2020 – Edition 10 – November 6
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.
By Sarah MacLeod, Executive Director
As has been reported, I was honored with Aviation Week’s Lifetime Achievement Award for MRO. The operative words are “for MRO”—I was bred and born to represent this industry and I cannot express enough gratitude for the recognition.
The honor goes to the enumerable individuals that enhanced my “boys I am taking charge here” (B.I.T.C.H.) breeding. Both my parents had high intelligence and stubbornness. Papa raised me with three rules of survival:
(1) never be financially dependent upon any single person;
(2) don’t let “them” tell you that you can’t do it because you are a woman; and,
(3) question authority.
All are essential to success in a world where anatomy plays a role in how one is treated and the third forced me to use in-bred intelligence to seek knowledge to feed determination and persistence.
When kismet brought that combination to the aviation industry, and I was given the chance to attend law school, my lifetime career was established. Attending law school while working allowed my knowledge to expand exponentially. I combined the legal analysis (critical thinking) education process with business knowledge from being an office manager. As aviation presented challenges, I was able to make vital connections among the myriad legal requirements of successful business operations.
As opportunities to influence the legal process through aviation legislation and regulation became evident, I took advantage of my position as executive director to place maintenance in the middle of the change. The association became known for its knowledge and ability to “cut to the chase.” It also enabled the entire international aviation maintenance industry to understand its power and influence.
It is those mutual and vital accomplishments for which I have been honored and I proudly accept it on behalf of an industry to which I owe another lifetime of work.
See more of Sarah’s thoughts on her recognition, via the pages of Aviation Week: Thoughts On A Lifetime In MRO Advocacy.
ARSA Talks Worldwide Pandemic Impacts with Russian Aviation Leaders
To keep tabs on all of ARSA’s work related to the current pandemic, visit arsa.org/anti-viral-measures.
ARSA Executive Vice President Christian A. Klein traveled (via the magical powers of remote connectivity) to Moscow, Russia on Oct. 20 to participate in the 2020 Regional Aviation of Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Conference.
According its organizers, the conference is one of the largest annual professional aviation events in Eurasian region and provides industry and government attendees with the opportunity to discuss the development of Russian and CIS regional and commuter aviation.
After briefly introducing the global aviation maintenance industry, Klein discussed pandemic-related economic disruptions as reflected by expert analysis from the association’s partners at Oliver Wyman and ARSA’s own surveying. He also delved into a number of issues that will impact future recovery, including workforce challenges, government economic support, restoring public confidence in travel, the estimated 8,000 aircraft that will be necessary to distribute a vaccine once it becomes widely available and finally the 2020 U.S. elections.
Klein closed his remarks with a warning about the risk to the global aviation maintenance sector from U.S. legislative proposals like the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act (H.R. 5119), the so-called “anti-repair station bill” promoted by airline mechanic unions and their congressional allies. Klein said the legislation, which was introduced and rushed through the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee last November, could gain momentum as a result of Democratic party gains in November. ARSA is leading a coalition to oppose the bill, which could lead to collapse of the various bilateral aviation safety agreements that have been inked in recent years between the FAA and other national aviation authorities. That, in turn, would lead a more complex – and costly – regulatory environment with no additional safety benefits.
The ARSA team is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to educate and inform interested audiences about the maintenance industry. To book an ARSA speaker for a conference or meeting, please contact ARSA Vice President of Operations Brett Levanto at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To review a PDF copy of Klein’s presentation slides, click here.
Top U.S. States Bear Heavy Pandemic Burden
To keep tabs on all of ARSA’s work related to the current pandemic, visit arsa.org/anti-viral-measures.
As part of ARSA’s ongoing advocacy in support of additional economic relief for the aviation maintenance industry, the association surveyed its members Oct. 2 to 6 to determine pandemic-related economic disruptions on FAA certificated repair stations in the ten states that employ the most aviation maintenance workers (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington).
Repair stations in those ten states collectively employ more than half the industry’s U.S. workforce (193,857 nationwide as of March 9, 2020) and generate $16.706 billion in annual economic activity, more than half the American industry’s annual total ($27.188 billion).
Based on 47 survey responses:
- There is a strong connection between the civil aviation maintenance sector and national security. Aside from providing services to commercial and general aviation operators, 66 percent of respondents provide services to the military, 32 percent to other federal departments, 25 percent to a state, 23 percent to municipal government.
- Aviation maintenance revenues have fallen sharply in 2020. 84 percent say revenues have decreased versus 2019. 84 percent project lower revenues in 2020 vs. 2019. The average drop in 2020 revenues versus 2019 is 32 percent. ARSA projects the top ten states will collectively lose $5.346 billion in maintenance sector economic activity this year (see chart).
- The steep decline in business activity has led to significant maintenance sector job losses. Collectively, companies have lost 19 percent of their workforce since Jan 1. Projected across total employment as of March 9, repair stations in the top ten states have lost 23,736 workers (see chart).
- The very survival of many businesses is at stake. 48 percent are concerned about whether their business will survive (responded 4 or 5 to question, ”On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 means “not at all concerned” and 5 means “very concerned,” how concerned are you about your company’s ability to survive the pandemic-related economic disruptions?”)
- More layoffs are imminent. 46 percent plan workforce reductions in 2020 (23 percent plan to permanently reduce staffing and 23 percent plan temporary furloughs).
- But additional federal economic relief can prevent job losses. 76 percent say additional federal relief would make layoffs less likely. (“If Congress were to renew or extend CARES Act relief programs and/or create new mechanisms to deliver economic assistance to the maintenance industry, do you believe it would make your company less likely to reduce its workforce?”).
The results are consistent with those from the broader ARSA member survey (see the July 28 update on arsa.org/pandemic-survey) conducted over the summer of 2020. Based on those results, ARSA projected that the U.S. maintenance industry has lost more than 50,000 jobs – almost a quarter of its workforce – since the beginning of the year.
|Total repair station jobs as of March 9
|Estimated jobs lost since March 9*
|Annual repair station economic activity as of March 9
|Estimated lost economic activity in 2020***
*Total employment times average percentage of jobs lost in top ten states (19 percent).
**March 9 economic activity x average revenue decline for top ten states (32 percent).
What ARSA Has Done Lately – Third Quarter 2020
Each quarter the board of directors receives reports on the association’s activities and finances. Step into a board member’s shoes by reviewing the financial health and operations, legislative and regulatory reports highlighting advocacy on behalf of aviation safety between July and September 2020 as well as the administrative matters undertaken during the board’s annual meeting:
The board welcomed new members Bob Mabe (HAECO Americas) and Hugh McElroy (Signature Aviation) and bid farewell to outgoing President Ian Cheyne (Dallas Airmotive) and David Latimer (HAECO Americas).
The board elected Gary Fortner (Fortner Engineering/Wencor) as its 2021 president, Terrell Siegfried (The NORDAM Group, LLC) as vice president and Josh Krotec (First Aviation) as treasurer.
The association continues sustaining its membership and income at acceptable levels. The board found the financial reports and position acceptable and referred the draft 2021 budget – which is balanced – to the executive committee; with plans for further advocacy and outreach, the board found the financial reports and position acceptable.
- Worked on the initial preliminary recommendation report for the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee’s Part 145 Working Group due December 2020. Included weekly meetings with the co-chair, Ric Peri and the FAA representative Paul Cloutier and select Working Group members.
- Assisted Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee (SOCAC) to develop a task on workforce development that centered on mutual requirements for and exchange of “learning experiences” (training).
- Sarah appointed to SOCAC Subcommittee (six members and two FAA representatives) that will marshal the SOCAC’s tasks.
- Assisted DOT IG with audit of FAA Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing System (ASIAS).
- Continued effort to correct problems with FAA guidance related to repairman certificates by enlisting Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, P.L.C. to file motion for leave to intervene before NTSB on appeal of two certificate denials.
- Coordinated industry comments on FAA Federal Register notice describing planned implementation of technician workforce grant program.
- Delivered industry coalition letter to both the FAA and EASA requesting amendment the TIP regarding minor alterations to non-critical components and clarification to the MAG regarding single-agency releases.
- Reported on TSA Aviation Security Advisory Committee white paper on impact of global health emergency on the aviation insider risk landscape.
- Reported on EASA virtual classroom guidance.
- Updated list of FAA exemptions, deviations and other pandemic-related guidance.
- Continued chronicle of key pandemic-related updates at org/anti-viral-measures.
Legislative and Lobbying
- Continued leading lobbying coalition to secure funding for new aviation maintenance workforce and pilot education grant programs created by Sec. 625 of last year’s FAA bill.
- House Transportation-House & Urban Development and Related Agencies (T-HUD) appropriations bill includes full funding ($10 million) for the programs.
- Senate T-HUD bill contains partial funding ($5 million for both).
- Coordinated letter from members of Congress to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and FAA Administrator Steve Dickson urging rapid implementation of the program,
- Worked in partnership with General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Aerospace Industries Association, Spirit Aerospace, GE and others to build support for aerospace jobs bill ( 3705/H.R. 8002). Would create new public private partnership program through which federal government would provide half compensation for up to quarter of repair station and manufacturer workforce.
- Worked to build support for renewing Air Carrier Worker Support program (i.e., payroll support) and adding language to give access to off-airport repair stations performing work as contractor or subcontractor for air carriers.
- Worked in partnership with Aviation Technician Education Council, Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association and AAR to build support for PARTT 147 (R. 5727/S. 3043). Would mandate direct final rule to update current technician training schedule regulation with performance-based standard.
- Supported ongoing efforts to extend payroll protection program and streamline loan forgiveness.
- Continued leading coalition in opposition to R. 5119 (anti-repair station bill). Bill was officially reported by House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and placed on Union Calendar. However, action in 2020 seems unlikely given other congressional priorities.
- Engaged with Government Accountability Office research team on CARES Act deficiencies and implementation.
- Participated in virtual fundraiser for Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) organized by AAR ($1000).
Communications and Surveys
ARSA in the News – Selected Industry Coverage
MRO Faces Up to the ‘Perfect Storm’
July 3, 2020
The MRO industry is braced for major fall-out from the global pandemic crisis. Will independents be able to weather this perfect storm?
Covid-19 Impact on Mx Will ‘Haunt Aviation,’ ARSA Says
July 29, 2020
Revenue for more than two-thirds of ARSA members has declined an average of 45.9 percent in the first five months of 2020, mostly from the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to results of a survey by the trade group. What’s more, aggregate employment at the surveyed companies fell nearly 27 percent—from 11,879 to 8,699—between January 1 and June 1.
Aviation Manufacturing Industry Calls for Help to Protect Jobs
August 13, 2020
A coalition of aviation manufacturing companies called on Congress to pass two bills that would save jobs in the aviation manufacturing industry, its supply chains, and the aviation maintenance repair companies with which they work.
ARSA Files To Intervene In Repairman Certificate Denial Appeals
August 28, 2020
“The FAA’s answer to the repairmen appellants was that an outdated advisory circular and equally stale internal guidance did not ‘allow’ such a rating,” said ARSA Executive Director and managing member of OFM&K Sarah MacLeod. “Ironically, the internal guidance upon which the FAA relies plainly states: Repairmen do not have a rating other than ‘Repairman.’”
FAA Advances Pilot, Mechanic Workforce Development Grants
September 8, 2020
The FAA has taken the next steps in standing up grant programs to help aspiring pilots, engineers and aviation maintenance technicians, outlining plans to begin collecting applications for the first round of grants in November.
ARSA-placed Industry Editorials
|SpaceX’s Launch: Doing The Right Stuff | July | Brett Levanto
|A Hurdle to Advancing Electronic Manuals | August | Sarah MacLeod
|MRO Workforce Actions Needed Now | September | Brett Levanto
|Beyond Crisis Communications | July | Brett Levanto
|A Learning Time | August | Brett Levanto
Conducted three “Quick Question” surveys:
- 2021 Conference Attendance Plan (July)
- ASIAS (August)
- Repairman Applications & Employment (September)
Events, Meetings and Training
Continued planning for multiple-format 2021 ARSA Conference – live (to accommodate the hotel contract), live-streaming with ability to interact and taped.
- Sarah met three times with AFS AIR to develop advisory circular on “repair specifications” (monthly).
- Sarah met ten times with AFS to discuss current and ongoing issues (weekly as schedules allow).
- Sarah participated in weekly meetings for the ARAC Part 145 Working Group and the FaSTPaCE ARC 221 Working Group.
- Sarah and Brett hosted ten meetings with alpha and beta testers for the manual compilation project.
- Christian participated in a Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness Coalition meeting (July 14).
- Christian met with government affairs personnel from allied organizations including Helicopter Association International, Aerospace Industries Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the National Air Transportation Association and t (July 16-21, August 11-14, September 8).
- Brett met with Sharon DeVivo, president of Vaughn College to plan administration of Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force (July 23).
- Christian participated in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce meeting on industry response to COVID-19 (July 24).
- Christian coordinated and participated in five meetings with congressional staff and representatives from AAR, ATEC and AMFA regarding the PARTT 147 Act (July 28).
- Christian coordinated and participated in two meetings with congressional staff and AAR, ATEC and AMFA representatives regarding the PARTT 147 Act (July 28).
- Christian coordinated a meeting with AIA and Daniel Winkler/Sen. Kristen Synema (D-Ariz.) regarding the aerospace jobs bill (July 30).
- Brett met with Stephanie Adams Taylor, director of strategic partnerships for the Dayton (Oh.) Regional STEM School to discuss technical workforce development collaboration (July 30).
- Marshall participated in an industry meeting in preparation for Maintenance Management Team (MMT) – Industry meeting (Aug. 5)
- Christian briefed former FAA General Counsel Reggie Govan on maintenance industry workforce needs and policy initiatives for next president administration (Aug. 6).
- Sarah participated in an FAA AIR-40 industry meeting (Aug. 11).
- Christian participated in five meetings with congressional staff and AAR, ATEC and AMFA representatives regarding the PARTT 146 Act (Aug. 11).
- Brett and Christian participated in a meeting with Oliver Wyman staff to coordinate and update on respective activities (Aug. 14).
- Brett participated in an FAA Youth in Aviation Taskforce preparatory meeting (Aug. 20).
- Christian hosted a meeting of ARSA’s Nominating Committee (Aug. 20).
- Christian coordinated and participated in two meetings with congressional staff and AIA representatives regarding the aerospace jobs bill (Aug. 21)
- Christian coordinated and participated in a meeting with House Financial Services staff and representatives from the GAMA regarding the aerospace jobs bill (Aug. 25).
- Sarah participated in an FAA Safety Oversight and Certification Aviation Rulemaking Committee (Aug. 27).
- Sarah hosted a call to discuss issues related to restricted category aircraft with HAI (Aug. 28).
- Christian participated in an aerospace jobs bill coalition call (Aug. 28).
- Christian participated in a coalition meeting with AAR, ATEC and AMFA representatives regarding the PARTT 147 Act (Sept. 1).
- Christian attended the International Air Transport Association’s Maintenance Cost Conference (Sept. 9).
- Christian participated in a TSA Aviation Security Advisory Committee meeting (Sept. 9).
- Christian participated in a coalition call with ATEC, AAR and AMFA representatives to discuss the industry response to FAA’s grant program notice (Sept. 9).
- Christian presented on maintenance industry economic conditions at the ATEC Annual Conference (Sept. 15).
- Sarah participated in a DOT Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee (SOCAC) meeting (Sept. 16).
- Christian participated in a TSA ASAC Airports Subcommittee meeting (Sept. 18).
- Marshall participated in an industry meeting in preparation for MMT- Industry meeting (Sept. 22)
- Sarah and Brett presented on regulatory issues at the MRO Asia-Pacific Conference (Sept. 24).
- Marshall participated in an industry meeting in preparation for MMT- Industry meeting (Sept. 25)
- Christian, Brett and Sarah held a new corporate member briefing for STS’s leadership team (Sept. 30).
- Christian and Brett held an onboarding session for new ARSA Board members (Sept. 30).
MacLeod’s Achievement is Industry’s Future
MacLeod was instrumental in ARSA’s formation and has led the association and the aviation community for more than 35 years. As highlighted by Aviation Week Chief Editor MRO Lee Ann Shay during the pre-recorded presentation of the award, MacLeod has actively engaged with numerous aviation stakeholder bodies throughout her career. She chaired the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) in 1995-1996 and has served ARAC faithfully since its inception. She was a member of the FAA’s Suspected Unapproved Parts (SUP) Task Force, which developed the plan on which the FAA SUP program is based. She edited the Parts Manufacturer Approval Manual and is currently co-chair of ARAC’s Part 145 Working Group.
Based on her expertise and experience with both the regulatory requirements and business realities of aviation maintenance, MacLeod’s assistance is highly demanded by industry stakeholders. She is a sought-after speaker, having appeared at countless industry meetings (including many visits to MRO Event Series stages) and training events. In addition to her direct client support as managing member of Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, P.L.C. – ARSA’s management firm – member access to her expertise is one of the association’s premier benefits. MacLeod has always prioritized sharing her knowledge and insight through direct discussion as well as ARSA’s online training program.
Though Aviation Week’s honor focused on the achievement in MacLeod’s past, she used the honor to highlight the maintenance community’s future and her continued leadership of it. “It is daunting to be presented such an honor just when the international aviation maintenance industry and the association founded to support it are finally coming into their own!” MacLeod said after reflecting on her recognition. “We have more to achieve before my time in aviation is over.”
“You’re an unsung hero and you’ve been a huge advocate for the industry,” Shay told MacLeod during the pre-recorded presentation, promising that the award’s delivery would be seen by thousands of online event viewers despite their inability to celebrate together in person.
“Then this really will just be among friends,” MacLeod said, acknowledging that she had been surprised by the announcement. “Because all of those people are my friends.”
NTSB Denial is Beside the Point
On Oct. 13, the NTSB denied ARSA’s attempt to intervene in two cases concerning repairman certificate denials. Administrative Law Judge Stephen R. Woody delivered the denial order to Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, P.L.C., the association’s management firm providing pro-bono assistance in the legal effort.
The matters before the board involve a repair station making recommendations supporting repairmen certificates for supervisors with approval for return to service duties. The FAA denied the recommendations. On Aug. 27, OFM&K filed a motion for leave to intervene on ARSA’s behalf.
“The denials were not based upon whether the individuals were qualified to perform the work appropriate to the job of supervisor set forth in the rules governing repair stations,” said ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod, who is also managing member of OFM&K. “Nor were the denials based upon the individuals lacking the practical experience required. The FAA’s answer to the repairmen appellants was that an outdated advisory circular and equally stale internal guidance did not ‘allow’ such a rating. Ironically, the internal guidance upon which the FAA relies plainly states: Repairmen do not have a rating other than ‘Repairman.’”
The board’s denial was unconcerned with the actual matter at hand in the cases. Woody instead followed the FAA’s response to ARSA’s petition by rejecting the association’s legitimate interest in the case:
“ARSA has not claimed that it has a property or financial interest in the outcome of these proceedings, and it does not appear to have any ‘other legitimate interest’ in them,” Woody said, citing the association’s stated purposes in its articles of incorporation. “The sole issue presented in these cases is whether petitioners Turner and Messner-Henning are qualified as individuals to hold repairman certificates. It is difficult to conceive how the resolution of that issue substantially affects [the association’s] welfare.”
Contrary to Woody’s assertion, intervening in a case regarding regulatory interpretation is fully consistent with ARSA’s purpose as stated in the articles “to develop positions and objections with regard to legislative and regulatory matters, and to initiate action which will achieve those objectives, consistent with the policies of the Corporation and with the laws governing the conduct of such activities.”
Considering the NTSB’s ultimate decision has the potential to affect every ARSA member company by imposing unnecessary compliance costs, administrative burdens and limits on workforce flexibility. That would seem to be an “other legitimate interest,” which the denial failed to address.
The association’s leadership team and its board recognized the potential outcome. Its executive director warned of the outcome in the September edition of the hotline. If the association gets the chance to file an amicus brief – which is only allowed after Woody’s decision on the merits is issued – it will do so.
To read the original motion to intervene, click here.
To read the FAA’s response, click here.
To read the NTSB’s denial, click here.
For more information on ARSA’s work related to repairman certificates, visit arsa.org/repairmen.
Youth Task Force Goes Public
On Oct. 16, the FAA hosted the first public meeting of the Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force. ARSA Vice President of Operations Brett Levanto participated in the meeting as a representative of aircraft repair stations.
The task force’s creation was mandated by the 2018 FAA reauthorization law to encourage high school students to pursue careers in aviation (its members have already acknowledged that the effort must reach beyond high school students to include younger grade levels and also youth not in school). Task Force membership was announced in July 2020; participants used the months leading up to the initial public meeting to establish committees and plan for the group’s work. Levanto has joined the the Trends subcommittee, which is charged with identifying what encourages or discourages young Americans in pursuing aviation careers.
The task force will recommend strategies for the FAA to:
(1) Facilitate and encourage U.S. high school students to enroll in and complete career and technical education courses, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
(2) Facilitate and encourage these students to enroll in a course of study related to an aviation career, including aviation manufacturing, engineering, and maintenance.
(3) Identify and develop pathways for students to secure registered apprenticeships, workforce development programs, or careers in the aviation industry of the United States.
To watch a recording of the meeting via the FAA’s YouTube Channel, click here or start the embedded video below.
If you would like to be included on Levanto’s list of interested industry stakeholders who receive updates and assist with questions posed to the task force, contact ARSA.
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.
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.
Lawyers Ruin Everything … Except When They Don’t
By Christian A. Klein, Executive Vice President
Last month’s hotline described ARSA’s efforts (via the pro-bono services of Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein (OFM&K)) to intervene in two National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) cases involving FAA’s incorrect application of repairman certification rules (see “FAA Running Scared from Repairman Case Intervention”, “Legal Brief: Lawyers Ruin Everything” from last month and get an update with “NTSB Denial is Beside the Point” in this edition).
ARSA and the law firm could have added valuable insights to the proceedings, particularly about the plain language of the regulations and contradictory guidance material. However, despite the cases’ broad impact on ARSA members and their employees, the administrative law judge declined to let the association become a party because the FAA’s lawyers objected. Rather than trying to get to the right answer, the focus was on procedural issues, a classic case of process overwhelming justice.
Sarah referenced the influence of the fictional character Perry Mason on her decision to pursue a legal career. My early inspiration was the movie “Twelve Angry Men”, which underscores the point that everyone involved in the legal system is a human being that can make mistakes resulting in dreadful miscarriages of justice. The best way to avoid miscarriages of justice is to avoid legal proceedings; that is why “prophylactic lawyering” is needed.
“Prophylactic lawyering” means understanding your legal and regulatory obligations so little problems do not metastasize into big ones and, even worse, enforcement or criminal cases. More importantly when you do get caught up in legal proceedings, those early protective measures result in better outcomes.
With that in mind, here are some things to keep in mind when working with members of the Bar to ensure prophylactic measures achieve the desired result:
Compliance is YOUR responsibility. Throughout 14 CFR you’ll find applicability provisions at the beginning of each part. For example, 14 CFR 145.1 establishes who is obligated to comply with 14 CFR part 145: a certificated repair station when performing “maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations of an aircraft, airframe, aircraft engine, propeller, appliance, or component part to which part 43 applies” and “any person who holds, or is required to hold, a repair station certificate.” Note that it doesn’t say, “and their lawyers.” Compliance obligations sit squarely with the certificate holder, not outside legal and regulatory experts or an FAA inspector. In the final analysis, “someone told me to do it that way” isn’t an excuse for not knowing what laws and regulations require you to do.
Work with competent lawyers. We all know competent colleagues and friends who aren’t lawyers but have extensive regulatory experience (often from having worked for the FAA) and provide compliance assistance services to the industry. However, unlike lawyers, they aren’t trained to consider how all the legal and regulatory issues interrelate. They may, for example, understand drug and alcohol testing rules cold but may not be competent to advise on how those rules intersect with employment laws. Competent business counsel should have an eye to future potential legal conflicts and establishing documentation systems that demonstrate compliance. There are other advantages, including attorney-client privilege and ethical obligations related to confidentiality and conflicts of interest. Lawyers are also personally liable for malpractice and carry insurance to protect them and you if bad advice is given.
Work with the right All lawyers have the same basic qualifications: They’ve gone to college, received a law degree, passed a comprehensive multi-day exam and a thorough background investigation – meaning they have demonstrated a basic ability to research and analyze legal issues. Those basic qualifications are where the similarities among lawyers ends. A business engaged in international aviation will utilize many specialties. To obtain the “right” lawyer(s), do your homework: Do you need advice or information on tax ramifications, international trade, environmental protection, human resources or aviation safety requirements? The lawyer’s knowledge and experience must be relevant to the particular issue or situation. What other experience or knowledge would help: Specialization in small business? Uniform commercial code? General contractual obligations and language or only for a maintenance contract? What internal or external resources are needed or available through legal counsel?
Understand the lawyer/client relationship. A lawyer hired by and for a company does not represent the individuals within that entity. Interests of a company, its owners, managers, and employees can diverge. A lawyer is duty bound to know its client and should inform individuals of the fact that if interests are diverging (particularly in an enforcement matter) you should look into obtaining separate counsel.
Understand the required result. Often clients will want a solution that is impossible to obtain. More often that desired result is based on an incomplete understanding of the facts relevant to the laws and regulations. For example, if a client asks for help to write a new manual, the purpose is often to “satisfy the FAA inspector.” The legal purpose is to establish compliance, but more importantly, the procedures need to create airworthy work while creating efficiency and profit. Once knowledgeable about the difference between regulatory compliance and the cost of satisfying the local inspector’s preference (LIP), the client can make an educated decision and more importantly, can stabilize its relationship with the agency which further reduces costs. Lawyers should be providing clients legal options and the risks associated with those choices. Decisions need to be based upon how the law will look at the discernible, documented, or provable facts, not someone’s “feelings” or beliefs.
Make procedures and systems reflect reality. The old adage “Say as you do and do as you say” is an aviation business’ reality. We get it: aviation regulatory compliance is complicated and becomes even moreso when other legal obligations such as the rules of multiple government agencies and global aviation authorities are considered. It’s not the manual that keeps the company compliant; it is following those procedures that count. The manual should never contain procedures your company can’t possibly follow.
The bottom line is that businesses in civil aviation are complicated; it takes a village to keep a company compliant. While lawyers can be expensive and will tell you things you don’t want to hear, they are essential to success. If managed properly, they can protect you from ruin.
Ask yourself this simple question: Would you rather deal with your lawyers today or the government or competitor’s counsel tomorrow?
ARSA on the Hill
The People Have Spoken
By Christian A. Klein, Executive Vice President
As a night owl, I love presidential elections; it’s the only time I have a professional excuse to stay up late watching TV. This year I was in bed early, even before other members of my family.
The change cannot be blamed on age, it was clear early in the evening that results were not imminent. Wednesday morning left the presidential and many congressional races uncalled with no immediate expectations of finality.
What we do know is that Democrats didn’t get the desired results. There will be no “blue tidal wave” with a bigger House majority and control of the Senate. Given the number of competitive Senate seats the GOP was defending and the vast resources arrayed against Republicans, the election results resemble a repudiation of Democrats. They lost congressional seats and will have the smallest House majority in two decades. Biden may eke out a victory from swing states and it may be one for the history books, but it will be no landslide, meaning no broad electoral mandate.
So, what do the election results mean for the maintenance industry?
Be assured that the association builds relationships on both sides of the aisle based on hard data about the industry’s economic and employment impact and an evidence-based approach to aviation safety. ARSA’s bipartisan approach and simple messaging has developed strong allies in both chambers. That, in turn, allows the association to secure important policy victories. Over the past several years, those tactics have secured billions of dollars in relief for the maintenance sector in the CARES Act, added several workforce-related provisions to the 2018 FAA bill and the ARSA-proposed $5 million workforce grant program.
In the months ahead, ARSA will continue to focus on the same priorities: economic relief, workforce development and knocking back hostile legislation.
On the economic relief front, ARSA is working to renew the Paycheck Protection (PPP) and Air Carrier Worker Support (payroll support) Programs, expand eligibility for payroll support to off-airport airline maintenance contractors, protect businesses from frivolous COVID-related lawsuits and create a new program to protect at-risk aviation maintenance and manufacturing jobs.
The outcome of the presidential election is the main factor that will determine whether another big relief bill gets done this year. If Trump wins, negotiators can pick up where they left off in October and potentially get a bill done before the end of the year. If Biden wins, we won’t likely see more relief until early 2021.
On the workforce front, we are determined to keep the momentum. The FAA grant program ARSA helped create may be up and running (i.e., taking applications) before the end of the year and Congress is on track to fully fund it again in 2021. We’re also working to pass legislation to force FAA to update 14 CFR part 147, the half century old regulation governing technician schools. These issues are bipartisan and supported by both business and labor, so who’s running the show on the Hill won’t dictate the outcome.
One major area of concern is anti-repair station legislation. It’s no secret that over the last several decades airline mechanic unions have pushed to make repair stations less competitive, limit airlines’ ability to use contract maintenance and subvert the bilateral aviation safety agreements that make compliance and oversight more efficient.
With House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) determined to clip the maintenance industry’s wings, the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act (H.R. 5119), which was rammed through his committee a year ago will be back on the agenda. ARSA and its allies will continue to fight H.R. 5119 while we stand on guard against other hostile legislation and tax, appropriations and regulatory initiatives.
While some things have changed in Washington, D.C., one thing won’t: ARSA’s relentless advocacy for the industry.
Training Conference Goes Around the Clock and Across the Globe
On Nov. 10, ARSA Vice President of Operations Brett Levanto will participate in Global ATS-V. The international event is the online replacement for multiple aviation training trade shows overseen annually by the Halldale Group. Levanto and Ryan Goertzen of ARSA enterprise member AAR Corp. will provide context and perspective on repair station workforce needs in their session on “The Impact of COVID-19 on Staffing Today and Tomorrow.”
Responding to pressures from the global pandemic, Halldale reimagined not only presentation methods but also event content for Global ATS-V. Combining the presenters and resources from a number of regional training symposia into a single around-the-clock and across-the-globe series of panels and discussions, the event’s theme has also been updated to reflect the unprecedented times: “Reset, Restart, Rebuild – Collaborating to Develop the Future of Aviation Training.”
Levanto and Goertzen have already recorded the substantive portion of their presentation, which will play for attendees at 5:00 p.m. EST during the day’s North American focus. After the completion of their 40-minute presentation, the pair will join Dr. Bill Johnson, FAA chief scientific and technical advisor, for a live Q&A session.
Session 9: Maintenance – Repair Stations: The Impact of Covid-19 on Staffing Today and Tomorrow
2200-2300 (UTC): 2300-0000 (CET): 1700-1800 (EST): 1600-1700 (CST)
The pandemic and related aviation business crisis has caused some to question whether we need no longer worry about the industry’s workforce. Furloughs, layoffs, early retirements and other reductions have allowed employers to worry less about finding new talent while instead trying to keep current employees on the payroll. While key stakeholders – including the US government, thanks to mandates from Congress and FAA focus – have remained committed to long-term aviation career development, here’s a challenge for anyone with doubts: Remember where we were when all this started.
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Administrative Agencies – The FAA & NTSB
This session reviews the creation and powers of the two agencies most prominent in civil aviation – the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Instructor: Sarah MacLeod
Registration for an ARSA-provided training session includes:
- Unlimited access for 90 days to the recording.
- 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.
What training do you need? Contact ARSA to let the association know and help get it developed.
International markets mean expanded business opportunities that require an expansive regulatory understanding. Working on your global knowledge with two on-demand training sessions from ARSA Managing Director & General Counsel Marshall S. Filler.
Going Global – Bilateral Agreements
This session focuses on the purpose and scope of bilateral agreements and describes how they are developed and structured. The presentation explains specific activities covered in a typical BASA including design approvals and post-design approvals, production and surveillance, export airworthiness approvals, technical assistance between authorities and special arrangements. It also covers bilateral maintenance agreements, their associated special conditions and the latest maintenance developments out of ICAO.
Going Global – A Primer on International Regulatory Law
This session summarizes the framework for international safety regulation, introduces ICAO’s mechanisms for allocating regulatory responsibilities among member states and addresses the important role bilateral agreements play in enhancing efficiency and facilitating international commerce.
Registration for an ARSA-provided training session includes:
- Unlimited access for 90 days to the recording (registrants may contact ARSA directly with questions or comments).
- A copy of the presentation and all reference material with links to relevant resources and citations.
- Upon completion of the class as well as any test material, a completion certificate.
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.
What training do you need? Contact ARSA to let the association know and help get it developed.
Regulatory Compliance Training
Test your knowledge of 14 CFR §§ 11.9, 11.11 & 11.13, general rulemaking requirements related to final rules.
Fortner Leadership Will Balance Long Experience with New Energy
During its 2020 annual meeting, ARSA’s board of directors elected Gary Fortner to the association’s senior volunteer leadership position. Fortner, vice president of engineering for Fortner Engineering in Glendale, California, will serve as ARSA’s president for its 2021 program year.
Fortner has nearly 30 years of aviation experience. He has a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from San Diego State University, a master’s in material engineering from California State at Northridge and in 1998 he was appointed an FAA Designated Engineering Representative (FAA-DER) specializing in the approval of major repair and major alteration of hydraulic accessory components.
ARSA’s board represents a broad range of international maintenance interests. Board members direct the association’s work to best serve the aviation community. Fortner has served the volunteer leadership body since 2001 and will enter his 21st year serving as its president for the second time. His predecessor, W. Ian Cheyne, concluded his own two-decade-long service as a director.
“The Fortner family has been part of this association since the beginning,” said Executive Director Sarah MacLeod. “The generational support from Gary’s father as one of ARSA’s founding members exemplifies the backbone of the aviation maintenance industry, which ‘breeds its own.’ Gary has been the face of voluntary commitment for the small family-owned business that ensures the association’s adherence to independent maintenance organizations and the next generation of maintenance professionals.”
The board has welcomed five new members since 2017, a period of transition during which experienced directors have been able to work with new representatives from companies that have long supported ARSA’s mission and work. This year, Hugh McElroy, CEO of Signature Aviation, PLC, filled the vacancy left by Cheyne and Bob Mabe, director of regulatory compliance for HAECO Americas, took over for his colleague David Latimer.
“I feel [ARSA’s board of directors] is well positioned to serve the association, its members and the aviation maintenance industry,” Fortner said. “Having welcomed some new faces in the past few years, we have the right mix of long experience and new energy to navigate what will be an interesting year.”
Terrell Siegfried, assistant general counsel and corporate secretary for the NORDAM Group, LLC, was also elected to serve as ARSA vice president. Josh Krotec, senior vice president for First Aviation Services, Inc., became the association’s treasurer. Both Siegfried and Krotec first joined the board in the past four years, bringing new energy to executive committee service alongside Fortner’s years of involvement.
While the work of that “interesting year” will be continual, it will take its most public form during ARSA’s 2021 Annual Conference. The event will go ahead on schedule in March with both in-person and online components; registration will open in December 2020.
Quick Question – 2021 Conference Planning
In June, ARSA confirmed its plans to host the 2021 Annual Conference on schedule from March 9-12. The association will organize its usual in-person event in-and-around Washington, D.C. and also provide virtual options for those unable to participate on premises.
What began decades ago as ARSA’s Annual Repair Symposium has evolved into a week-long event including executive branch briefings, grassroots legislative advocacy and world-class regulatory compliance and business content. In 2021, the event will once again provide a venue for members and invited guests from around the world to network and discuss issues that matter to the repair station community.
The events team is continuing to plan for new logistics as well as coordinating the same high-quality content participants expect from ARSA. You can help with all of that work by responding to this month’s “quick question.” If you already provided a response to a similar question in July 2020 (thank you for your response), please take a minute to respond again so the association can get a full picture of how the intentions of potential participants have evolved in the past four months.
If the embedded survey does not appear/load, open the survey independently by visiting: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2021ARSAConferencePlan.
Note: The survey below is in an embedded window and you may need to scroll down within the window to see/click the “Submit” button.
Click here to see what questions have been asked and answered…and keep a lookout for more.
For more information about this or any other question, contact Brett Levanto (email@example.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 October:
1st Choice Aerospace, Inc, R03, 2006
Aeronautical Technology, Inc. dba Precision Aero Technology, R03, 1993
Aerospace Turbine Rotables, Inc., R04, 2011
Airborne Maintenance & Engineering Services dba PEMCO World Air Services, R05, 2014
Aircraft Inspection Services, Inc., R01, 2013
Airforce Turbine Service, Ltd., R02, 2010
Airfrance Industries-KLM Engineering & Maintenance, Assoc, 2010
Airgroup Dynamics, Inc., R03, 2007
AOG Aircraft Services Inc., R01, 2018
Aviation Blade Services Inc., R02, 2018
First Aviation Services, Inc., R02, 2018
Camtronics, LLC, R03, 2012
Columbia Helicopters, Inc., R06, 1998
DART Aerospace, R02, 2018
Dassault Falcon Jet do Brazil, R02, 2010
Dassault Falcon Jet – Wilmington Corp., R05, 2002
Empire Airlines, Inc. d/b/a Empire Aerospace, R03, 2002
Engine Disassembly Services, Inc. dba Engine Overhaul Services, R01, 2018
EuroTec Vertical Flight Solutions, LLC, R02, 2004
First Aviation Services, Inc., Assoc, 2018
First Class Air Repair, R02, 2016
Gateway Alliance Co. dba Affinity Aeronautical Solutions, LLC, R01, 2018
Global Parts Aero Services, R01, 2012
Gulf Aerospace, Inc., R02, 2005
HAECO Americas, Corp, 2000
IBM Flight Operations, Assoc, 1997
Intrepid Aerospace, Inc., R02, 2016
Midway Aircraft Instrument Corporation dba Midwest Aerospace, R02, 2004
Midwest Turbine Service, LLC, R01, 2015
MTI Aviation, Inc., R01, 2011
Peter Stonefield, Affil, 2018
Raytheon Technologies Corporation, Corp, 1997
Soniq Aerospace, LP, R01, 2016
Structural Evaluation Technologies Inc. dba SETAero, R02, 2018
Talon Aviation, Inc. dba Talon Air, R01, 2020
Tennessee Aircraft Company, Inc., R01, 2012
Turbines, Inc., R02, 2017
Yuba-Sutter Aviation, R01, 2018
A Member Asked…
Q: My CAAC [Civil Aviation Administration of China] contact told me in April to submit an extension request two weeks prior to the expiration of the CAAC certificate, which is coming up in December. I’ve been having trouble getting back in touch with the contact, so I’m wondering: Does ARSA have any knowledge of CAAC certificate extensions?
A: It appears the CAAC website does contain the information needed to renew “foreign certificates.”
If your company is an “OEM MRO”, see the related policy and submit your renewal application and supporting documents online via the Flight Standard Oversight Program (FSOP) system. Your statement demonstrating status as an “OEM MRO” should explain the relationship/ownership between the manufacturer and the maintenance facility, as well as confirmation that all maintenance work under CCAR145 is served as production support of that company’s products (a statement template can be found by clicking here).
If you are not an “OEM MRO”, you can submit a “special approval” application for extension through the FSOP system about one month before your certificate expires. As supporting documentation, please upload either the maintenance work information provided to Chinese customers in the past year or letter of intent from a Chinese customer. CAAC will provide a six-month extension effective when your status changes to “approved” in the system.
Policy references for CAAC approval of “OEM MROs” can be found at fsop.caac.gov.cn/info145EN.html.
ARSA’s information related to CAAC approvals (as well as the Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness under the U.S.-China Bilateral agreement) can be found at arsa.org/caac.
Member questions should be submitted directly to the association’s team via arsa.org/contact.
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
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 Operations Brett Levanto (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.
For the use of its members and the larger aviation community, ARSA is maintaining this page as a resource for pandemic-related updates on policy initiatives and business needs. It is the association’s central point of communication on the topic
Help combat a bill introduced in the U.S. Congress that would disrupt the global aviation industry.
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.
|Global Airline & Training Simulation
|MRO Middle East Summit & Expo
|ARSA Annual Conference
|AEA International Convention & Trade Show
|New Orleans, LA
|World Aviation Training Summit (23rd)
|Aviation Safety Infoshare
|St. Louis, MO
|EASA-FAA International Aviation Safety Conference
|RAA 45th Annual Convention
|Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE)
|Las Vegas, NV
|Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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