ARSA Comments on Draft ICA Guidance

On Nov. 5 ARSA filed comments analyzing Draft Order 8110.54B, Instructions for Continued Airworthiness Responsibilities, Requirements, and Contents and Draft Advisory Circular 20-ICA, Instructions for Continued Airworthiness.

ARSA’s founding mission was to ensure that basic safety information (ICAs, including component maintenance manuals [CMMs]) is made available at a fair and reasonable price to operators, maintenance providers and any other person required by to comply with those instructions. While the draft guidance is a step in the right direction by the FAA, it fails to address some of the most fundamental ICA-related issues.

ARSA’s comments reiterate that aviation products are only as airworthy as their constituent components. The applicable airworthiness standards emphasize that ICA requirements apply to all articles that are eligible for installation on all type-certificated products and therefore must be made available by all design approval holders (DAHs). The draft guidance, however, only requires basic safety information be developed and made available at the product-level (TCs, ATCs and STCs). Even in the limited instances when component maintenance data must be disclosed, existing policy enables DAHs to circumvent that obligation by instructing that the component be removed and replaced. That policy ignores the realities of the maintenance process in that a component is typically replaced with one removed from another aircraft. This makes basic component maintenance information essential to maintaining the overall airworthiness of an aircraft.

ARSA’s comments echo the position taken by ARSA and industry stakeholders in a Joint Industry Policy submitted to the FAA in 2004. Specifically, component-level ICAs should be required and they should contain only the most basic information necessary to perform an overhaul under § 43.2. This successfully balances the need for safety information without requiring the disclosure of all repair data.

The draft guidance incorporates prior policy regarding DAH restrictions on the use and availability of ICAs. Again, while we acknowledge that the guidance is a step in the right direction, it must expand the list of practices that constitute a per se violation of the ICA requirements, particularly with respect to removing repairs form ICAs and directing the part be sent to a DAH authorized maintenance provider.

ARSA will continue to follow this issue and provide updates as they occur.

For more on ARSA’s ICA efforts, click here.

Previously from ARSA...

FAA Extends ICA Comment Periods

September 14, 2015

In response to an Aug. 25 request from ARSA and a coalition of aviation trade associations, the FAA has extended the comment periods for both of its draft documents addressing Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA).

The original deadlines were extended by 30 days: Comments on each draft are now due on Nov. 5:

ARSA Joins Industry on ICA Extension Request

August 25, 2015

On Aug. 25, a coalition of aviation trade associations requested an extension of the comment periods for both of the FAA’s draft documents addressing Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA).

The agency had already denied ARSA’s Aug. 14 request for a 90-day extension, so the association joined with its industry allies on a non-specific request for extension. Aerospace Industries Association, Airlines for America, the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Cargo Airline Association, the National Air Carrier Association, the National Air Transportation Association and the Regional Airline Association also signed.

“As you know,” the coalition’s request explained, “the issuance of guidance regarding Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) is a complicated issue that the Aviation Safety Organization (namely, Aircraft Certification and Flight Standards Service) has struggled with for more than 30 years.” Considering that complication as well as the importance of the issue, the industry representatives requested the extension on behalf of  the thousands of regulated entities – design and production approval holders as well as repair stations, air carriers and general aviation operators – the documents will impact.

FAA Opens ICA Drafts for Comment

August 11, 2015

The FAA has released two draft documents addressing Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA). Both are open for public comment until Oct. 6:

Stay tuned as the association’s regulatory team reviews the drafts. For more information and background, visit ARSA’s ICA issue page.

ICA: FAA Legal Interpretation Addresses DAH Responsibilities

April 9, 2014

On March 31, the FAA released a legal interpretation in response to a Piedmont Propulsion Systems request regarding the responsibilities of a design approval holder (DAH) to make available Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) for mandatory inspections and repairs. Specifically, Piedmont asked—

(1) Whether a DAH may restrict the availability of the details of mandatory inspections and repairs that are part of ICA to require that those inspections and repairs be performed only at a DAH-specified facility;
(2) What can the FAA do to enforce the 14 CFR section 21.50(b) requirement that DAHs provide ICA to persons required to comply with those instructions?

The FAA responded that a DAH may not restrict the performance of mandatory inspections (or any maintenance for that matter) to specific facilities designated by the DAH, nor may it otherwise fail to make ICA available to authorized persons who are required to comply with them. In a scenario where the request is based on a need to comply with inspection and repair instructions on certain DAH components, the complete ICA is required to be made available to an appropriately-rated repair station.

Regarding enforcement, the FAA was unable to answer in detail. The make available provision for ICA is fact-and-circumstance specific and thus requires case-by-case consideration. The FAA may take action to ensure compliance, but various factors (including how much the DAH may charge) remain unclear or undefined.

The interpretation referenced an August 2012 legal interpretation to ARSA regarding ICA. In that letter, the Office of the Chief Counsel concurred with an AIR Policy Statement that clarified the intent of the regulation to require distribution of the ICA to “authorized persons with an impending need to comply with the terms” of the instructions. The August 2012 interpretation also agreed with ARSA that component maintenance manuals that are made mandatory by their inclusion in an airworthiness limitation are part of the ICA.

For a complete review of ARSA’s involvement on ICA issues, visit our regulatory page. Stay tuned for a continued discussion and analysis of these important issues.

To see all of the ways that ARSA works on behalf of the aviation maintenance industry, visit the ARSA Works page.

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