Focusing on Falsification in FAA Proposal

On April 8, ARSA and four other industry trade associations commented on an FAA notice of proposed rulemaking to consolidate the many falsification sections across 14 CFR into a single subpart in part 3. The group supported the overall effort but took issue with the agency’s addition of a section addressing unknowingly incorrect entries or omissions.

Under the proposal, all certificate holders would be subject to prohibitions against fraudulent or intentionally false statements or omissions in the new § 3.403. The group’s comments strongly support this consolidation, which it described as a simpler and more consistent method for setting compliance standards than the current list of requirements scattered across 14 CFR.

“In particular, the NPRM would apply to persons currently subject to falsification standards across multiple parts of Chapter I, such as part 65 mechanics and part 145 air agencies performing maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alterations in accordance with part 43 (see, §§ 43.12, 65.20, 145.12),” the comments said in support of the single falsification rule. “The proposed § 3.403 clearly prohibits fraudulent and intentionally false statements reflected in the cited sections.”

The comments then pushed back against the proposed creation of an additional section prohibiting unknowingly provided yet materially false information. The new § 3.405 would give the agency discretion to act against the certificate of a person found to have made an incorrect entry on an application or other required record. The FAA justified expanding its authority to police “honest mistakes” (a term used by other commenters to criticize the rulemaking) using existing sections in parts 60, 67, and 142 allowing similar action. The group noted those examples include a specific cause-and-effect relationship between the incorrect information and the approval; absent such a “nexus” there is no safety justification for a blanket prohibition against such errors.

“If a person performing maintenance or inspection on an article subject to part 43 unknowingly makes an incorrect entry or omission in a record, §§ 43.9 and 43.11 provide a clear basis for the FAA to address adverse safety impacts, both in real time and through enforcement action,” the comments said. If the statements were incorrect because of improper work, there are plenty of rules under which the individual making them – and likely others – would be subject to oversight.

The comments suggested edits to the proposed § 3.405 to allow the FAA act against persons unknowingly providing or omitting information incorrectly such that the agency avoids “expanding its authority to take action against certificates that were not issued in reliance on the false information provided or lack thereof.”

To read the full comments, click here.

In addition to ARSA, the following trade associations supported the submission:

Aerospace Industries Association
Aircraft Electronics Association
Cargo Airline Association
National Air Carrier Association

Separate concurring submissions were made by the following associations:

Airlines for America
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Aviation Suppliers Association
Modification and Replacement Parts Association

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