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ARSA Weighs in on Proposed FAA ICA Policy

On Jan. 4, ARSA submitted its comments to the FAA’s draft policy regarding the availability of instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA).

The Association believes that the current policy must be rewritten to ensure that the regulations are not used to justify contractual restriction and to discourage such practices.

While ARSA is pleased to see the FAA taking an interest in this important area, it is critical that any FAA policy on the matter be enforceable under the safety regulations. To tackle the contractual obligations and economics of availability, the FAA must address all four fundamental issues:

1) Set the standard for the nature and extent of information that is essential to the continued airworthiness of an aviation product.

2) Set the standard for the content of ICA documents.

3) Determine exactly who is “required to comply” with the ICA.

4) Determine exactly how ICA should be “made available.”

Without addressing basic requirements, it is unclear how the proposed policy will reduce the burden on maintenance providers in determining and maintaining appropriate maintenance instructions or reduce the possibility of error caused by applying an incorrect ICA.

As currently drafted, the FAA’s proposed policy would have the agency reviewing private contracts, an inappropriate action. Since the FAA has not declared restrictions on the distribution and use of an ICA void as a matter of public policy, its jurisdiction is problematic. Rather the FAA’s policy should state that it will not support the implementation of non-technical provisions, such as restrictions on use of alternative parts, procedures or suppliers.

Requiring repairs or alterations only by the DAH or a DAH-authorized source and statements limiting the dissemination of the data between the “operator” and its chosen maintenance provider are unenforceable under the provisions of 14 CFR. Indeed, regulatory compliance discourages such activity.

In its comments, ARSA suggests a number of changes that, if accepted, would align the proposed policy with existing regulations in addressing ICA restrictions.

~~~ posted 1/9/12 ~~~



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