2015 – Edition 2 – March 6
Table of Contents
ARSA on the Hill
AVMRO News Portal
Sarah Says – Symposium Attendance Can Solve Problems
By Sarah MacLeod, Executive Director
The aviation maintenance industry will come together in this nation’s capital in March. The association’s staff is hurriedly preparing, and you should be there.
Hosting events is a central role of a trade association. For us, it’s a mechanism to demonstrate value and vitality. Far more important, these occasions provide the industry with a real chance to participate in the process.
During Legislative Day, ARSA members will do the people’s work on Capitol Hill by showing their lawmakers what really matters back home.
At the Annual Repair Symposium, attendees will engage with experts, regulators and each other on the issues that matter most to the global repair station community.
The schedule is full. See the agenda.
Much may have changed about the way people communicate and collaborate, but personal engagement is and always will be the lynchpin of building relationships and working together. It takes more than an email address and a social media account to thrive (although using social media certainly can help as this month’s personal development section points out).
When the rubber meets the tarmac personal engagement is a way to really get things done. Success in the repair station community depends on cooperation stimulated through eye-to-eye contact. By attending and participating – whether in a symposium, conference, forum, coffee klatch or book club – professionals build solutions to long-term problems and sometimes take care of the smaller ones on the spot.
Add your voice. Sponsor symposium.
At last year’s Annual Repair Symposium, an ARSA member experienced such a victory. The association made good use of the story (click here to read it now, it’ll be worth it), but the sequence is pretty simple:
- Member has problem with incorrect instructions for the use of FAA form 8130-3.
- Member raises problem during symposium question-and-answer session.
- FAA corrects problem with a memo 21 days later.
This kind of regulatory instant gratification is pretty satisfying. Three weeks is light-speed for government action.
Come together. Individually, we complete work and serve customers. Together, we enhance the aviation industry and protect the flying public.
Look back at 2014’s Legislative Day, regulatory panels and breakout sessions.
See you on the 18th.
ARSA Member Survey – Get Ready
By Brett Levanto, Director of Operations
The association’s annual member survey is almost ready for distribution and will be in your primary contact’s inbox soon. This is your opportunity to contribute to ARSA’s work on behalf of the industry.
This year’s survey will be supplemented by a separate set of recruitment questions that will fill gaps in existing data regarding the aviation maintenance workforce and recruitment. We’ll ask that primary contacts forward this separate questionnaire to the persons responsible for human resource activities.
Responses are invaluable to ARSA staff as we work with regulators and lawmakers, develop content on key issues and find solutions to the challenges most impactful to the repair station community. This information will also be provided to your company as a tool for developing plans and responding to market needs. We are capturing your snapshot of aviation maintenance – make it useful.
To review last year’s survey results, click here.
Consider Yourself Notified: ARSA Annual Member Meeting
By Crystal Maguire, Vice President of Operations
ARSA bylaws require the association hold an annual member meeting at such time and place as determined by the Board of Directors. Every year this important session is held in conjunction with the annual symposium, this year it will take place during the Breakfast and Annual Report on Friday, March 20 at 8:00 a.m. ARSA President Jim Perdue will give the state of the association, afterwards members are welcomed and encouraged to openly discuss association matters.
We look forward to seeing you at ARSA’s annual event in just a few weeks. (Haven’t registered yet? Do so at http://arsa.org/news-media/events/arsa-symposium/).
By Brett Levanto, Director of Operations
ARSA and the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) have released a new report examining the technical worker shortage facing the aviation industry. The study, Policy Solutions for a Stronger Technical Workforce, was authored by researchers at the College of William and Mary’s Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy and sheds new light on the challenges of finding, retaining and growing a world-class aviation maintenance workforce.
In the face of expanding global markets and increased demand for a highly skilled, government-certificated labor force, business must overcome the looming retirements of more experienced employees, skill gaps, regulatory limitations on training programs and – most importantly – data sources that are inadequately designed for defining the problem.
In seeking to analyze personnel, certification and education data at the regional level, the researchers encountered a familiar hurdle: frustratingly insufficient data that is often inaccurate and inconsistently captured.
Despite these limitations, as well as the unreliable reporting of national statistics, the analysis made clear that different regions of the United States face varied realities in terms of technical workforce development. As a result, the authors recommend companies and interest groups build strategic partnerships on local and regional levels between employers, educational institutions and community and government organizations.
“This report is all about defining a problem: the desperate need for more qualified, well-trained men and women to funnel into aviation careers,” said Ryan Goertzen, ATEC’s president and president of Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology. “To achieve that we must figure out how to really capture what’s going on in the workforce. Incorrect data does not help anyone and masks the real problem facing our industry today: finding skilled workers.”
The regional approach taken by the researchers provides a blueprint for the aviation community to grapple with workforce challenges. “The research team took advantage of some great examples from across the industry to give us this basic roadmap for success: think globally, act locally,” said Christian A Klein, ARSA’s executive vice president. “I know that’s an old, familiar phrase, but it’s especially useful here. The only way for businesses, government and teaching institutions to solve big, daunting national workforce problems is to look in their surrounding communities and get active in a planned, strategic way.”
“We have a passion for aviation, of course, but first and foremost we have a responsibility to our students,” Goertzen continued, speaking of the aviation maintenance training schools represented by ATEC. “We know we’re giving them valuable skills and preparing them for success in a number of technical fields, but for us true success is getting our graduates employed in the aerospace industry. This report is a part of that work.”
Huerta to Aviation Subcommittee – U.S. Can’t Afford “Business as Usual”
By ARSA Legislative Staff
On March 3, 2015, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta testified before the House Aviation Subcommittee at a hearing entitled “Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization: Enabling a 21st Century Aviation System.”
“We can’t afford a ‘business as usual’ approach, especially if we want to maintain US global influence,” Huerta said. “We need reauthorization to allow the FAA to better align our resources with the needs of the NAS [National Airspace System] by providing the FAA greater flexibility to modify our service levels to support changing industry demand, and by establishing a collaborative, transparent and binding process to modernize FAA’s facilities and equipment and match our footprint to the demand for air travel.”
For Huerta’s written statement, click here.
For Shuster and Lobiondo’s opening remarks, and other subcommittee information, click here.
Watch the full hearing:
Travel the Maintenance World – 2015 PMA Aircraft Parts Conference
By ARSA Communications Staff
For the first time, the Association of European Airlines (AEA) and the Modification And Replacement Parts Association (MARPA) will host a PMA industry conference in a location designed to facilitate business between USA FAA-PMA manufacturers and the international air carrier community.
The 2015 AEA/MARPA PMA Aircraft Parts Conference will be held in Istanbul, Turkey on May 18-19, 2015 at the Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus.
For more information, utilize the following links:
To stay up-to-date about important industry events, keep a close eye on ARSA’s industry calendar. Have an event coming up? Tell us about it.
To see all the ways that ARSA is working as the voice of the aviation maintenance industry, visit our ARSA Works page.
ARSA Works and So Does the Government – Contract Maintenance Rule Issued
By Daniel Fisher, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
On March 4, the FAA unveiled a congressionally-mandated rule on air carrier contract maintenance requirements.
The action was commanded by the FAA Modernization & Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112–95 (February 14, 2012)). While unnecessary, Congress was compelled to “do something” about Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General reports (2003, 2005, 2008) criticizing the FAA’s oversight of air carriers’ contract maintenance programs.
ARSA’s actions on the legislative and regulatory fronts have ensured minimal disruption to airlines and repair stations. Beginning with recommending legislative language (and successfully lobbying to enact it), the association then worked with its airline colleagues and the FAA on parallel changes to OpSpec D091. Finally, when the mandated rule was proposed, ARSA comments helped the FAA adhere to congressional intent and the statute’s plain-language.
The work ARSA did on your behalf ensured this government regulation will have a minimal impact.
ARSA Condemns FAA’s Rulemaking by Fiat
By ARSA Regulatory Staff
On Feb. 23, the ARSA continued its opposition to the FAA’s flagrant disregard of basic requirements for promulgating regulations. The neglect of its responsibilities is particularly troublesome when unsafe conditions are alleged. The association again requested the immediate withdrawal of the proposed rulemaking.
The proposed Airworthiness Directive (AD) requires a phased replacement of cylinders used on certain engines manufactured by Continental Motors, Inc. ARSA’s comments point out the FAA continued to ignored its statutory duties under the Administrative Procedure Act and Data Quality Act, as well as the agency’s own internal guidance for satisfying those obligations.
“The FAA has completely failed to provide the substantive basis for the rule or explain why such a factually deficient administrative record supports the issuance of a far reaching safety directive,” said Ryan Poteet, ARSA’s regulatory affairs manager. “The agency was asked to provide the data on which it relies, but instead has doubled down and pushed through without supporting information. It seems to think that it can pass a rule simply by saying it can pass a rule.”
ARSA’s comments detail how the FAA’s failure to comply with its statutory obligations has stymied public participation, the lynchpin to rulemaking. Commenters are forced to speculate on the agency’s justifications and to provide every reasonable explanation for why the rule should not be issued. The failure to provide supporting data not only makes it impossible for the public to engage in the rulemaking process, it demonstrates that the agency has failed to consider all relevant evidence required to reach an informed, well-reasoned conclusion.
“In a heavily regulated industry, all certificate holders are negatively impacted when a government agency ignores the law,” Poteet said. “The FAA cannot be allowed to issue the most important type of safety rule, an AD, based on nothing more than speculation and conjecture; it must be reminded that it cannot regulate by fiat.”
ARSA’s comments are available at http://arsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ARSA-Comments_to_SNPRM-FAA-2012-0002-20150-20150223.pdf.
Inhofe Introduces Bill to Expand Due Process Protections [With ARSA’s Help]
By ARSA Legislative Staff
On Feb. 26, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced the Pilot’s Bill of Rights II (S. 571), legislation to expand due process protections for FAA certificate holders. Companion legislation was also filed in the House (H.R. 1062).
Building upon the Pilot’s Bill of Rights I, which was enacted in 2012 to benefit pilots, the new bill extends procedural safeguards to other FAA certificated entities, by:
- Requiring NTSB review of FAA enforcement actions to conform, to the extent practicable, with the Federal Rules of Evidence and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
- Mandating the FAA to provide timely notice to a certificate holder who is the subject of an investigation, and that any response by the certificate holder can be used as evidence against them.
- Requiring that in an FAA enforcement action against a certificate holder, the agency must provide all relevant evidence 30 days prior to a decision to proceed with an enforcement action.
- Removing the special statutory deference as it relates to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) review of FAA actions for all certificate holders.
Additionally, the proposal mandates the FAA must articulate the specific incidents being used to begin enforcement proceedings against covered certificate holders and prohibits certain actions if the agency fails to provide timely notification of an investigation’s initiation.
The legislation also includes an ARSA-proposed provision limiting the ability of the FAA to reexamine an airman certificate holder unless there is clear evidence of wrongdoing or unsafe behavior. Even after retesting, the agency many not amend, modify, suspend, or revoke the certificate unless the person lacks the skills or competency to hold the certificate or the certificate was obtained by fraudulent means.
“ARSA commends Sen. Inhofe and the bill’s cosponsors for protecting basic due process for all FAA-certificated entities,” said Daniel B. Fisher, ARSA’s vice president of legislative affairs. “Expanded protections are particularly important for individuals and small to medium-sized businesses who suffer most from time-consuming FAA enforcement processes, often with little basis or real safety issue. ARSA looks forward to working with Sen. Inhofe to improve upon his legislative language to ensure all FAA certificate, approval and authorization holders are afforded procedural protections and treated equally.”
Take part in the association’s advocacy on Capitol Hill. Join us for Legislative Day on March 18, 2015.
ARSA Re-Engages on Housing Requirements, Requests CSI Process Clarification
By Brett Levanto, Director of Operations
On Feb 26, ARSA submitted another Consistency and Standardization Initiative (CSI) request to Flight Standards Director John Duncan.
For ARSA and its members, the CSI process is a mechanism through which the concerns of an individual repair station can be made into broad solutions for the industry. By correctly utilizing the CSI process, the association can help the FAA provide clear guidance on regulatory interpretation and compliance. It takes time and attention (see Erickson AirCrane), but the process is a way for the agency to get it right on behalf of the industry.
In truth, CSI requests are powerful only when the agency plays by its own rules. In ARSA’s new submission, the association not only continued its back-and-forth with the agency on housing requirements but also requested an opportunity to review and discuss the CSI process itself.
Since the initial request on April 30, 2014, the association sought clarification on housing requirements for repair stations with limited airframe ratings. A particular Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) required a repair station, holding a limited airframe rating, to obtain “exclusive” access to a hangar. The submission requested the agency clarify that “suitable permanent housing” in the context of obtaining a line maintenance authorization under a limited airframe rating means the repair station has access to a hangar on an “as needed” basis to enclose the largest aircraft it can work on.
The agency has repeatedly missed answering the basic question. In a Sept. 24 letter, the Manager of the Regional Flight Standards Division explained that line maintenance is an authorization – not a rating – limited by the repair station’s operations specifications (Ops Specs). Unscheduled maintenance, the agency contends, may not be performed at facilities not listed in the Ops Specs.
In response, the association moved beyond the particular FSDO issues and refocused on the pivotal question of compliance with housing requirements. ARSA returned – as it always does – to a strict reading of the regulations with support from public and internal-agency guidance.
The association remains confident there is no requirement for an applicant or certificate holder to have exclusive use of suitable permanent housing. “Specifically,” ARSA’s Feb 26 letter concluded, “for airframe-rated repair stations suitable permanent housing means establishing access to and appropriate availability of a hangar big enough to enclose the largest type and model of aircraft listed on its Ops Specs when work requires that enclosure, but availability need not be ‘exclusive’.”
In addition to the specific request regarding housing requirements, the association also called for a meeting with the FAA to review and discuss the CSI process in the context of a May 28 submission regarding work instructions.
The primary purpose of the CSI process is to ensure the consistent application of the agency’s rules and guidance. The process requires the FAA to justify its actions by providing a thorough analysis of the issue and enforcing the regulations. In order to avail itself of clear and standard regulatory application, ARSA will work to ensure the rules of the game are understood and followed.
ARSA Pushes Back on FEC PAC Solicitation Rules
By Ryan M. Poteet, Regulatory Affairs Manager
On Feb. 11, ARSA joined Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) and the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) on comments to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) urging repeal of the requirement that trade associations obtain consent from member companies before asking for Political Action Committee (PAC) donations.
The burdensome PAC solicitation consent mandate is constitutionally suspect because it impedes an association’s ability to communicate with its members but does nothing to further the government’s anti-corruption interest. PACs are subject to many regulations that ensure transparency in fundraising activities and guarantee donations come from permissible sources. These existing regulatory requirements achieve the government’s anti-corruption interest without limiting an association’s communications resources.
The association will continue to fight burdensome federal regulations, wherever they appear. In the meantime, grant PAC solicitation consent, while it’s still needed, by clicking here.
Double the Paper, Double the Fun
By Laura Vlieg, Regulatory Affairs Manager
For years the FAA has been allowed to collect mandatory information related to Airworthiness Directives (AD) on a “generic” clearance from the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). On Jan. 29, ARSA objected to the generic clearance; on Feb. 10, the FAA gave another notice of its intent to obtain the generic clearance, without responding to ARSA’s legal, factual and practical comments.
To obtain approval from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) an agency must first post a 60-day notice seeking public comments in the Federal Register. After the agency receives and considers any submissions, it files a revised notice with a 30-day comment period while simultaneously providing a statement to OIRA justifying the information collection request.
Ironically, congress created the PRA to ensure oversight of federal agencies’ paperwork burdens on businesses and individuals. Thus, the FAA cannot simply avoid the requirements of the act by misleading OIRA in its request for approval. In the case of AD information collections, the FAA’s second notice provides consideration of ARSA’s comments; the facts and burden estimate remain inaccurate and misleading.
The association now has the ability and obligation to provide double the paperwork and take the facts directly to OIRA.
The nuances of the federal regulatory system are boring, but important. Good news: ARSA works to capture and address these details – so you don’t have to!
Because I Said So: A Chilling New Ballad from the FAA
By Ryan M. Poteet, Regulatory Affairs Manager
Rules issued by federal agencies must be supported by some sort of evidence, right? Not according to a recent FAA rulemaking. Speculation, conjecture and belief are now enough to issue a rule. The agency is dancing to a dangerous new tune and the refrain: “Because I can issue a rule, I can pass a rule!”
Public participation in the rulemaking process is essential to good government. We take part by providing thoughtful and analytical comments that examine the agency’s substantive justifications for the rule. To do that effectively, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Data Quality Act (DQA) mandate the agency identify its factual support, provide that evidence to the public for inspection and explain why that evidence supports issuing a rule.
On Feb. 23, ARSA filed comments opposing a rulemaking where the agency’s justification was based on mysterious and unidentified “reports”; the FAA did not identify exactly what reports. When commenters provided every reasonable basis for why the rule should not be issued, the agency simply stated that it “disagreed” with those reasons. The agency is moving ahead with the rulemaking anyway—thus the refrain: “Because I can issue a rule, I can pass a rule.”
ARSA can’t dance to this dangerous tune.
Just because the agency says a rule is necessary doesn’t make it true and the government must support its proposal by pointing to particular pieces of objective evidence. The agency’s disregard of its rulemaking duties under the APA, DQA and internal guidance for satisfying legal obligations indicates that more and more of its regulatory activities can and will be dictated by the whims of individual employees. This ominous new ditty will have a devastating effect on the industry and aviation safety.
ARSA’s not going to dance, but it’s not going to be a wallflower either. We will continue to hold the agency accountable for actions it takes—a tune we can all hear and join in the refrain.
Hit it Frank, Come Fly With Me!
This material is provided as a service to association members for educational and informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice and is not privileged or confidential.
ARSA on the Hill
Later this month, the aviation maintenance industry will be storming Washington, D.C., to advocate, educate and network. While repair station professionals and executives should plan to attend ARSA’s Annual Repair Symposium, much of the value from the meeting is being replicated in your back yard throughout the year.
Whether it’s a regional aviation maintenance industry organization (e.g., the Miami Maintenance Council), a local Chamber of Commerce or another business group, relationship building, knowledge expansion and political activism are integral parts of a business leader’s routine.
Local industry meetings are a great venue to gain access to potential new customers and build your professional network. For example, meetings of the Greater Miami Aviation Association attract representatives from air carriers, manufacturers, repair stations, service providers and even technical schools. Not only are local groups a venue for drumming up new business, but they also are an opportunity to find your next colleague or employee (or even employer). Also, through networking and building relationships, you can help identify market trends and best practices to help increase profitability.
Local groups provide a great educational opportunity. Whether it’s through a seminar or a presentation by a local FAA inspector, community and regional organizations provide you with unique information and awareness. For example, local Chambers of Commerce hold sessions on a variety of topics, ranging from website marketing to starting your own business to managing employees. Ongoing education is integral to both your own career advancement and also your company’s success.
Local groups are important vehicles for political action. Look for opportunities to work with your fellow group members to help reinforce the work ARSA is doing in Washington, for example, by meeting with a member of Congress or sending a joint letter on a critical industry issue. Remember, state, county and city laws and regulations have a huge impact on your business. Having an issue with a town ordinance? Local organizations not only allow you to motivate political action to change the law, but you can also gain access to compliance information and intelligence on how other companies are dealing with a particular problem.
ARSA’s annual repair station symposium is the aviation maintenance industry’s premiere networking, education and political advocacy event. Even better, many of the symposium’s benefits can easily be transferred to your local area throughout the year. Your association is standing by, willing and able to help you engage locally and identify potential topics and targets for local groups.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
By Laura Vlieg, Regulatory Affairs Manager
Look around you; you likely see different people, with different roles and specialties working together on a civil aircraft or component. To the federal government, though, you’re all the same … unless you’re an avionics technician.
Are avionics technicians unique among all other aviation maintenance professionals? Washington says “yes”; avionics technicians are the only subcategory of aviation maintenance workers for federal statistical purposes. There is no distinction for the positions that require an FAA certificate, even among avionics technicians.
The reason is the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. The SOC system is the source of occupational data upon which federal statistical agencies are required to rely. The system classifies workers into a hierarchy of categories in order to more consistently collect, track and disseminate data on the American workforce. These classifications are the basis for all federal statistical analyses, including those published by O*NET Online—the foremost resource for career exploration, the Census Bureau and the Government Accountability Office. Ensuring accuracy in the system really matters to the individuals working in an industry, those considering joining the workforce, American business and the national economy.
Without an accurate framework, workforce issues become much harder to understand. The aviation maintenance industry faces this very challenge. The SOC is an intricate hierarchy with distinctions drawn according to the tasks performed. Not all aviation maintenance workers can perform the same tasks, which begs the question: Why are they all thrown together into one classification regardless of certification or specialization?
What should the classifications look like? How can the government best describe the aviation maintenance workforce? These are questions that the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) with the support of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) is asking industry and government to work out. It is essential to creating an accurate understanding of the occupational landscape in aviation maintenance.
The SOC system is currently under revision, and there is no time like the present to encourage the SOC Policy Committee—the interagency group charged with updating and maintaining relevance of the SOC structure—to reconsider the one-size-fits-all categorization of aviation maintenance workers. The committee is set to release recommended changes to the classifications in spring 2015. Commenting on those recommendations will be essential to ensuring revisions of the SOC structure reflect the true requirements and characteristics of the aviation maintenance workforce.
Look around that hangar again; isn’t it time Washington sees what you see? Some of you are required to hold certificates from another government agency. That distinction should be essential to collecting, tracking and disseminating data on the aviation work force. Make sure the government properly understands your work and captures the data necessary to ensure a healthy future for the industry. When it comes to building and maintaining the aviation workforce, one size does not fit all.
Stay tuned as ARSA and ATEC work to improve the SOC system.
Note: For more editorial wisdom from the association’s regulatory team, be sure to catch AMT Magazine’s monthly ARSA Insights column.
Final Documents/Your Two Cents
This list includes Federal Register publications, such as final rules, Advisory Circulars, and policy statements, as well as proposed rules and policies of interest to ARSA members. To view the list, click here.
Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed by contributing authors do not necessarily state or reflect those of ARSA, and shall not be used for endorsement purposes.
Legal Waypoints: FAA’s Proposed UAS Rules – A Missed Opportunity?
By Steven E. Pazar, Attorney at Law, email@example.com
The FAA issued the much awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems on February 15, 2015. The proposed rules are described by the trade associations and other industry commentators as “flexible,” “a good first step” and “lenient.” This is mostly good news for those seeking to use drones in a commercial setting – keeping in mind the rules are just proposed at this time and are not currently in force. Today you still cannot fly a drone for commercial use without an FAA exemption, and only 24 Section 333 exemptions have been granted out of 342 application requests.
Most observers are quick to point out the differences between the proposed UAS rules and the existing regulations for general aviation aircraft and pilots. The proposed rules are in many ways a “subset” of existing ones. Being a subset sounds great from the standpoint of those who seek less regulation but it also highlights a potential lost opportunity for the FAA and those who seek to promote the safe use of drones in the national airspace.
Like the existing regulations for general aviation, the proposed UAS rules contain no requirement for any minimum coverage or limits of insurance in association with UAS use. Given the lack of an insurance minimum in general aviation and resistance to recent efforts to implement a consistent national approach to health insurance coverage, it is no wonder that insurance is nowhere to be found in the proposed UAS rules. However, just like the debate over the benefits of some minimum national standards for health insurance coverage, we should consider whether the “no mandate,” “free market” approach to insurance for UAS use is actually in the best interest of the public as well as those who seek to benefit from commercial drone operations.
To be clear, the FAA does maintain an insurance requirement for certain manned commercial aircraft. The requirements are set as specific limits for liability and property damage coverage based on the aircraft’s capability and capacity (passenger count and cargo weight), see 14 CFR § 205.5(a). It is a fairly straight-forward task to calculate the exact minimum insurance for a specific aircraft and its intended use.
For various reasons, most commercial aircraft maintain coverage and limits above the mandated minimums. Despite the insurance minimums for commercial aircraft the FAA has not mandated any minimum insurance coverage or limits for general aviation aircraft. While many general aviation operators carry some insurance for themselves and their aircraft, any good plaintiff’s lawyer will tell you many general aviation operators are either significantly underinsured or carry no coverage at all.
The apparent basis for this no-minimum-insurance decision is the FAA’s focus on stringent aircraft pilot certification and aircraft airworthiness regulations, along with oversight from air traffic controllers, as a primary means to manage the risks in general aviation. Pilots are required to complete extensive training and aircraft are carefully regulated from FAA-approved type certification to detailed maintenance requirements performed by certificated persons. Historically, this model has provided a relatively safe environment within both commercial and general aviation. Many decades worth of incident records show that the FAA has noted a steady and significant decline in commercial aviation losses. However, in a growing cause for concern, no such decline has been observed for general aviation. The basis for this performance gap is now the subject of review within the FAA – and beyond the scope of this article.
So why is the missing insurance ingredient for UAS use a possible lost opportunity? The answer lies in the parts of the general aviation regulations that are missing from the “subset” of proposed UAS rules. There is no requirement for type certification, there is no requirement for airworthiness assessments by certificated designers, producers or maintainers. There is no air traffic control oversight of operators. These are key elements of the aviation safety regulations that serve to reduce risks for pilots, passengers and the general public.
Removing these regulations for UAS operators may seem like a “good first step,” but how will the actual risks of UAS flight be mitigated in the real world? What will take the place of these key elements of the aviation safety model? The answer may be minimum insurance requirements for commercial UAS operations to transfer some of the risks to private, third party insurers (with a financial stake in the final outcomes of actual UAS operations). This could engender implementing state of the industry underwriting criteria for designers, manufacturers, operators and maintenance providers.
Just because you pass a driver’s test and have the money to buy a car doesn’t mean you can register the vehicle without evidence of some minimum insurance. Nothing good happens when we get hit by an uninsured motorist – or drone as the case may be.
Steven counsels businesses operating in high-risk industries – including aviation – he provides templates, tools and training that will improve contracting efficiency, close deals faster and control costs.
Personal Development – Using LinkedIn Effectively
By ARSA Communications Staff
There can be no substitute for face-to-face interaction, no facsimile for a hand-shake and no replacement for eye contact. It is true that personal interaction is the surest way to solve your problems (have you registered for symposium yet?), but one cannot ignore the tools of the modern social world.
Professional Social Network Training from Mind Tools
You’ve likely heard of LinkedIn™, the business-oriented social networking website that many people use for keeping in touch with business associates, clients, and former colleagues.
But is this LinkedIn’s only use? Or can you use it in other ways to grow yourself professionally and help your organization to network more effectively?
Big Technician on Campus – ARSA University
By Brett Levanto, Director of Operations
ARSA packages its institutional knowledge for the benefit of the aviation maintenance community. Through live, web-based training sessions and recorded webinars, you can access our bank of regulatory, legislative, and business experience on-demand.
The association has been working for months to update its member training program. Following this year’s symposium, ARSA will roll-out a new live training schedule, on a new platform, supplemented by on-demand training sessions. Not only will ARSA’s university be your go-to source for regulatory guidance, legislative updates and business intelligence, it will provide opportunities for members to request and design courses for implementation.
Stay tuned as we begin this new phase in broader member resources.
As always, the association and the law firm of Obadal, Filler, MacLeod and Klein, P.L.C. also offer tailored, private training programs specifically developed to meet the needs of members and clients. Materials are customized to the particular operation and are presented in 2, 4, 6 or 8-hour segments, allowing companies to “mix and match” content as desired.
Regulatory Compliance Training
Test your knowledge on § 145.206 – Notification of hazardous materials authorizations.
Member Spotlight: 2015 Symposium Attendees
By Kelsi Oliver, Communications Coordinator
Take a look at the ARSA member organizations and allies that will be represented at the aviation maintenance industry’s premier event. Be sure to join them.
Each month, the hotline spotlights key regulatory, legislative, and business leaders making important contributions to the aviation industry. This month we look at FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, who will be at the Annual Repair Symposium on March 20.
Michael Huerta was sworn in as FAA Administrator on Jan. 9, 2013 for a five-year term. In his role, Huerta is responsible for the safety and efficiency of the world’s largest aerospace system.
With a $16 billion budget, 47,000 employees and a multi-billion dollar NextGen traffic control modernization program in the works, Huerta is a busy man.
Before his work with the FAA, Huerta has served in a long list of other transportation roles. He worked as the Managing Director of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, where he helped plan and construct a travel demand management system. He also held positions with New York City’s Department of Ports, the Port of San Francisco and the U.S. Transportation Department.
What else is up with Huerta? Be sure to catch him speak at ARSA’s Annual Repair Symposium, March 18-20.
Take Advantage of ARSA’s Members Getting Members Program, Get 10% Off on Membership Dues
The best form of advertising is word of mouth. Use the Members Getting Members Toolkit to recruit an ARSA member and your company will receive a discounted membership rate for your next membership term. Get more information at http://arsa.org/membership/members-getting-members/
Target Your Message: Advertise Today in ARSA’s Newsletters and Website!
ARSA recently updated its menu of advertising opportunities for arsa.org, the hotline and the ARSA Dispatch. Take advantage of these great opportunities today to showcase your company, a new product or event. For more information go to http://arsa.org/advertise/
Exhibit, Sponsor the 2015 Repair Symposium
As the maintenance industry’s top event devoted exclusively to regulatory compliance, the ARSA Symposium attracts a highly qualified professional audience. Use this opportunity to promote your company while showing support for ARSA. Get more information at http://arsa.org/news-media/events/arsa-symposium/arsa-annual-repair-symposium-sponsorship/
Q: I got a notification from the FAA that it received a FOIA request for letters exchanged between my company and the FAA that include voluntarily submitted information. That information is commercially sensitive, and I don’t want the agency to release the letters. What can I do?
A: The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), along with Executive Order 12,600 codified by the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations found in Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 7, requires that the FAA (as a DOT agency) notify a submitter of confidential business information when any record containing that information is requested to be released under FOIA.
The FAA then must give the submitter a chance to submit written objections to the release of the information. The notification you received offers you that opportunity.
Thus, you should promptly respond to the notification in writing, specifically detailing the grounds for nondisclosure. Fortunately, there is an exemption known as “Exemption 4,” to FOIA disclosure protecting confidential business information.
Where confidential financial or commercial information was provided to the agency voluntarily, the standard to qualify for Exemption 4 is that it must be the kind of information that would not be customarily released to the public. However, bear in mind that the onus of proof that the information qualifies for Exemption 4 protection is on the submitter – you. So in your response, you should clearly explain why the information is considered commercially sensitive, show that it was submitted voluntarily, and finally, offer evidence that the type of information is not customarily released to the public.
For more information on FOIA and related issues, visit ARSA’s FOIA issue page.
AVMRO News Portal
ARSA strives to provide resources to educate the general public about the work of the association’s member organizations; should you need to provide a quick reference or introductory overview to the global MRO industry, please utilize AVMRO.ARSA.org.
ARSA monitors media coverage on aviation maintenance to spread the word about the valuable role repair stations play globally by providing jobs and economic opportunities and in civic engagement. These are some of this month’s top stories highlighting the industry’s contributions. You can explore these stories through ARSA’s Dispatch news portal.
AEA – Aviation Leadership Summit – Dallas, Texas – April 8-11
ATEC Annual Conference – Orlando, Florida – April 11-14
MRO Americas – Miami – April 14-16
Aerospace Maintenance Competition – Miami – April 14-16
Aircraft Interiors Expo – Hamburg, Germany – April 15
The FAA is very concerned about counterfeit aircraft parts. They call them Suspected Unapproved Parts (SUP). Having any in your inventory could be a legal disaster!!
- There is only one centralized DataBase of Suspected Unapproved Parts – Over 60,000 of them. Find the ones on your shelves before the FAA fines you.
- There is only one integrated PMA/AD System. Find ADs that apply to or reference any of almost 1,000,000 PMA parts. Do multi-level PMA research.
- Due Diligence is the key phrase and The Aviation DataBase® is the only source for an easy and inexpensive way to do it. Head off the legal problem before it occurs.
- There is a User friendly and searchable copy of the Flight Standards Information Management System (FAA Order 8900.1) in The Aviation DataBase®.
- Do you need an Aviation Regulatory Library?: Over 18,000 ADs – Large & Small AC, Over 1,500 Type Certificate Data Sheets, Over 1,200 FAA Advisory Circulars.
- Call Aviation DataSource, Inc. (800) 952-8844.You can be using The Aviation DataBase® within minutes.
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