FAA Policy Would Change Circuit Breaker Practices

 - August 17, 2010, 12:06 PM

The FAA has issued a draft policy memorandum that seeks to change attitudes about circuit breaker use in electrical systems and how pilots deal with popped circuit breakers. The policy would affect aircraft manufacturers and modification providers. Comments are due by September 12. Principal changes would be for manufacturers to group and identify essential and non-essential circuit breakers in Part 23 aircraft and to publish flight manual guidance about when to reset circuit breakers. According to the FAA, it has allowed resetting of circuit breakers or replacement of fuses while in flight, but current Part 25 advisory information “is to recommend that no pilot should reset any circuit breaker more than once. Crewmembers may create a potentially hazardous situation if they reset a C/B without knowing what caused it to trip. A tripped C/B should not be reset in flight unless doing so is consistent with explicit procedures specified in the approved operating manual used by the flight crew or unless, in the judgment of the pilot-in-command, resetting the C/B is necessary for the safe completion of the flight.”