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ARSA Calls Out “Abdication” of ICA Authority in EASA Proposal

On May 29, ARSA submitted comments in response to EASA’s Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) 2018-01 pertaining to Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA). The association praised the agency’s effort, then critiqued the proposal against decades of industry frustration with regulatory treatment of maintenance data.

“Although NPA 2018-01 includes positive measures, it falls significantly short of what is needed to ensure continued airworthiness and address the longstanding disconnect between the design and maintenance rules,” ARSA said. “The NPA leaves continuing airworthiness management organizations and component maintenance providers in a regulatory “no man’s land.” These organizations are required to possess and follow manufacturer manuals but have no regulatory support to obtain them.”

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The NPA’s approach to standardizing ICA practices provides specific avenues in which maintenance instructions would be considered ICA. Outside of these situations, “remove and replace” remains the only method for continued airworthiness of a product.

Overall, EASA’s proposal demonstrated a continued “abdication” of regulatory authority to the design approval holder. It also fails to address the number of ways in which designers and producers can make ICA “constructively unavailable” to maintainers.

“Considering that the European Commission’s anti-competitiveness investigation appears stalled, there’s no imminent solution to the government-sponsored monopoly on component maintenance data bestowed on suppliers to the type certificate holders,” ARSA said.

The NPA is the result of an effort begun in 2009 (Rulemaking Task 0252, MDM 056) to review the European Commission’s (EC) ICA regulations and determine whether changes are needed. After evaluation of the comments received concerning the NPA, EASA will develop an opinion containing the proposed amendments to Part-21 and submit it to the EC as the technical basis to prepare an EU regulation. Following adoption of the rule by the EC, EASA would issue a Decision publishing the Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM).

ARSA’s comments, along with others from the industry, will impact the rest of this process. The association will remain engaged on the ICA issue on both sides of the Atlantic.

To read the complete comments, click here.

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May 1, 2018

UPDATE: EASA has extended the comment submission deadline for NPA 2018-01 to May 30, 2018. ARSA is using this additional time to gather data from the industry regarding the costs of limitations on ICA availability; the association urges its members to:

(1) Respond to the “quick question” regarding the costs of ICA (click here).

(2) Submit a comment to the NPA (click here).

Continue reading for the full story…

On Jan. 29, EASA issued Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) 2018-01 pertaining to Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA); comments are due by May 30, 2018. ARSA urges all members interested in this important subject to submit comments. The NPA is the result of an effort begun in 2009 (Rulemaking Task 0252, MDM 056) to review the European Commission’s (EC) ICA regulations and determine whether changes are needed.

After evaluation of the comments received concerning the NPA, EASA will develop an opinion containing the proposed amendments to Part-21 and submit it to the EC as the technical basis to prepare an EU regulation. (Note: In Europe, the EC issues Implementing Rules. This rulemaking would affect one of those rules, Commission Regulation (EU) No 748/2012 dated Aug. 3, 2012 laying down implementing rules for the airworthiness and environmental certification of aircraft and related products, parts and appliances, as well as for the certification of design and production organizations.)

Following adoption of the rule by the EC, EASA would issue a Decision publishing the Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM). Comments submitted now will impact the entire process.

The highlights of the NPA are:

(1) ICA would become part of the EASA type certificate although not all changes to the ICA would be considered changes to type design.

(2) With respect to components installed on the aircraft, engine or propeller, maintenance information would be ICA if it related to:
(a) The Airworthiness Limitations;
(b) The accomplishment of scheduled maintenance referenced in the product ICA, such as the periodic removal of a component for an inspection or test (e.g., hydrostatic test of a fire extinguisher in the shop); or
(c) If the supplier’s data does not relate to 2a or 2b but includes a maintenance instruction identified in the product ICA.

(3) On the other hand, if removal and replacement of the component was identified in the product ICA and the ICA did not reference the supplier’s maintenance instructions as necessary for continued airworthiness, the CMM/OHM would not be considered ICA. However, the DAH could still reference those manuals as additional or optional maintenance information without them becoming part of the ICA.

Availability of the ICA would not significantly change as it would require both the ICA and any subsequent changes to be made available to anyone required to comply with those instructions, such as owner/operators, approved maintenance organizations and continuing airworthiness management organizations (CAMO).

EASA indicated that its proposal would result in disharmonization with the FAA but did not specifically state why. However, current FAA rules do not recognize ICA as part of the type or supplemental type certificate and there would be subtle differences regarding which component maintenance data would be considered ICA if the NPA was adopted.

To review the NPA, click here. Comments must be submitted by May 30 using EASA’s automated Comment-Response Tool (CRT).



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