygen (proper pressure and security).
  6. Megaphone(s) (security and general condition).
  7. Fire extinguishers (security, pressure, seal and date of last inspection).
  8. Life raft storage markings (if raft is required).
  9. Emergency briefing cards (random sample).
  10. General condition of emergency floor path lighting system.
  11. Placement of all "Emergency Exit" sign.
  12. Presence and legibility of "Emergency Exit" operation instructions.
  13. Placarding for location of all emergency equipment.
  14. Life preservers (vests).
  15. Passenger seats, to ensure:
  16. Seats adjacent to emergency exits do not block exit path.
  17. Seats are secure in seat track (random sample).
  18. Seat breakover pressure is in accordance with operator standards (random sample).
  19. "Fasten Seat Belt During Flight" placards are in view from all seats.
  20. Seat belts have metal-to-metal latches and are in good general condition (random sample).

7.  Galleys/service centers, to include:

  1. Trash bin lids for fit.
  2. Storage compartment restraints
  3. Stationary cart tie-downs.
  4. Lower lobe equipment/restraints.
  5. Lift operation.
  6. Galley supply stowage.
  7. Overhead baggage compartments to include:
  8. Weight restriction placards.
  9. Proper latching of the doors, when applicable.

8.  Cargo Compartment

  1. Cargo compartment fire protection is appropriate for its classification.
  2. Cargo liner is free from tears and/or punctures. If these are noted, inspect structure behind liner for damage, e.g. stringers, circumferentials, etc. Ensure sealing tape is proper type and in good condition.
  3. Cargo door is free of fluid leaks and structural damage.
  4. Fuselage door structure and sill are free of damage.
  5. Smoke detectors are in satisfactory condition.
  6. Lighting is operable and protective grills are installed.
  7. Cargo flooring is free from structural or other damage.
  8. Pallet positions/compartments are placarded for position identification and weight limitations.
  9. Inspect pallet system, if applicable. Ensure the following:
  10. Ball mats are serviceable, e.g. no broken or missing balls.
  11. Forward, aft, and side restraints are serviceable.
  12. Roller assemblies are secure and have no missing or broken rollers.
  13. Ensure the 9G forward restraint net is serviceable, if applicable.
  14. Ensure that cargo restraints for bulk loaded cargo are adequate, if applicable.

9.   Inspect cabin mounted equipment.

  1. Inspect fire extinguishers for inspection due dates and pressure.
  2. Inspect load manifest for Hazardous Material. If present, determine crew knowledge of the following:
  3. Location and labeling of hazardous materials.
  4. Special requirements, if required.
  5. Ensure captain is aware of the following responsibilities:
  6. Inspection of cargo to ensure proper load distribution.
  7. Ensuring loads do not exceed compartment or position limits.
  8. Ensuring loads are being properly restrained.

11.  Exterior inspection

NOTE: Accompany a flight crew member during the exterior inspection, when possible.

  1. Inspect the landing gear and wheel well areas as follows:
  2. Any indication of wear, chafing lines, chafing wires, cracks, dents, or other damage.
  3. Structural integrity of gear and doors (cracks, dents, or other damage).
  4. Hydraulic leaks (gear struts, actuators, steering valves, etc.).
  5. Tire condition.
  6. Tire pressure (if pressure indicators are installed).
  7. Wheel installation and safety locking devices.
  8. Wear, line security, leaks, and installation of brakes.
  9. Corrosion.

12.  Inspect the fuselage and pylons, to include the following:

  1. Structure for cracks, corrosion, dents, or other damage.
  2. Fasteners (loose, improper, missing).
  3. Radome for general condition.
  4. Pitot tubes for general condition.
  5. Static ports (cleanliness and obstructions).
  6. Stall warning devices and other sensors.
  7. Antennas (security and indications of corrosion).
  8. Lavatory servicing areas (evidence of fresh blue water streaks).
  9. Cargo compartments for integrity of fire-protective liners (no holes or unapproved tape used for repairs.
  10. Emergency exit identification/markings.
  11. Registration marking (legibility).
  12. All lights (general condition, broken lenses, etc.).
  13. Inspect the wings and pylons to include as follows:
  14. Structure for cracks, corrosion, dents, or other damage.
  15. Leading edge (dents and/or damage in line with engine inlets).
  16. Leading edge devices (when open, actuator leaks, general condition of lines, wires, and plumbing).
  17. All lights (general condition, broken lenses, etc.).
  18. Flaps (cracks, corrosion, dents, and delamination).
  19. Flaps wells (general condition of lines, wires, and plumbing).
  20. Static eliminators (number missing).
  21. Ailerons and aileron tabs (cracks, corrosion, dents, delamination).
  22. Access door, inspection panels, and blowout panels (missing, loose, or improperly secured).

13. Inspect the engines as follows:

  1. Intake for fan blade damage and oil leaks.
  2. Ring cowl for missing or loose fasteners.
  3. Cowling doors for security and proper fit.
  4. Lower cowling for evidence of fluid leaks.
  5. Exhaust for turbine and tailpipe damage, and evidence of fluids.
  6. Reverser doors for stowage and security, and evidence of leaks.
  7. Access doors for security.

14.  Inspect the propellers as follows:

  1. Leading edge of propeller for cracks, dents, and other damage.
  2. De-icer boots for signs of deterioration and security.
  3. Spinners for security, cracks, and evidence of fluid leaks.
  4. Inspect the empennage as follows:
  5. Leading edge for dents.
  6. All lights (general condition, broken lenses, etc.).
  7. Missing static discharge eliminators.
  8. Elevator, rudder, and tabs (cracks, corrosion, dents, and delamination).
  9. Elevator and rudder power unit for evidence of hydraulic leaks.
  10. Inspect the ground safety aspect as follows:
  11. Positioning of support vehicles.

15.  Fueling of aircraft as follows:

  1. Refueling pressure.
  2. Condition of refueling unit (leaks, filter change dates, exhaust system, etc.).
  3. Grounding.
  4. Fire protection.
  5. General fueling procedures.
  6. General condition of ramp, as follows:
  7. Provisions for grounding.
  8. Foreign objects on ramp.
  9. Fuel spills.

16.  General housekeeping/cleanliness.

  1. Passenger control.
  2. Fire protection.
  3. Inspect the loading and unloading of baggage compartments as follows:
  4. Baggage restraining system.
  5. Load distribution.