FAA Finalizes Rule on Housing Requirements, Considers ARSA Comments
On Sept. 26, the Federal Register published the FAA’s final rule on 14 CFR § 145.103’s suitable permanent housing requirements. The rule was promulgated as a result of ARSA’s December 2015 letter to the FAA’s chief counsel voicing its concern on the impractical regulatory requirement for a repair station to have a hangar to enclose the largest aircraft listed on its operations specifications even if the work is limited to airframe components.
In the rule, the FAA removed the unnecessary – and burdensome – housing requirement from § 145.103. The agency also re-introduced its ability under § 145.61(b)(13) to issue a limited rating for any purpose it deems appropriate in addition to the named categories in § 145.61(b). The rule requires that a repair station’s housing for its facilities, equipment, materials and personnel must be consistent with its ratings and limitations.
The agency’s action was initially issued as an interim final rule in July. ARSA expressed its support for the change; but suggested the agency consider removing the list of limited ratings in 145.61(b) in light of 145.61(a)’s general language empowering the agency to issue any limited rating it deems appropriate. In the final rule, the FAA noted that it may consider ARSA’s suggestion in the future.
To view the docket for the final rule, click here.
Previously from ARSA...
August 30, 2016
On Aug. 25, ARSA supported the FAA’s interim final rule clarifying that repair stations holding a limited airframe rating did not need to provide housing that enclosed the largest type of aircraft listed on its Operations Specifications (OpsSpecs).
The association applauded the agency’s efforts to resolve this vexing issue, although conducting a rulemaking was unnecessary. The agency could have simply interpreted the hangar requirement as applying only to repair stations working on aircraft instead of airframe components. Both terms are clearly defined in 14 CFR § 1.1; abiding by the plain text of the regulations would have obviated the need to create a new rule to conform existing agency practice.
For further analysis, check out the “Legal Brief” in the hotline newsletter.
July 26, 2016
On July 26, the Federal Register published the FAA’s intent to issue an interim rule to update the “suitable permanent housing” requirements in part 145 for repair stations with airframe ratings. The agency’s action is in response to ARSA’s December 2015 letter requesting clarification of 14 CFR § 145.103‘s applicability.
To view the changes in a red-lined document format prepared by ARSA’s regulatory team, click here.
To see the association’s efforts to correct an “outrageous” requirement, review the content below.
February 9, 2016
On Feb. 1, FAA Chief Counsel Reggie Govan responded to ARSA’s Dec. 8, 2015 request for clarification on the applicability of 14 CFR § 145.103 housing requirements. In its original letter, the association questioned the agency’s position that a repair station must have a hangar to enclose the largest aircraft listed on its operations specifications – even if work is limited to airframe components and no aircraft is ever housed.
“We are aware of this issue…” the agency’s response said. “Because of these concerns [expressed in ARSA’s letter as well as numerous exemption and Consistency and Standardization Initiative (CSI) requests], the agency is contemplating rulemaking to make the repair station housing rules better accommodate current industry needs. In addition, [the chief counsel’s office is] working with the Flight Standards Service to explore whether there are near-term actions the agency may consider as well.”
To assist in that contemplation, ARSA plans to meet with the chief counsel’s office in order to facilitate action on behalf of certificate holders. Stay tuned as the association continues to work for commonsense housing requirements. If the agency’s position is causing trouble for your shop, tell ARSA first.
To read the response, click here.
December 8, 2015
On Dec. 8, ARSA requested the FAA’s chief counsel clarify the applicability of 14 CFR § 145.103 housing requirements. The association questioned the agency’s position that a repair station must have a hangar to enclose the largest aircraft listed on its operations specifications – even if work is limited to airframe components and no aircraft is ever housed. An Oct. 29 memorandum citing a March legal interpretation that § 145.103(b) applies to both class and limited airframe ratings created untenable guidance to the inspector workforce. With industry-wide implications, ARSA requested immediate assistance from the chief counsel.
“The FAA is authorized to promulgate regulations in the interest of safety,” the association’s letter said. “Absolutely no safety purpose is achieved by requiring component level work be performed in housing suitable for aircraft maintenance, simply because the certificate must be issued for an airframe rating. That conclusion is simply outrageous and unsupportable.”
Considering the agency has issued thousands of certificates to hangar-less component shops, enforcing such a strict interpretation of § 145.103(b) would impose an unnecessary burden on a broad and vital sector of the maintenance industry. In the absence of a safety-based rationale, there can be no justification for requiring a maintenance facility to incur the cost of housing aircraft that will never be seen by the repair station.
The association is determined to bring the agency’s reading of the regulation back to reality.
To learn more about housing, facility and equipment requirements, register for the association’s Part 145 Training Series.
In life, you can’t get what you don’t ask for. In aviation maintenance, you can’t get what ARSA doesn’t work for. To see all the ways that ARSA is working as the voice of the aviation maintenance industry, visit the ARSA Works page.