Ramp Inspections

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Info for Flight Crew



The EASA Ramp Inspection Manual was updated in 2022 but some operators are still catching up on the changes it contains, and there are some bits that you (or your flight crew) could do with being clued up on.

This applies to all aircraft operating to Europe and registered under EASA. The FAA is considering joining the SAFA Program as well (2023).

You can access the new manual here (Approval date 28/10/2022).

The Log of Changes includes:

  • Changes to Alcohol testing procedures
  • Additional best practices
  • Additional explanation on ‘Safety Report’ meaning and
  • Additional explanation on ‘double penalty’ principle
  • Special case examples
  • Guidance on transport of animals

Operators should also familiarise themselves with Ramp Inspector responsibilities and procedures in general as this will assist them in ensuring ramp inspections go smoothly, that they meet the required standards, and help avoid delays.

General Info

This is some general info and guidance for flight crew to help assist them when undergoing a Ramp Inspection:

  • You cannot refuse a ramp inspection (unless there is a significant safety reason for doing so)
  • Ramp Inspectors must identify themselves to the Commander or a representative, and cannot start the internal inspection until they have done so. However, they can start the external inspection.
  • The Ramp Inspector must attempt to not delay an aircraft and is responsible for ensuring they do not interfere with departure schedule or FTLs (if it is a late inbound aircraft).
  • Flight Crew should assist the inspector as much as possible to help it go on time. The RIM suggests inspectors should ensure flight crew are not disturbed during a ‘dedicated time’ prior to the start of the flight – but this is only 8-10 minutes so if more is required, advise the inspector as early as possible. If safety is compromised, or disruption is being caused, you must advise the inspector.
  • Ramp Inspectors have 53 items to check – 24 relate to operational requirements (A-items) checked in the flight crew compartment, 14 items address safety and cabin items (B-items), 11 items are concerning the aircraft condition (C- items) and 3 items (D-items) are related to the inspection of cargo (including dangerous goods) and the cargo compartment They should not check beyond these unless there is significant safety reasons to do so.
  • The inspection walk around should take 10-15 minutes or 20-25 minutes (larger aircraft)
  • Cameras are allowed only for collecting evidence – inspectors should not be using devices to check areas outside those which can be reasonably checked during general maintenance and flight crew pre-flight checks.
  • There are differences between SAFA and SACA inspections. ICAO SARPs do not required NOTAMs onboard, but flight crew must have checked those relevant. EASA does requires NOTAMs onboard (electronic versions are fine).
  • Inspectors may delay or ground a flight due safety reasons or if corrective action is required. Examples would be:
    • tyres appear to be worn beyond the limits
    • oil leakage greater than AMM limits
    • a flight crew member cannot produce a valid licence
    • relevant flight operational data are missing (e.g. missing or incorrect performance calculation, incorrect operational flight plan, incorrect weight and balance calculation)
    • damages, being assessed as having a Major influence on flight safety, are identified.

Alcohol Testing

The full process is in Section 10.3. Much of this information is for the Ramp Inspectors. The general principles which flight crew should be aware of are:

  • It must be carried out in a private area, out of sight of passengers and anyone else. Flight crew can request a more private area if they feel it is required
  • A positive result is if more than 0.2 grams of blood alcohol is detected
    • Certain liquids can cause a false negative including fruit juices, mouth sprays with alcoholic content, medical liquids and burping
  • In the event of a positive test, a confirmation test can be requested. This must be done after 15 minutes, but before 30 minutes
  • Flight crew have a responsibility if they suspect a crew member has been drinking to report this and to ensure the crew member does not board the aircraft
  • Minimum times between drinking alcohol and reporting to work vary in different States. The minimum is 8 hours, but confirm with your company manuals and ensure you are aware of States with greater limits (some apply 10 or 12 hours, and some have zero tolerance). These time limits do not ensure you will be below the test limits!

The testing workflow (from EASA RIM)

Common Findings

The most common common findings for business aviation aircraft are reportedly:

  • Flight preparation: Alternates unavailable, no weather briefing, incorrect planning of alternate routes
  • Mass and balance calculations: Incorrect pax numbers on the load sheet, flight crew knowledge deficiencies with regards aircraft loading limits and weights
  • Manuals, Checklists and Documentation: Different versions of manuals/checklists onboard, incomplete documentation on in-flight fuel check procedures or cat C airport briefings, outdated manuals, incorrect NOTOCs, out of date or missing charts, inadequate EFB storage or authorisations
  • MEL and Defect notification/rectification: (O) and (M) procedures inadequate or missing, discrepancies between QRH and MEL, maintenance action incomplete, inoperative items omitted from tech log, flight ops conducted beyond due dates
  • Cabin Safety: Straps and nets not utilised, luggage and other equipment blocking exits or in correcting stored


This is a list of resources you might find handy in better preparing (your crew) for Ramp Inspections:

  • Rim Appendix: Full list of items checked and findings
  • EASA SIB: Covering Alcohol testing for Flight Crew
  • EASA Ramp Inspection Program: Contains some useful document and regulation guidance
  • EASA: Official site on ramp inspections and FAQs
  • FAA DRS: Documentation on ramp inspections for foreign and domestic aircraft in the US

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