Advisory Circulars

Commercial & Business Aviation


No. 0215


Flight Deck Door Regulations


This Commercial and Business Aviation Advisory Circular (CBAAC) is to provide air operators and flight crews with information concerning amendments to the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), which became effective April 10, 2002. Two new regulations were developed to mandate the installation and use of flight deck doors and locks on commercial air transport aeroplanes. In addition, an existing regulation was modified to place stricter controls on admission to the flight deck. The Commercial Air Services Standards (CASS) were also amended to reflect the operating procedures and training required by the Air Operator to meet these regulatory requirements. These changes were intended to enhance the security of the flight deck.


The new provisions are applicable to all aeroplanes operating under Subpart 5 of Part VII of the CARs for which an initial type certificate was issued after January 1, 1958.


Sections 705.80, 705.45, 705.27 of the CARs; and Sections 725.124 and 725.138 of the CASS.


In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States, the Minister of Transport promulgated Enhanced Security Measures that were initially effective September 17, 2001. One of the measures required, every air operator to ensure that existing doors between the flight deck and passenger compartment were closed and locked, at all times during aircraft operations, with a locking device that can only be unlocked from inside the flight deck. In order to allow prompt modification of the flight deck doors and/or locking mechanism, an exemption from the existing provisions of Subsection 571.06(1) of the CARs, Sections 705.135, 705.137, 705.138 and 705.139 of the CARs was issued October 9, 2001, to alleviate the airworthiness standards applicable to major alterations and to allow development and implementation of operational procedures without requiring prior Transport Canada approval. Thus it was expected that air operators would install locking devices, such as non-frangible deadbolts or bars, to help prevent intrusion of the flight deck and that procedures would be developed and implemented to minimize and control the opening of the flight deck door once closed and locked for flight.

On January 15, 2002 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 92-3, which mandated that all transport category aeroplanes, operated under part 121, including all-cargo aeroplanes that had a flight deck door on that date, have a flight deck door with an internal locking device that could only be unlocked from inside the flight deck. New rules for Part 25 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) were also issued to mandate that flight deck doors meet new design criteria by April 9, 2003.

In order to harmonize the CARs with the Enhanced Security Measures and to introduce regulations similar to the FAA, the Minister of Transport determined that, under the urgency of the situation, it would be in the best interest of aviation safety and the safety of the public in general to amend the CARs without the normal consultation process.


Section 705.80 of the CARs - Doors and Locks is a new regulation, which requires all passenger-carrying aeroplanes to have a door between the passenger compartment and the flight deck, with a locking mechanism, which can only be unlocked from within the flight deck. Passenger-carrying aeroplanes that have a crew rest facility, which is accessible from both the flight deck and the passenger compartment, must also have a lockable door installed between the crew rest facility and the passenger compartment.

Transport Canada also considered the issue of cargo aeroplanes carrying certain persons under Section 705.16 of the CARs. As there was no means to ensure that a person who intends on using an aeroplane as a weapon could not board an all-cargo aeroplane and since many all-cargo aeroplanes already had flight deck doors, it was determined that these aeroplanes should meet the same security standards for flight deck doors as for passenger aeroplanes. Thus all-cargo aeroplanes that had a flight deck door on January 15, 2002 and which have an occupied compartment outside of the flight deck must also have an internal locking mechanism that can only be unlocked from within the flight deck. For the purpose of Section 705.80 of the CARs, a new definition, "all-cargo aeroplane" meaning "an aeroplane that is equipped and used mainly for the carriage of goods," was included in Section 705.80 of the CARs.

The manufacturer's key for the flight deck door might have multiple purposes, such as, to open medical supplies or other cabinet doors inside the passenger compartment. In order to ensure the security of the flight deck, while permitting cabin crew to have access to the flight deck key for those other purposes, restrictions on when cabin crew could have access to the key were included in this regulation. Accordingly, this section prohibits any person, other than a flight crew member, to have access to a key that can unlock the flight deck door unless the required locking device described above is installed and in use. The intent of the regulation is that modifications would be made so that the generic manufacturer's key would no longer open the flight deck door. Modifying the existing lock to disable the generic key from opening the door or installing a new locking mechanism such as a deadbolt or bar could meet this requirement.

After April 9, 2003, doors must be installed that meet the design requirements of the new Airworthiness Standard, Section 525.795 of the Airworthiness Manual (AWM) - Security Considerations. This section establishes door design criteria for impact, tensile load on the handle or knob and resistance to small arms fire and fragmentation devices. Also after this date, it is required that the locking device and any other system used to control access to the flight deck can be operated from each flight crew member position. This provision is applicable to the pilot and co-pilot positions only. The intent was to ensure that if one pilot became incapacitated, the other pilot would still be able to operate the controls for the flight deck door lock while flying the aeroplane. This would provide a means for the pilot remaining at the controls to allow another crew member to enter the flight deck and provide assistance. In order to meet these requirements the pilot's seat must be positioned so that they are able to view the primary instruments and fully deflect all flight controls.

Section 705.45 of the CARs - Closing and Locking of Flight Deck Door is a new regulation, which requires the Pilot-In-Command (PIC) of an aeroplane, which under Section 705.80 of the CARs must be equipped with a lockable flight deck door, to ensure the door is closed and locked from the moment the passenger entry doors are closed in preparation for departure until they are opened on arrival. The PIC of any other transport category aeroplane for which Section 705.80 of the CARs is not applicable, but which is equipped with a flight deck door must also ensure the door is closed, and if equipped with a lock, the door is locked during aircraft operation. The flight deck door may be unlocked and opened when crew members and other authorized persons are required to exit or enter the flight deck in the performance of their duties, for physiological needs or for overriding concerns related to the safety of flight. Persons entering or leaving the flight deck must follow procedures established in the company operations manual.

Overriding Safety of Flight Considerations

Ultimately, the PIC will determine when an overriding safety of flight consideration warrants opening the flight deck door. Circumstances which may be considered overriding safety of flight concerns include but are not limited to the following:

  1. visual inspections to confirm such things as a potential fuel leak, engine condition, visual gear/flap configuration, inspection of contaminated surfaces;
  2. safety/emergency procedures, such as pilot incapacitation or fire fighting;
  3. abnormal or emergency landings where safety procedures requires that the door be open for landing; and
  4. to communicate essential information where there is no appropriate alternative under the circumstances.

Existing Section 705.27 of the CARs Admission to Flight Deck, was amended to specify who may be allowed on the flight deck during flight, which company, a wholly owned subsidiary or a code share partner and any person who has expertise related to the flight operation and whose service is required by the operator. This section also specifies the required identification that must be presented by an authorized individual and that company procedures will be established for authorizing individuals on the flight deck. The intent of these changes is to ensure that only persons involved with flight operations, flight safety or other legitimate reason are provided with access to the flight deck. By reducing the number of additional persons on the flight deck, the potential number of times for opening and closing the flight deck door is also minimized, further enhancing security.

Standard 725.135 of the CASS - Contents of Company Operations Manual, was amended to require the following procedures after April 9, 2003:

  • procedures for controlling access to the flight deck;
  • procedures for opening, closing and locking the flight deck door;
  • procedures to enable a crew member to enter the flight deck if a crew member becomes incapacitated;
  • procedures to verify the identity of a person authorized to access the flight deck; and
  • procedures to control access to a crew rest facility from the passenger compartment, if the aeroplane is equipped with a crew rest facility that can be accessed from the flight deck and from the passenger compartment.

Standard 725.124 of the CASS - Training Program was amended to require training on the above procedures. It is expected that the training program will be sufficiently detailed to address all aspects of the procedures.

Guidance on Developing Procedures. The following must be considered when developing safety and emergency procedures:

  1. the means and methods by which the crew members will communicate between the flight deck and the cabin;
  2. Minimum Equipment List (MEL) relief for the public address (PA) system shall not be exercised when communication procedures during normal or emergency situations require the use of this system;
  3. the methods by which the flight crew determine the security of the area near the flight deck door and the identity of a person requesting access whenever there is a requirement to open the door in accordance with section 705.45(2) (e.g. the use of peep holes, code words, interphone, etc);
  4. procedures shall be developed with an aim to minimize the need to open the flight deck door during flight; and
  5. procedures shall consider pilot incapacitation for the following situations:
  1. both pilots are in the flight deck and one pilot becomes incapacitated; and

  2. one pilot is out of the flight deck and the pilot remaining at the controls becomes incapacitated. For aircraft not equipped with a means to access the flight deck from the passenger compartment, such as a key pad, a third crew member must be brought into the flight deck prior to the pilot leaving in order to protect access to the flight deck.

Additionally the following considerations for security should be made when developing procedures:

  1. primary and secondary methods of communicating with the flight deck;
  2. methods of communication to advise the flight deck when access is required (e.g. chimes, knocks, interphone, etc.);
  3. security enhanced crew briefings to include a review of normal and emergency procedures to be used for flight deck access;
  4. positive identification of those entering flight deck (e.g. use of peep holes, code words, etc.);
  5. limiting access to the area in the immediate vicinity of flight deck;
  6. emphasise use of the flight deck/cabin interphone as the primary method of communication;
  7. promote the use of seat belts during flight to help monitor passenger activity and to keep aisles clear;
  8. promote an increase in cabin supervision as an means to observe suspicious passenger behaviour;
  9. passenger management to minimize congestion at lavatories located near the flight deck;
  10. provide a clear area around the flight deck entrance when pilots leave or enter the flight deck;
  11. maximize flight attendant view of the flight deck area;
  12. promote the use of the forward lavatory by the flight crew whenever it is practicable; and
  13. minimize passenger's view of the flight deck entrance area by use of curtains.

Company Manuals and Training Programs

All applicable air operator documents, such as manuals and training programs, must be amended to reflect the new procedures and submitted to Transport Canada, for approval prior to April 9, 2003.

Minimum Equipment List Provisions

An air operator may request MEL relief in order to be able to operate an aeroplane with the remote door locking mechanism inoperative. In such cases, procedures similar to the pilot incapacitation procedures shall be required. A third crew member must be brought into the flight deck prior to a pilot leaving in order to protect access to the flight deck when;

  1. the remaining pilot is unable to operate the locking mechanism or any other system used to control access to the flight deck from the pilot's position; and
  2. the flight deck door cannot be unlocked from the cabin side by use of a keypad or similar device.


The two new regulations and amended provision of Subpart 705 of the CARs harmonize the Canadian regulations with the United States regulations in order to provide the same level of security for the Canadian flying public. The exemption originally issued on October 9, 2001, which permitted air operators to make modifications to flight deck doors and to develop operational procedures that enhanced security without prior approval from Transport Canada, was re-issued on April 5, 2002 and will expire on April 9, 2003.

The new exemption provides air operators with the authority to modify the door and lock of aircraft brought into service between May 1, 2002 and April 9, 2003, in order to comply with the requirements of section 705.80 of the CARs. As stipulated in the exemption, the air operator shall ensure that the following are submitted to the Director, Aircraft Certification:

  1. a detailed description of any major or minor changes to the aircraft that have been accomplished or are intended to be accomplished to satisfy Section 705.80 of the CARs, in effect on March 21, 2002; and
  2. a list of the airworthiness requirements for which compliance has not yet been shown, and a plan and schedule for accomplishment of the changes necessary to establish compliance with all applicable airworthiness requirements by April 9, 2003. More details on this process can be found in Aircraft Certification Policy Letter 92, which provides advisory material and details on the exemption and how to submit data to Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA).

After April 9, 2003, all aeroplanes, which require a flight deck door, and crew facility door as the case may be, must be fitted with doors that meet the intrusion and penetration design requirements of the new Airworthiness Standard 525.795 of the CASS - Security Considerations.


This CBAAC will remain in effect until cancelled or replaced.

Michel Gaudreau
Commercial & Business Aviation

Commercial & Business Aviation Advisory Circulars (CBAAC) are intended to provide information and guidance regarding operational matters. A CBAAC may describe an acceptable, but not the only, means of demonstrating compliance with existing regulations. CBAACs in and of themselves do not change, create any additional, authorize changes in, or permit deviations from regulatory requirements.

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