What's the difference between an MEL and an MMEL?

In order to operate an aircraft with instruments, equipment or services inoperative the pilot-in-command needs to comply with the provisions of the Minimum Equipment List (MEL). A minimum equipment list is developed by (or on behalf of) an aircraft operator based on a ‘Master Minimum Equipment List’ (Master MEL or MMEL) developed by the aircraft manufacturer.

The MMEL is a document that covers all aircraft of a given type, or even a range of types. It includes provisions for all the different options and configurations that could be applicable to the type and does not take into account what the aircraft is used for or the applicable operating regulations; this is why the aircraft operator needs to develop an MEL that is specific to their operation and their aircraft. The MEL will list the equipment and systems that are actually installed on their particular aircraft and will take into account any additional regulations specifying what equipment needs to be on board because of the nature of the operation, for example liferafts and survival equipment on long overwater flights, or navigation equipment required for PBN.

EU regulations now require the following aircraft operators to establish an MEL for each aircraft:

  • Commercial Air Transport Operators;

  • Commercial Specialised Operators (Aerial Work);

  • Non-commercial Operators of Complex Motor-Powered Aircraft (e.g. corporate jets).

Some non-EU states will allow an operator to use an MMEL in place of the MEL. This is not ideal as the MMEL does not contain the information that the pilot needs to determine if it’s possible to dispatch with some items inoperative. ICAO standards also require an MEL for commercial air transport and international corporate operations so SAFA inspectors will be looking for an MEL even if your own authority hasn’t checked.

If you haven’t prepared your MEL yet then McKechnie Aviation can help. We’ll need the MMEL (from your aircraft manufacturer), some information about your aircraft and your operation then we’ll be able to prepare a tailored MEL. We’ll quote a fixed fee (depending on the complexity of the aircraft and operation) and deliver a compliant MEL for you to submit to your competent authority for approval. We can also take care of updates when the manufacturer changes the MMEL.

Having a proper MEL will not only get the authority off your back but will also simplify the decision making process if something goes U/S down route. Contact us for more information.

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