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2018 – Edition 4 – May 4

the hotline 1984


Table of Contents

Note: The order of material varies in hotline emails, but is always presented the same on this landing page. Readers scrolling through content on or printing this page will find it organized consistent with the table of contents.

Hotline Feature
ARSA Works
Legal Brief
ARSA on the Hill
Training
Membership
Resources
Industry Calendar


Hotline Feature

Here We Go Again – Unions Put Your Company in the Political Crosshairs

By Christian A. Klein, Executive Vice President

Labor organizations are seizing on President Trump’s tough trade talk, congressional action on FAA legislation and the recent Southwest Airlines incident to launch new attacks on repair stations. What’s worse, those anti-contract maintenance efforts are resonating and leading to bad policy proposals. More are likely unless industry steps up and engages much more aggressively.

Unions Spread Fear, Not Facts

In early April, the Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO (TWU) sent a letter and report to President Trump, cabinet officials and senior members of Congress alleging maintenance contracting is hurting U.S. workers. TWU said the decision by U.S. air carriers to “offshore” maintenance “has resulted in the elimination of thousands of our jobs and is stripping the United States of America of vital aircraft maintenance knowledge and skills.” The union also claimed foreign repair stations have “weaker qualification and compliance standards” and pointed to differences in professional licensing requirements, drug and alcohol testing and criminal background assessments.

“At a time of record airline profits, the pursuit of cheaper foreign aircraft maintenance options must end,” the TWU letter proclaimed. The report called on policymakers to “adopt measures that encourage airlines to place aircraft maintenance back in the hands of certificated U.S. airline mechanics, where the work is strictly regulated and closely monitored by the FAA.”

Later in the month, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) weighed-in with its own letter to leaders of House and Senate Committees with jurisdiction over aviation issues. Unable to resist the temptation to use a tragedy to promote the union’s economic agenda, AMFA pointed to the Southwest incident as evidence of safety problems related to maintenance contracting.

“AMFA hopes [the Southwest investigation] will prompt an in-depth review of the aviation maintenance practices conducted by U.S. carriers by prioritizing profit over safety,” the union, which represents Southwest and Alaska Airlines mechanics said. “There are serious safety issues that plague the world of aircraft maintenance and they are not exclusive to Southwest Airlines.”

“The practice of outsourcing aviation maintenance is not in the best interest of the American-flying public, but rather is in the interest of the corporate shareholders,” AMFA wrote.

What’s the REAL Story?

Not surprisingly, the union materials contain a number of exaggerations, misrepresentations and false conflations.

One particularly spurious misrepresentation is that the Southwest incident was the result of maintenance, when in fact all evidence suggests it was the result of a design issue.

TWU would have policymakers believe that all the maintenance jobs that no longer exist at airlines have gone overseas. That’s just plain wrong. There are more than 4,000 U.S. repair stations that employ more than 184,000 Americans all across the county. Many are small and medium-size family businesses. Maintenance jobs haven’t gone overseas; they’ve just gone to facilities across the street, around the corner or in a nearby industrial park.

The union propaganda materials fail to mention the benefits passengers and airline workers have reaped from contract maintenance. There may be fewer airline mechanics, but the contract maintenance model has helped air carriers reduce maintenance costs without impacting safety. In fact, the increased use of repair stations – domestic and foreign – by U.S. air carriers has coincided with safest period in the history of civil aviation. Repair stations aren’t the only reason air travel is so safe, but they’re certainly part of the equation.

Highly-specialized repair stations can do the work more efficiency and at a lower cost than the airlines. Contract maintenance has helped airlines keep ticket prices low, which benefits travelers. By helping make U.S. customers more profitable, repair stations provide security and economic stability for hundreds of thousands of airline employees.

The labor organizations would also have policymakers believe the U.S. economy has been a net loser because of maintenance contracting. While it’s true that some heavy maintenance work goes overseas, the unions ignore all the work – particularly engine and component maintenance – that comes back to the United States. There are only a few hundred FAA-certificated repair stations outside the United States but close to 1,500 U.S. facilities authorized to maintain European-registered aircraft and related components.

Finally, allegations of lax standards at foreign maintenance facilities are way off base. Foreign repair stations are certificated by the FAA under 14 CFR part 145 just like domestic repair stations. Repair stations outside the country have to meet the same quality control, personnel, training, housing, facilities, equipment, materials, manual and data requirements as those in the United States. Supervisory employees and those authorized to approve work for return to service at foreign repair stations are required by FAA to have a minimum of 18 months of practical experience and be trained in, or be or thoroughly familiar with, the methods, techniques, practices, aids, equipment, and tools used to perform the work. Supervisors at all repair stations are required to understand, read, and write English. And, wherever they’re located, repair stations performing work for U.S. air carriers are required to comply with the airline’s maintenance manual and, in addition to receiving oversight from U.S. and foreign regulators, are closely scrutinized by their air carrier customers.

Bad Information Leads to Bad Policy

While the union efforts haven’t yet resulted in the surge of negative media coverage we’ve seen in the past (though that may yet come), they have borne tangible results on Capitol Hill.

As the FAA reauthorization bill was on its way to the House floor in late April, Rep. Michael Burgess, a Republican who represents a northern suburb of Dallas (where a large number of repair stations are located), filed an amendment that would have diverted FAA oversight resources and created new burdens for the industry by requiring certain personnel at foreign FAA-certificated repair stations to obtain part 65 mechanic certificates. Although the amendment was rejected by the House Rules Committee, it underscores the link between negative messaging and bad policy.

Get Involved or Suffer the Consequences

ARSA has engaged aggressively with Congress to elevate the industry’s visibility, ensure lawmakers understand our broad economic impact and underscore the benefits of international trade in maintenance services and bilateral aviation safety agreements to the U.S. economy. Our lobbying has thus far kept hostile provisions out of the FAA bill. But the reauthorization process is a long way from being complete and the ability to slip amendments into other “must pass” legislation abound in the current political environment.

ARSA’s resources are extremely limited; you must expand the scope of advocacy. Here’s what you can do to counter the threat:

  • Help build ARSA’s membership. If you’re a member, send this article to colleagues (including your suppliers) and urge them to join. If you’re not a member, join. You’ll find that beyond our advocacy, your company will derive myriad other benefits. Membership information is available at org/membership.
  • Look for opportunities to engage and build personal relationships with current lawmakers and congressional candidates. The best way is hosting a facility visit; it shows what you do and how you positively impact the economy. Contact ARSA for assistance identifying members of Congress, extending the invitation, and planning the visit.
  • Tell our industry’s story. ARSA provides a wealth of resources, including state-by-state jobs and data and even a short documentary to help explain how repair stations contribute to the economy and aviation safety. For more information, go to arsa.org.
  • ARSA members need to get involved in ARSA’s political program. The first step is to give us permission to talk you about our political action committee (which helps elect lawmakers who share our policy goals). More information is at org/legislative/about-arsa-pac.

The recent surge in hostile messaging about our industry underscores the real threats facing repair stations. In the past, complacency by industry resulted in bad laws and bad regulations. ARSA is standing by to facilitate the industry’s engagement to prevent more negative things from happening. We can’t do it alone—but with your help we can have a huge impact. Without engagement, we’ll only have ourselves to blame for what comes next.

 


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ARSA Works

EXTENDED DEADLINE: ARSA Urges Industry to Comment on EASA ICA Proposal

UPDATE: EASA has extended the comment submission deadline for NPA 2018-01 to May 30, 2018. ARSA is using this additional time to gather data from the industry regarding the costs of limitations on ICA availability; the association urges its members to:

(1) Respond to the “quick question” regarding the costs of ICA (click here).

(2) Submit a comment to the NPA (click here).

Continue reading for the full story…

On Jan. 29, EASA issued Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) 2018-01 pertaining to Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA); comments are due by May 30, 2018. ARSA urges all members interested in this important subject to submit comments. The NPA is the result of an effort begun in 2009 (Rulemaking Task 0252, MDM 056) to review the European Commission’s (EC) ICA regulations and determine whether changes are needed.

After evaluation of the comments received concerning the NPA, EASA will develop an opinion containing the proposed amendments to Part-21 and submit it to the EC as the technical basis to prepare an EU regulation. (Note: In Europe, the EC issues Implementing Rules. This rulemaking would affect one of those rules, Commission Regulation (EU) No 748/2012 dated Aug. 3, 2012 laying down implementing rules for the airworthiness and environmental certification of aircraft and related products, parts and appliances, as well as for the certification of design and production organizations.)

Following adoption of the rule by the EC, EASA would issue a Decision publishing the Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM). Comments submitted now will impact the entire process.

The highlights of the NPA are:

(1) ICA would become part of the EASA type certificate although not all changes to the ICA would be considered changes to type design.

(2) With respect to components installed on the aircraft, engine or propeller, maintenance information would be ICA if it related to:
(a) The Airworthiness Limitations;
(b) The accomplishment of scheduled maintenance referenced in the product ICA, such as the periodic removal of a component for an inspection or test (e.g., hydrostatic test of a fire extinguisher in the shop); or
(c) If the supplier’s data does not relate to 2a or 2b but includes a maintenance instruction identified in the product ICA.

(3) On the other hand, if removal and replacement of the component was identified in the product ICA and the ICA did not reference the supplier’s maintenance instructions as necessary for continued airworthiness, the CMM/OHM would not be considered ICA. However, the DAH could still reference those manuals as additional or optional maintenance information without them becoming part of the ICA.

Availability of the ICA would not significantly change as it would require both the ICA and any subsequent changes to be made available to anyone required to comply with those instructions, such as owner/operators, approved maintenance organizations and continuing airworthiness management organizations (CAMO).

EASA indicated that its proposal would result in disharmonization with the FAA but did not specifically state why. However, current FAA rules do not recognize ICA as part of the type or supplemental type certificate and there would be subtle differences regarding which component maintenance data would be considered ICA if the NPA was adopted.

To review the NPA, click here. Comments must be submitted by May 30 using EASA’s automated Comment-Response Tool (CRT).

 


ARSA Supports Effort to Increase Part 147 School Flexibility

On April 18, ARSA submitted supportive comments to the Federal Register notice related to a Southern Utah University petition for exemption from the curriculum requirements of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 147.21(a)-(c).

SUU is an accredited member of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and an ARSA educational member. The school is planning to expand its existing aviation program – it offers an Associate of Applied Science in Aviation for both fixed and rotor-wing pilots – to include aircraft maintenance technician (AMT) training. The new program would be developed using the school’s credit hour system to administer the emerging AMT Airman Certification Standards (ACS) as the basis for it’s A&P curriculum.

ARSA’s comments highlighted how granting the exemption would allow the FAA to gather insight regarding not only the planned ACS but also the agency’s efforts to rewrite part 147. While developing larger policy the agency could observe the effectiveness of an independent program while relying on its existing rules for airman certification to ensure an equivalent level of safety.

“In short, the regulatory system provides a layered structure of requirements for an individual to gain and maintain authority to perform and approve work for return to service,” the submission said. “The FAA possesses multiple points of oversight through which to ensure safety.”

In addition to supporting regulatory progress, ARSA recognized the public interest identified by SUU in its petition: The pressing need to increase available technical talent. Referencing its own data on both technician onboarding and the industry-wide costs of the aviation workforce shortage, the association encouraged the FAA to “take advantage of any opportunity to support improvement in AMT education.”

To read the full submission, click here.

To review the Federal Register docket, click here.

 


ARSA, Industry Allies Seek Objective Criteria for Operations Specifications

On April 13, a coalition of aviation industry organizations delivered a letter to the FAA seeking objective criteria for adding and reviewing paragraphs to any certificate holder’s operations specifications.

The letter was coordinated by ARSA and sent to Flight Standards Service Executive Director John Duncan. It described a series of issues related to the government’s failure to differentiate between air carrier and air agency certificates in applying operations specifications paragraphs. The signatories noted that the agency lacks defined standards for the working group advising on promulgation of these paragraphs under 14 CFR part 119, which includes air carriers and commercial operators, but does not seek any kind of industry input from repair stations or other air agency certificate holders.

The timing of the group’s submission takes advantage of language in this year’s omnibus appropriations bill signed into law in March. The legislation included a provision restricting the FAA from promulgating any operations specification, policy or guidance that imposes more burdensome restrictions than those defined in the rules. The letter was delivered “to assist the agency in complying with the congressional mandate.”

Specifically, the letter suggests the agency establish a committee of government and industry personnel that would review the FAA’s management of operations specifications for every type of certificate holder. The regulatory experts on the new body would establish criteria for promulgation of new paragraphs and review existing ones to ensure currency and consistency with specified regulations.

“The legislative language was a helpful reference for encouraging the agency to act,” said ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod, noting how the provision in the spending bill coincided with an already-developing effort to address the issues outlined in the letter. “The truth is that the regulators shouldn’t need Congress to tell them to apply objective standards. Regardless of what the law says, the FAA can and should coordinate with the industry to make sense of how it applies operations specifications paragraphs.”

To read the full letter, click here.

In addition to ARSA, the letter was signed by:

Aircraft Electronics Association
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Airlines for America
Aviation Suppliers Association
Aviation Technician Education Council
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Helicopter Association International
Modification and Replacement Parts Association
National Air Carrier Association
National Air Transportation Association
Regional Airline Association
The Boeing Company
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
MOOG Aircraft Group

 


ARSA at MRO Americas – Seeing the Sights

On April 10-11, Vice President of Communications Brett Levanto returned to Orlando for MRO Americas. During the event, held at the Orange County Convention Center, Levanto facilitated an invitation-only session on AMT workforce development efforts related to military-to-civilian transitions (and the need to ensure a viable supply of technical talent across aerospace and defense). He also walked the convention floor to visit ARSA members and allies, observed the Aerospace Maintenance Competition and listened in on regulatory and business updates provided through panel discussions and plenary session presentations.

Levanto’s attendance was made possible through support by AAR Corp., an ARSA corporate member and industry leading organization that has committed to helping the association improve the regulatory environment, generate workforce opportunity and increase aviation business efficiency.

See the sights at the event – through Levanto’s eyes – by navigating the gallery of images below. Where you at MRO Americas? Want to get the association involved in your event representation? Contact ARSA to share your experience and learn how to get the association into your event plans.

MRO Americas 2018

 


AIR Transformation by Another Name: ARSA Helps Kick Off SOC-ARC

On April 3, the Safety Oversight & Certification Aviation Rulemaking Committee (SOC-ARC) held its initial meeting at the MITRE Corporation in Vienna, Virginia to discuss the committee’s charter and plan for the next steps in the Aircraft Certification Service’s (AIR) Transformation initiative. MITRE is facilitating the effort under contract to the FAA.

The purpose of the SOC-ARC is to provide a venue for industry stakeholders to identify and recommend initiatives to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the certification and safety oversight system. The ARC, which was chartered in January 2018, will do much of its work in task groups that will focus on important elements of the certification system including industry compliance assurance systems, product performance, AIR interfaces with AFS relating to certification, international compliance and others.

The meeting was well-attended by industry and FAA representatives in both AIR and the Flight Standards Service (AFS). Like ARSA, most of the industry attendees have been active participants in the AIR Transformation process (see below) which has been working to align the agency’s oversight model with established risk-based principles. In addition to ARSA (which is represented by its Managing Director & General Counsel, Marshall S. Filler), other trade associations represented on the SOC-ARC include the General Aviation Manufacturer’s Association (GAMA), Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association (MARPA). Company representatives involved in the AIR Transformation effort also attended, including Boeing, GE, Gulfstream and HEICO.

The committee will evaluate the FAA’s existing regulatory structure and supporting guidance, industry practices for meeting airworthiness standards and ensuring compliance, self-monitoring, self-reporting and self-correcting processes and the changes needed in those processes to implement safety management systems.

The committee has been tasked with submitting a report to the FAA by the end of 2018 containing the results of its assessment along with its recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the certification system while maintaining the high level of safety achieved under the current certification structure and processes.

Stay tuned for updates as ARSA continues to support the SOC-ARC.

 


Brexit Update

The aviation community was reminded about the potential impact of Brexit with the April 13 “Notice to Stakeholders” from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transportation entitled “Withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) and EU Aviation Safety Rules.”

The notice explains that unless a withdrawal agreement establishes a different timeline or other rules, on March 30, 2019 all EU laws will cease to apply in or to the UK, including those related to civil aviation safety. Among the potential consequences:

  • EASA carries out the functions and tasks of the state of design on behalf of EU member states. This includes the issuance of type certificates for products, design approvals for parts and appliances and design organization approvals. Such approvals issued by EASA to persons and organizations located in the UK will no longer be valid in the EU.
  • Certificates issued by the UK pursuant to EU rules (including airworthiness, approved maintenance organization, maintenance training organization, manufacturing, and mechanic certificates) will no longer be valid.
  • Certificates confirming compliance with EU rules issued before the withdrawal date by persons certificated by the UK pursuant to EU rules will no longer be valid (with some limited grandfathering exceptions).
  • UK aircraft operators will be considered ‘third country’” operators by the EU and require an authorization from the EASA.
  • EU aircraft operators using UK-registered aircraft will need to comply with EU rules on air services concerning the use of ‘third country’ registered aircraft.

Individuals, as well as organizations located in the UK holding certificates who wish to continue EU activities will need to ensure compliance with EU aviation safety requirements. The notice also states that the Commission is considering whether any additional steps or guidance are needed to facilitate compliance for products, parts and appliances certificated before the withdrawal date and put in use in the EU before the withdrawal date and/or relevant organizations or persons requiring certification.

The Commission’s notice sets forth the worst-case scenario. Aviation safety is a key issue in Brexit negotiations and policymakers on both sides of the English Channel will look for ways to avoid massive disruptions. A UK government report states that the UK and the EU are working to pave the way for the UK to continue participating in EASA through the end of 2020.

As for the longer-term future, the UK could become an “associated” country for purposes of EASA, the status enjoyed by Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland (European countries but not EU members). According to the FAA, associated countries can enter into bilateral agreements with third countries (as long as they don’t contradict EASA’s interest). The UK could therefore conclude separate bilaterals with the United States to minimize headaches for companies doing business between the two countries.

Before you take the EC’s notice as gospel, visit EASA’s webpage for additional perspectives on the Brexit negotiations and links to other EU and UK resources.

 


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.
 


ARSA-onlinetraining



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Legal Brief

Editor’s note: 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.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice?

By Sarah MacLeod, Executive Director

As many certificate holders know, the FAA introduced its “Compliance Philosophy” in 2015. The administrator issued FAA Order 8000.373, Federal Aviation Administration Compliance Philosophy, which sets forth overarching guidance for implementation and administration of the program.

In essence, the document recognizes that most “deviations” from the required standards arise from “factors such as flawed procedures, simple mistakes, lack of understanding, or diminished skills.” Thus, it directs the agency’s workforce to “use the most effective means to return an individual or entity…to full compliance and to prevent recurrence.” If the certificate holder is willing to be “corrected through root cause analysis and training, education or other appropriate improvements”, no legal enforcement action will be forthcoming.

Unfortunately, the starting point for evaluating a “deviation” is flawed; rather than focusing on the language of the regulation and its history in notices of proposed and final rulemaking, compliance determinations start with agency guidance. The FAA philosophy is to view deviations from “safety oversight guidance” as intentional or reckless:

“The FAA views those intentional or reckless deviations from regulatory standards, as defined in the Agency’s safety oversight guidance, or deviations from regulatory standards that otherwise present an unacceptable risk to safety, as posing the highest risk to safe operation of the [national airspace system], and thus requiring strong enforcement.” (Emphasis added.)

As was made clear by a recent FAA legal interpretation, the agency’s advisory circulars can be flawed.  As has been made equally clear by letters to the agency from the association, its internal guidance can be seriously flawed. The result is that an agency representative can consider a certificate holder’s “reluctance…in adopting [corrective actions] to remediate deviations” merely because there is a disagreement over what a regulation requires versus what is contained in the “Agency’s safety oversight guidance.”

Contrast that scenario with recent activities in the Department of Justice (DOJ). A Nov. 16, 2017 memorandum entitled “Prohibition on Improper Guidance Documents” was issued because it had come to the attorney general’s attention “that the Department [had] published guidance documents…that effectively bind private parties without undergoing the rulemaking process.” The memorandum defined guidance documents to “include any Department statements of general applicability and future effect, whether styled as guidance or otherwise that are designed to advise parties outside the federal Executive Branch about legal rights and obligations.” A task force was organized to review and “identify existing guidance documents that should be repealed, replaced or modified.” As a result of the review, twenty-five (25) documents were rescinded as “unnecessary, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper.”

In January 2018, the Attorney General took another step to prohibit rulemaking by guidance—he issued a memorandum limiting the use of guidance documents in decisions to file lawsuits on behalf of the government. The memorandum states that “Department litigators may not use noncompliance with guidance documents as a basis for proving violations of applicable law.”

It sure would be nice if all agencies were as conscientious in the issuance of “guidance” to their workforces and the public.

 


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ARSA on the Hill

House Passes FAA Bill, Now on to the Senate

By Christian A. Klein, Executive Vice President

It’s been another busy month for the maintenance industry on Capitol Hill. The focus of our attention has been on FAA reauthorization bill and the association’s ongoing efforts to include a new grant program to help recruit, train and retain the next generation of aviation maintenance workers.

All eyes were on the House of Representatives in April as lawmakers took up the House version of the FAA bill (H.R. 4). The legislation provides a multi-year budget blueprint for the FAA and an opportunity for Congress to set the agency’s priorities. Action on the bill has been a long time coming: Differences of opinion about pilot training requirements (in the Senate) and whether to spin-off FAA’s air traffic control responsibilities to a separate entity (in the House) have delayed action in both chambers for more than a year. With those questions apparently resolved, the House debated the bill during the week of April 23.

And Now a Word for Our Sponsors …

To date, eight senators have sponsored ARSA’s bill to address the aviation workforce skills gap. Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) are leading the charge on the House side of Capitol Hill. If you’re located – or have facilities – in any of the states represented by our allies (see list below), please take a moment to say thank you. (Your note can be as simple as, “Thanks for supporting the aviation workforce bill. As a constituent and maintenance industry professional in [YOURSTATE], I appreciate your leadership on this important issue.”)

Clicking on the links below will automatically open an email addressed to the MC’s transportation legislative assistant. Be sure to cc christian.klein@arsa.org on your note.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)
Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.)
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

ARSA has been lobbying hard to create a new aviation maintenance workforce program. We’ve made enormous progress in the Senate, where legislation sponsored by Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has picked up four additional cosponsors: Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).

The legislation (S. 2506) would authorize $5 million annually for five years for grants of up to $500,000 to support aviation maintenance workforce development. To be eligible for a grant, a business (or union), school and governmental entity would have to apply jointly, thereby fostering local collaboration to address the technician shortage. Our goal is to build as much support for the bill as possible and have it added to the FAA bill when it’s considered by the full Senate.

While most our focus on workforce issues has been on the Senate side of Capitol Hill, we took a run this month at getting the language of S. 2506 added to the House FAA bill as well. As it headed to the Rules Committee, Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) filed an amendment to include the workforce grant program.

Although the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passed its version of the FAA bill last spring, before it could go to the floor, it still had to pass through the House Rules Committee. The Rules Committee’s job is to decide how much debate time to allow and which amendments can be offered. Unfortunately, the amendment was rejected by the committee (apparently because, unlike the amendments that were ruled “in order”, our amendment had a significant price tag – $25 million over five years).

Ultimately, the House passed the FAA bill on April 27 by a vote of 393 to 13 without an amendment to develop ARSA’s workforce grant program.  

Despite this setback, we’re pleased that the process is moving forward and that several of the association’s priorities are part of the bill. It includes provisions directing the Government Accountability Office to examine aviation maintenance industry workforce issues and adding maintenance to the stakeholders included on the agency’s new Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee.

While ARSA-suggested provisions directing the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee to examine ways to improve repairman certificates and restoring the right to voluntarily surrender repair station certificates were not included, the good news is that they are part of the Senate’s FAA bill.

It’s also worth noting that while neither the House nor the Senate bill currently include language hostile to repair stations, labor organizations are trying to get anti-contract maintenance language included. For example, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) filed an amendment (rejected by the Rules Committee) that would have imposed new regulatory burdens on foreign repair stations and diverted FAA’s oversight resources. That failed effort underscores the need for the maintenance sector to be both vigilant and active.

Now that the House has acted, attention once again shifts to the Senate. In addition to continuing to build support for – and attract new cosponsors to – S. 2506, we’ll also be working to encourage the Senate to act quickly on FAA legislation. The near-term certainty about FAA resources lasts only through the current short-term extension, which expires in September. We have some time to engage lawmakers, but since Congress has a tendency to wait until the last minute to act, a few months to work with can be an excuse to procrastinate.

As the process continues to play out in the weeks ahead, we need ARSA members engaged. Please contact ARSA Executive Vice President Christian A. Klein (christian.klein@arsa.org) to learn what you can do to ensure that the FAA serves the needs of the maintenance industry and doesn’t impose new and unnecessary burdens on your company.

To follow along with the association’s updates on the FAA reauthorization process, visit arsa.org/faa-reauthorization-2018.

Want to Learn More About ARSA PAC?

ARSA’s Political Action Committee helps elect congressional candidates who share ARSA’s commitment to better regulation and a strong aviation maintenance sector.   In this critical election year, ARSA PAC has never been more important.  But ARSA is prohibited from sending PAC information to members who haven’t opted in to receive it.

Please take a second to give us prior approval to talk to you about ARSA PAC.  Doing so in no way obligates you to support PAC.  It just opens the lines of communication.

Click here to give ARSA your consent today.

 


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Training

Series – Aircraft Parts

Get immediate access to Executive Director Sarah MacLeod’s three-session series on the regulations and other requirements affecting the purchase, stocking and sale of aircraft parts.

Regulations Impacting the Purchase of Aircraft Parts
The course reviews the civil aviation regulations in 14 CFR that impact the purchase of civil aviation parts, as well as other requirements that should be considered when making such purchases.

Click here to register and get 90-days of access to the recording.

Regulations Impacting the Receiving, Inspection and Stocking of Aircraft Parts
The course reviews the civil aviation regulations in 14 CFR that impact the receiving, inspecting and stocking of civil aviation articles for maintenance purposes, as well as other requirements that should be considered.

Click here to register and get 90-days of access to the recording.

Regulations Impacting the Sale of Aircraft Parts
The course reviews the civil aviation regulations in 14 CFR that impact the sale of civil aviation articles, as well as other requirements that should be considered when selling parts.

Click here to register and get 90-days of access to the recording.

Interested in all three? Click here to purchase them together and save.

Registration for an ARSA-provided training session includes:

  • Unlimited access for 90 days to the recording made available after the live session is complete.
  • A copy of the presentation and all reference material with links to relevant resources and citations.
  • A certificate upon completion of the class, as well as any test material.

The association’s training program is provided through Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, P.L.C., the firm that manages ARSA. To go directly to OFM&K’s online training portal, visit PotomacLaw.inreachce.com. To learn more about the association’s training program and see course availability, visit arsa.org/training.

 



Series – Instructions for Continued Airworthiness

View ARSA’s three-part series on instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA), led by Managing Director and General Counsel Marshall S. Filler. ICA has been a key focus of ARSA’s work on behalf of the maintenance community for decades and it continues to demand attention from aviation businesses worldwide. Turn the association’s experience into your benefit.

ICA – The Basics
This session overviews the regulatory basis for ICA, including what documents are considered ICA and the obligations of design approval holders to prepare, furnish and otherwise make them available under 14 CFR § 21.50(b). It also covers the related regulations that apply to operators and maintenance providers regarding the use and availability of ICA. Finally, it shows how the FAA has interpreted some of the more important ICA requirements in Order 8110.54.

Click here to register and get access for 90 days.

ICA – The Business Side
This session explains the importance of ICA and describes ARSA’s efforts to strike an appropriate balance between often-competing regulatory and business considerations. It also addresses various design approval holder (DAH) business practices that affect the availability and use of ICA and explains the FAA’s policy prohibiting DAHs from engaging in certain behaviors. It also explores various FAA ICA legal interpretations and some of the issues being examined in an ongoing anti-trust inquiry by the European Commission’s Competition Directorate.

Click here to register and get access for 90 days.

ICA – Case Study: Testing Your Knowledge
This session will test participants’ knowledge of ICA-related provisions in 14 CFR and FAA guidance by presenting several hypothetical case studies. Each one will focus on one or more of the significant ICA regulatory principles.

Click here to register and get access for 90 days.

Click here to purchase all three sessions together and receive a “bundle” discount.

Note: Sessions must be viewed in order. Completion of each pre-requisite – either via live session or on-demand recording – is required for access to subsequent classes.

Registration for an ARSA-provided training session includes:

  • Unlimited access for 90 days to the recording made available after the live session is complete.
  • A copy of the presentation and all reference material with links to relevant resources and citations.
  • A certificate upon completion of the class, as well as any test material.

The association’s training program is provided through Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, P.L.C., the firm that manages ARSA. To go directly to OFM&K’s online training portal, visit PotomacLaw.inreachce.com. To learn more about the association’s training program and see course availability, visit arsa.org/training.

 


From the FAA – The Mechanic’s Creed

The FAA’s “Maintenance Hangar” on faasafety.gov contains information and resources the agency has produced or compiled to support safety in maintenance operations. The “toolbox” section includes alerts, guidance, tips, training information, posters and handout materials. Members of the maintenance community working on U.S.-registered aircraft should become familiar with these resources; at the very least they help highlight the areas considered most important by the agency.

To provide a taste of the content available in the “maintenance hangar,” this edition of the hotline is taking a look at the Mechanic’s Creed, which was written by Jerome Lederer in 1941. While the creed takes the perspective of the certificated mechanic, its call uphold the “sacred trust” of aircraft maintenance should be heard and heeded by anyone working in the industry “knowing full well that the safety and lives of others are dependent upon [our] skill and judgment.”

Click the image to view the creed (and download it to post in your workspace).

 



Regulatory Compliance Training

Test your knowledge of 14 CFR § 65.71 – Eligibility requirements: General. (Mechanic Certificates)

Click here to download the training sheet.

 


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ARSA-onlinetraining


Membership

AeroTEC Puts Advocacy into Action in Moses Lake

Matt Davis, manager of AeroTEC’s Test Flight Center in Moses Lake, Washington hosted a facility visit for State Sen. Judy Warnick (R-13) (second from left) and State Rep. Tom Dent (R-13) (right) on April 24.

One of the most important ways for repair stations to educate the public is by inviting lawmakers to visit facilities.  It’s an opportunity for elected officials to learn first-hand about what the maintenance industry does, how many people it employs and all the ways it contributes to the economy and aviation safety.

Although ARSA puts a big emphasis on federal policy and engaging with Congress, state and local officials make a lot of important decisions that affect the industry.  With that in mind, ARSA was glad to hear that associate member AeroTEC had recently hosted a state senator and representative at the company’s Moses Lake, Washington facility.

The visit, which was coordinated by Matt Davis, the manager of AeroTec’s Moses Lake Test Flight Center, provided an opportunity for the lawmakers to see an aviation facility up-close and gave Davis an opportunity to discuss a number of important issues, including aviation fuel taxes, the tax exemption on non-revenue generating aircraft (i.e. experimental R&D), aviation workforce needs and partnering with local trade schools. 

“It was very easy!” Davis told ARSA, noting that the process of hosting a lawmaker is not as difficult as many businesses might assume.  “I just reached out to their offices via email and received quick response.” 

“This is the first time we hosted a visit with elected officials outside of a formal grand opening event,” Davis said. “We have grown rapidly from 36 employees to over 400 in just two years, so our focus has not been on building these relationships with elected officials. Now that we are beginning to stabilize, we can focus on building these important relationships.”

Although the AeroTEC facility hasn’t hosted a lawmaker visit before, Davis isn’t a newcomer when it comes to engaging with government.  “In my previous life we were very involved in relationship building with elected officials and I saw firsthand how it can positively impact our business, or negatively, if one is not involved and has not built these relationships,” Davis said.

“The visit was a great opportunity to help Sen. Warnick and Rep. Dent understand our business and the impact certain issues/regulations can have on it.”

Want to host elected officials at your facility?  ARSA can help by identifying lawmakers (local, state and federal), coordinating the invitation, designing an agenda for the visit and providing talking points.  For more information, reach out to ARSA Executive Vice President Christian Klein at christian.klein@arsa.org.

Aerospace Testing Engineering & Certification LLC AeroTEC develops, tests and certifies new aircraft products using innovative and scalable development, test and certification techniques to help large and small aerospace companies everywhere bring their products to market quickly, easily and efficiently. To learn more, visit www.aerotec.com.

 


CRT Heads to the White House to Help President Trump Tout Tax Cuts

Component Repair Technologies team members Ryan Sedlak, Steve Meyer, Wolfgang Hofmann, and Brianna Quinn joined CRT President Rich Mears at an April 12 White House Rose Garden ceremony with President Trump to highlight the impact of recent tax cut legislation on family-owned companies and their employees.

The closest most Washington visitors get to the president is a photo in front of the White House.  Component Repair Technologies (CRT) President Rich Mears and four CRT team members got their photo and much more during their trip to the nation’s capital on April 12. 

Mears and CRT non-destructive testing inspector Brianna Quinn, machinist Ryan Sedlak, welder Steve Meyer and grinder Wolfgang Hofmann were in town to participate in a White House Rose Garden ceremony with President Trump, senior administration officials and business leaders to highlight the positive impact that recent tax reform legislation is having on family companies and their employees.

“I want to thank all of the American workers in the audience — we have a lot of them — who have traveled here from all over the country,” President Trump told the audience.  “This event is dedicated to you: the hardworking Americans who make our nation run.”

During the event, President Trump discussed his economic accomplishments and owners and employees of businesses from all over the United States shared their own perspectives about the impact of Trump tax administration tax and regulatory policies.

Mears told ARSA that tax reform, accelerated depreciation and a better economic outlook have given his Mentor, Ohio-based company the confidence to increase hiring, expand research and development and ramp up employee training programs. “Our planned capital investment for 2018 is 78 percent higher than any year in our 33-year history,” Mears said.

“Because of the increased confidence and optimism of the Trump economic policies we recently payed-out our largest profit sharing distribution in company history,” Mears said.  “This change in direction under President Trump’s policies enabled us to go forward with a 25,000 ft expansion of facilities in 2017 with an additional 6,700 ft expansion planned for 2018.”

ARSA appreciates Mears and his team investing the time to come to Washington and helping build the aviation maintenance industry’s visibility.  We’re also grateful to the administration for including a repair station in the president’s economic policy event.

ARSA is frequently asked to provide feedback about how the maintenance industry is being impact by federal policy.  We’d welcome your input about the recent tax law changes.  Here’s a quick survey to share your views: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ARSAFlashTaxSurvey.

The people of Component Repair Technologies perform a wide variety of processes in-house, including machining, flame spray applications, welding, heat treat, chrome and nickel plating, shot peening, nondestructive testing, visual and dimensional inspection, acid and alkaline cleaning. CRT works on a wide variety of parts from several different engine models. To learn more, visit componentrepair.com.

 


Welcome & Welcome Back – New & Renewing Members

ARSA’s members give the association life – its work on behalf of the maintenance community depends on the commitment of these organizations. Here’s to the companies that joined or renewed in April:

New Members (Member Category)

Buckeye Turbines, LLC, R01
Corporate Air Parts Inc. dba CAPS Aviation, R03
Gardner Aviation Specialist, Inc. dba Precision Aircraft Services, R02
WGI, Inc. dba Westfield Gage Company Overhaul and Repair, R03

Renewing Members (Member Category, Member Since)

Aviation Propellers, Inc., R02, 2011
Accurate Accessories, LLC, R01, 2002
AERO Component Repair, LLC, R01, 2011
Aero-Craft Hydraulics, Inc., R03, 1988
AeroParts Manufacturing & Repair, Inc., R04, 2016
AeroRepair Corp., R03, 2012
Aerospace Quality Research & Development 145, LLC, R01, 2006
Airbus North America, Inc., Assoc, 1995
Aircraft Electric Motors, Inc., R04, 1984
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Assoc, 2009
ATP USA, Inc, R01, 2017
Auburn Aerospace, Inc., Affil, 2001
Av8 MRO, LLC, R01, 2014
Erickson Incorporated dba Erickson Air-Crane, R05, 1997
Falcon Crest Accessories, R02, 2013
Honeywell International, Inc.- Phoenix, Corp, 1996
Master Air Parts, Inc., R01, 2013
S3 Repair Services, LLC, R02, 2010
Seal Aviation, LLC, R02, 2014
Skytech Aviation, Inc., R01, 2013
SONICO, Inc., R03, 1995
Southwest Airlines, Corp, 2005
StandardAero Alliance, Inc., R05, 2010
The NORDAM Group, Inc.-Repair Division, Corp, 1984
World Class Accessory, Inc., R01, 2007

 


Maintenance Industry Poised for Growth, Facing Technician Shortage Headwind

ARSA’s 2018 member survey, conducted during the first quarter of the year, paints a picture of a healthy and growing industry facing a major strategic threat in the form of a looming technician shortage.

Half of the 125 respondents reported increased profitability in the last two years (only 14 percent said profitability decreased) and two-thirds expect revenues and markets to grow in coming year (only two percent expect a decrease). Employment demand is also strong: 98 percent expect to add to or maintain the current size of their workforce, which will require hiring for new positions, filling vacancies or both. That may be more easily said than done given that 82 percent report difficulty finding qualified technical workers (37 percent report a lot of difficulty).

Survey respondents collectively reported more than 1,000 technician vacancies. Projecting this figure across ARSA’s entire membership means more than 2,500 unfilled technical positions. Using annual revenue data collected through the survey, ARSA estimates its members will forego between $333.5 million and $642.5 million in revenue this year if those vacant positions remain unfilled. Although ARSA represents a considerable number of repair stations, not all in the industry are association members. Thus, the actual potential economic impact of unfilled positions on the entire aviation maintenance industry is likely significantly higher.

ARSA has been asking questions about recruitment challenges for many years, but this was the first time the association polled its members about the practical effect of the skills gap. Eighty percent report the worker shortage increases time to complete work for customers, 28 percent have not added new capabilities, 20 percent have turned down work and 11 percent have decided against expanding facilities. Those results underscore how personnel issues ripple through the aviation industry and impact growth in communities around the country.

With the foregoing in mind, it is not surprising that difficulty finding/retaining technical talent was reported as the top strategic threat facing repair stations (53 percent of respondents). Other looming threats are availability of maintenance information (tied with workforce at 53 percent), regulatory costs/burdens (45 percent), inconsistencies between regulatory systems (28 percent) and restrictions on international trade/markets (18 percent).

The survey also underscores how important government business is for the aviation maintenance industry. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said their companies provide services to one or more governmental entities (whether in the United States or overseas). Forty-nine percent of respondents do business with the military, 17 percent work with some other part of the federal government, 13 percent work with state governments, and seven percent provide services to local governments.

Overall satisfaction with ARSA membership is also high (4.42 on average on a one to five scale on which five is “very satisfied”). Access to regulatory and legislative expertise was ranked as the most important member benefit (4.64 out of five). Other top-rated benefits include regulatory advocacy (4.55), free regulatory compliance resources (4.19), congressional advocacy (4.10), Dispatch and hotline newsletters (4.08) and ARSA online training (4.04).

The survey was conducted from January 23 to April 3. Multiple emails requesting participation were sent to the primary contact at each ARSA member company. One hundred and twenty-five ARSA member organizations responded, representing 488 U.S. and non-U.S. approved maintenance facilities. The survey’s estimated margin of error is seven percent (95 percent confidence level).

 


2018 FAA-EASA Conference – Attend, Assist, Advocate

Registration is officially open for the 2018 FAA-EASA International Safety Conference. The aviation maintenance community – ARSA members in particular – should plan now to come to Washington, D.C. from June 19-21.

FAA_Bannerv1950x188_v5 (002)

Through the annual event, the agencies and the aviation community come together to share information and work toward harmonized safety standards, policy and procedures. That purpose – though noble – only becomes reality through active participation by the industry, and maintenance must be well represented for there to be a true “systems approach” to international regulatory oversight. So, ARSA urges its members to consider taking advantage of the conference in a number of ways:

Attend and Participate

Register to come to D.C. and participate in the conference, which will be held at the Mayflower Hotel. The $695 fee entitles the registrant to all workshops, presentations and panel discussions in addition to breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks during the meeting as well as a dinner cruise on the Potomac River and a Wednesday evening dinner reception. Getting into the rooms and at the events surrounding the conference is key to ensuring international regulators understand and address matters of importance to maintenance providers.

Assist Through Sponsorship

The FAA and EASA are administering the 2018 conference in partnership with industry. The Aerospace Industries Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association – both ARSA allies – have taken the coordination lead and have opened the door to support through sponsorships. By sponsoring, aviation businesses commit to the facilitation of good government and reasonable oversight. A limited number of options are available, all of which include at least one complimentary registration. For information, contact Bry Spinella, AIA manager of corporate events (bry.spinella@aia-aerospace.org): 

Click the image to view the remaining available sponsorship options (PDF).

Advocate for the Your Industry

In conjunction with participation in EASA/FAA meeting, ARSA’s Legislative team encourages its members to spend time on Capitol Hill meeting with congressional offices that represent any company facilities.  The FAA bill will be front and center in June and ARSA is working hard to include regulatory and workforce development provisions that will benefit the entire industry. Executive Vice President Christian A. Klein (christian.klein@arsa.org) is available to work with members in setting up and preparing for congressional meetings, as well as planning to host representatives or senators on visits to facilities back home.

Make time to attend the 2018 International Safety Conference and make the most of the trip by representing the aviation maintenance industry.

To access the event page, click here.

 


Quick Question – The Costs of ICA

Since ARSA’s inception, it has worked to ensure availability of basic maintenance information. It has filed multiple complaints with the FAA and EASA, developed industry- wide consensus on reasonable policy standards, sought external guidance, commented on agency actions, produced training and other resources and even sought Supreme Court intervention.

The work continues to make instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA) “available to any other person required…to comply with any of the terms of those instructions.”

On Dec. 1, 2017 a U.S. court ruled in a case related to 14 CFR § 21.50’s requirements that it is totally within the FAA’s discretion if and how it enforces its own rules. ARSA is developing a strategy to press the issue further on behalf of certificate holders and is gathering data regarding restrictions on ICA.

Help the association by answering this month’s “quick question”:

Note: The question is displayed in its own, embedded window. If the “Done” button is not visible on the screen, you must scroll within the survey window in order to submit your response.

For more information about this or any other question, contact Brett Levanto (brett.levanto@arsa.org).

Click here to see what questions have been asked and answered…and keep a lookout for more.

 


A Member Asked…

Q: A turbine governor service bulletin came out several months ago, and the manufacturer sent it to us without the instructions to do the required rework. All it states is to “[r]emove and return the unit to an authorized service center.” Our facility is not part of manufacturer’s “authorized service center” network and because of this we cannot get the necessary instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA).

Are there avenues available to us to get access to the necessary ICA without having the right “authorization” from the manufacturer? We often work on these accessories for other engine shops that have access to the necessary maintenance data and would much rather send the work to us – for cost efficiency – than to an authorized service center. Can we go to them?

If I’m able to get access to the necessary instructions through other means, and I’m asked about it by the manufacturer, what can I say? Doesn’t the customer have the right to choose the shop they want to rework their components as they receive these service bulletins?

A: The association’s work on making maintenance data available to persons required to comply with the instructions can be found here: arsa.org/regulatory/faa/design/ica-efforts.

In that compilation, you will find an FAA policy on restrictions by design approval holders that limit the owner/operator’s choice in maintenance providers:

http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgPolicy.nsf/0/757c84ac9becec27862579d00054df95/$FILE/PS-AIR-21.50-01.pdf.

The policy does not address obtaining the information from another maintenance facility, which may be restricted commercially from providing that information to another party. The best avenue to resolve that commercial issue is to focus on the end customer; as the policy states:

“Based on the [justification provided in the policy], a DAH may not inhibit an owner/operator from distributing ICA to current or potential future maintenance providers.”

Therefore, when the owner/operator requests that the work be done by its chosen maintenance providers, the policy applies.

 


Make ARSA’s Voice Your Own: Advertise

ARSA has a 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 arsa.org/advertise.
 


Stand Up for ARSA by Sponsoring in 2018

In order to provide world-class resources for its members, the association depends on the commitment of the aviation community. By sponsoring events and activities, supporters can help ARSA’s work on behalf of repair stations to endure.

Need a place to start? For information about opportunities, contact Vice President of Communications Brett Levanto (brett.levanto@arsa.org).

 


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Resources

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.

AVMRO Industry Roundup

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.
 


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Industry Calendar

PBExpo – Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – May 16-17
AP&M Europe – London – May 29-31
EBACE – Geneva – May 29-31
Flight Safety Foundation Safety Forum – Brussels – May 29-30
RAA Summer Seminars – New Orleans, Louisiana – June 10-12
NATA Annual Meeting & Aviation Business Conference – Washington, D.C. – June 12-14
2018 FAA-EASA International Safety Conference – Washington, D.C. – June 19-21
Farnborough International Airshow – Farnborough, England – July 21-22
LABACE – Sao Paulo, Brazil – August 14-16
Aero-Engines Europe – Hamburg, Germany – September 12-13
ATEC Annual Fly-In – Washington, D.C. – September 12-14
MRO Europe – Amsterdam – October 16-17


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the hotline is the monthly publication of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA), the not-for-profit international trade association for certificated repair stations. It is for the exclusive use of ARSA members and federal employees on the ARSA mailing list. For a membership application, please call 703.739.9543 or visit arsa.org/membership/join. For information about previous editions, submit a request through arsa.org/contact. This material is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal, consulting, tax or any other type of professional advice. Law, regulations, guidance and government policies change frequently. While ARSA updates this material, we do not guarantee its accuracy. In addition, the application of this material to a particular situation is always dependent on the facts and circumstances involved. The use of this material is therefore at your own risk. All content in the hotline, except where indicated otherwise, is the property of ARSA. This content may not be reproduced, distributed or displayed, nor may derivatives or presentations be created from it in whole or in part, in any manner without the prior written consent of ARSA. ARSA grants its members a non-exclusive license to reproduce the content of the hotline. Employees of member organizations are the only parties authorized to receive a duplicate of the hotline. ARSA reserves all remaining rights and will use any means necessary to protect its intellectual property.

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