April 2014

the hotline 1984

Table of Contents

Sarah Says
Latest News
ARSA Works
Legal Briefs
ARSA on the Hill
Regulatory Outlook
Quality Time
Regulatory Compliance Training
International News
Upcoming Events

Sarah Says

ARSA’s Working for You

By Sarah MacLeod, Executive Director

It ain’t fast, it ain’t easy but it is one of the best ways to get something done—engage your trade association. ARSA is known for addressing big issues that take years to resolve; case in point—approval of data used to support “major” repairs. The issue was raised by member Erickson Aviation; after the company could not receive an appropriate answer it brought the matter to the association. The industry letter was released in 2004 and a favorable answer was received in 2010. The length of time required to receive the “correct” answer was due to the internal workings of the agency, nuances that would not be known to most certificate holders—in other words, the agency threatened to answer the question several times, but ARSA knew that it would receive the wrong reply…creating even more problems.

Long term issues take time, effort and persistence; short term efforts take a reputation for understanding the regulations, guidance material, politics and the industry—we provide both to our members and the industry to ensure it works for you!

Due to the association’s persistence in ensuring the “correct” answer is provided in the long run, much quicker resolutions are available to members; case in point—“domestic” FAA Form 8130-3s no longer need to state “Domestic Shipment Only” and/or “Not an Export Approval.” The continued insistence of some designees to place those phrases on the FAA Form was brought to the agency’s attention during the ARSA 2014 Annual Repair Symposium on March 20th. A mere 27 days later, a clarifying memorandum was issued on the subject. (Read on for a full discussion of the 8130-3 form clarification.)

The association has accepted several other issues for resolution which will be addressed in the coming weeks. The requirement for “exclusive use” of a hangar by repair stations performing line maintenance, development and use of work instructions, such as travelers, routers and inspection sheets without prior acceptance or approval by the FAA and the ability to place more than one part number on the FAA Form 8130-3.

ARSA also engages the support of other trade associations and allies in identifying and resolving issues. It will be working closely with Aerospace Industries Association, Aircraft Electronics AssociationAirlines for America, Airline Owners and Pilots Association, Airports Council International,  General Aviation Manufacturers Association, International Air Transport Association, Modification and Replacement Parts AssociationNational Air Transport Association, National Business Aircraft Association, Helicopter Association International, Regional Airline Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others, to identify and resolve issues of general import. We do not engage in resolving individual complaints among and between a certificate holder and the agency or a customer; we look for trends that impact the entire industry that must and can be resolved by the regulator. Our vetting process ensures matters of national and international import are handled appropriately; similarly, it ensures the confidentiality of individual complaints and problems without undue exposure to members.

Long term issues take time, effort and persistence; short term efforts take a reputation for understanding the regulations, guidance material, politics and the industry—we provide both to our members and the industry to ensure it works for you!

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Latest News

ARSA Remembers: Edmond Boullay (1943-2014)

On Monday April 14th, Edmond Boullay passed away.

Edmond was a lifelong advocate of the aviation industry and friend of pilots, passengers, and aviators everywhere. He lived a life of humble service and leaves behind a legacy of international cooperation between aviation communities.

Born in Montrichard, France, in 1943, Edmond worked for 13 years with the French MOD Flight Test Center as an experimental test engineer and pilot before being appointed aeronautical engineer at the Office of Armament Attaché at the Embassy of France in Washington D.C. In 1986, he joined the French Ministry of Transportation/Civil Aviation Directorate (DGAC) and created the position of civil aviation attaché and DGAC representative to the FAA. That position he pioneered would later become part of the European Joint Aviation Authority (JAA) in 1994 and ultimately, in 2003, part of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Retiring in 2008, Edmond joined U.S.-CREST as a senior research associate and project director. He held a commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine and IFR ratings.  He also earned the French Médaille de l’Aéronautique, which is awarded to both military personnel and civilians for outstanding accomplishments related to the field of aeronautics.

“We were deeply saddened to learn of Edmond’s passing,” said Marshall S. Filler, ARSA managing director and general counsel, “Through his lifetime of dedication to international aviation collaboration he helped to ensure that millions of fliers can travel the world and arrive safely every day. The international civil aviation community has lost a great friend and ally.”

A memorial service was held on Saturday, April 26th in Bethesda, MD. If you would like to make a contribution in Edmond’s honor, the family has chosen St Jude Children’s Research Hospital ( and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

If you have a message you would like to share with Edmond’s family, you may send them to or to U.S. CREST, 1400 Key Blvd, Suite 420 – Arlington, Virginia 22209.

FAA Seeks Overseas Drug & Alcohol Testing Information – A Legislative History

By Daniel Fisher, Vice President of Legislative Affairs

On March 17, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to collect information to draft regulations regarding controlled substance and alcohol testing of part 145 repair station employees located outside the United States.

This development was initially reported by the ARSA when the FAA announced that it would seek comments to the ANPRM on March 13.

The FAA rulemaking is not a surprise; in fact, it is the direct result of a carefully crafted legislative compromise in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act (P.L. 112-95; enacted, Feb. 14, 2012). Specifically, the law mandates in Sec. 301:

(1)   IN GENERAL.–The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Transportation, acting jointly, shall request the governments of foreign countries that are members of the International Civil Aviation Organization to establish international standards for alcohol and controlled substances testing of persons that perform safety-sensitive maintenance functions on commercial air carrier aircraft.

(2)   APPLICATION TO PART 121 AIRCRAFT WORK.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall promulgate a proposed rule requiring that all part 145 repair station employees responsible for safety sensitive maintenance functions on part 121 air carrier aircraft are subject to an alcohol and controlled substances testing program determined acceptable by the Administrator and consistent with the applicable laws of the country in which the repair station is located (emphasis added).

ARSA steadfastly believes mandating drug and alcohol testing of maintenance providers is unnecessary and burdensome with no flight safety benefit. Unfortunately, for many years, labor unions, opposed to contract maintenance, successfully lobbied the FAA and Congress to mandate onerous requirements on repair stations, including drug and alcohol testing.

Efforts to impose drug and alcohol testing on foreign maintenance providers date back to 2007, when then-House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-Min.) included a broader version of the provision in his House-passed FAA reauthorization bills (H.R. 2881; H.R. 915), which as written would have required specimens be sent back to the United States for testing. Industry and foreign civil aviation authorities (CAAs), such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), fought these efforts, amid the threat of the European Union-United States Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) collapsing. With many proponents adamant that requiring drug and alcohol testing in sovereign countries (despite strict laws prohibiting it) and several other key issues taking precedence, the FAA reauthorization bills were not enacted.

In 2011, when Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller (D-West Va.) and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica drafted their chambers respective FAA reauthorization bills, the lawmakers included a carefully crafted compromise mandating a proposal for alcohol and controlled substance testing of safety-sensitive employees working on part 121 air carrier aircraft consistent with the applicable laws of the country in which the repair station is located. On February 14, 2012, the compromise became law and now the FAA is implementing congressionally mandated provisions.

Several years later, the FAA is attempting to get its arms around the drug and alcohol testing laws in other countries and how to comply with the ill-conceived congressional mandate. In particular, the agency is seeking answers to the following questions:

  • Which drugs are most misused in a particular country? If testing programs exist, are they administered by a national regulatory authority? Are industry participants required to establish such programs under the country’s laws and regulations, or does industry do that voluntarily?
  • Should the program require testing for the same drugs the FAA requires tests for in the United States? At what concentrations should alcohol and drug tests be considered “positive?
  • Does a particular country allow or require random drug and/or alcohol testing? If so, what is the process?
  • If a country does not allow or require random drug and/or alcohol testing, are there laws that prohibit random testing? What other methods might successfully deter employees from misusing drugs or alcohol while performing safety-sensitive duties, or within a certain period of time before performing such duties?  How would such misuse be detected?
  • What are the standards that employees who have violated drug and alcohol regulations should meet before they are allowed to return to performing safety-sensitive maintenance work?

Comments were originally due May 16, but the FAA will be extending the open period until July. Overseas aviation companies should submit comments to the docket. Additionally, foreign governments are strongly advised to provide detailed answers to the aforementioned questions.

ARSA will soon deliver a short data-collection survey to FAA-certificated part 145 repair stations operating outside the United States and Canada. Responses will help ARSA develop meaningful comments to the ANPRM and help the agency better understand drug and alcohol testing practices outside the United States.

The ANPRM should serve as a reminder that excessive regulation begins on Capitol Hill; by the time the aviation maintenance industry mobilized, the best that could be done was to moderate the drug and alcohol testing language. With your help, next time we’ll be prepared to stop Congress’ bad ideas while it’s still a concept, not when it’s already in legislation.

See ARSA’s coverage of the ANPRM:
FAA to Consider D&A Tests for Foreign Repair Stations (March 13, 2014)
ARSA Soliciting Input on D&A Testing ANPRM (April 22, 2014)
ARSA Requests More Time to Investigate Testing Policies (April 24, 2014)
FAA Grants D&A ANPRM Comment Extension (April 30, 2014)

EASA Supplement Revision Now Available

By Crystal Maguire, Vice President of Operations

The first revision for the model European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) supplement is now available. Update your library today.

The supplement is designed for U.S.-based, FAA-certificated repair stations who wish to work on EU-registered aircraft (civil aeronautical components under the regulatory control of EASA) and plan to apply for EASA part 145 approval. The model supplement has been slightly revised to comply with EASA-FAA Maintenance Annex Guidance Change 3 and Change 4 and includes the following changes and additions—

  • Updated URLs to EASA website and revised FAA Form 8130-3
  • Added a renewal process paragraph
  • Added a statement that MAG changes must be implemented within 90 days of the revision publication
  • Enhanced note to user for working away paragraphs and options
  • Revised line maintenance section
  • Re-wrote and organized paragraph on components eligible for installation
  • Added paragraph to address suspected unapproved parts procedure

Companies that purchased the original version may order the revision for free. For first-time buyers, the publication is available at the member price of $300.00, or $600.00 for non-members. To place your order, please visit

EASA Launches Updated Website

By Jairus Nytes, Communications Intern

On Monday, April 14 EASA launched their new and updated website. The new design offers a better user interface and enhanced navigation capabilities. However, some links you may normally use are no longer functional.  To help you navigate their new website please make sure all of your bookmarks are updated. Common links include:

ARSA is constantly working to ensure that our online resources are as current as possible. You can help: if you find an outdated or broken link through one of our resources, let us know:

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ARSA Works

To see all the ways that ARSA is working as the voice of the aviation maintenance industry, visit our ARSA Works page.

Symposium Engagement to FAA Actionthe Form 8130-3 Story

By ARSA Staff

Lee Thomas was given the opportunity to raise an issue affecting his business with FAA regulators and he took it. Lee is a regular attendee of ARSA’s Annual Repair Symposium and saw a chance this year to engage directly during a Q&A session with a team from the Aircraft Certification Service (AIR). His issue, designees were insisting on putting “Domestic Shipment Only” or “Not an Export Approval” on FAA Form 8130-3 for new articles.

Lee represents Dassault Falcon Jet Corp, an ARSA corporate member since 1999. The company had previously been told by some designees the practice was being taught during FAA training even though it is no longer required by regulation or guidance material. The result was unnecessary delays and increased costs when foreign customers subsequently rejected the parts.

[The Annual ARSA Symposium] is the best event that I attend; it brings you in contact with both your peers and regulatory bodies…engaging in meaningful conversation.

When Lee spoke through ARSA, the FAA listened. The agency agreed to issue a memorandum to ensure its personnel (and its designees) do not use unnecessary verbiage or think the language is mandatory. The new guidance is clear: the statements are no longer required anywhere on the form.

The FAA made good on this agreement on April 16th, when it officially clarified the use of the form in question. The memo clearly stated that using “Domestic Shipment Only” or “Not an Export Approval” is not required.

When asked about how he felt about affecting national policy, Lee shared the credit with ARSA, “[The Annual ARSA Symposium] is the best event that I attend; it brings you in contact with both your peers and regulatory bodies…engaging in meaningful conversation.” For Lee, that meaningful conversation led to an effective policy change that will benefit his business and industry.

From a symposium Q&A session to FAA action within a month; engagement through ARSA affects regulatory change and clarification.

See ARSA’s coverage of this story as it developed:
ARSA Works: Symposium Engagement Creates FAA Action (March 27, 2014)
ARSA Works: Engagement Sparks FAA Action (April, 16, 2014)

FAA Clarifies Contested FSDO Policy

By ARSA Staff

On April 7, the FAA responded to a January 17th letter sent by ARSA to the North Texas Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) contesting the requirement that requests for action be submitted in hard copy.

In its response, the FAA agreed that the FSDO manual—which stated that projects were opened upon receipt of hard copy requests—could “easily be misinterpreted and misapplied.” The North Texas FDSO will now amend its documentation to include procedures to process electronic submissions.

View the original post on ARSA’s challenge:
ARSA Contests FSDO Policy (January 21, 2014)

ARSA Files Line Maintenance Housing Requirement CSI

By ARSA Staff

ARSA joined AJETON, Inc. in sending a Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Consistency and Standardization Initiative (CSI) submission regarding housing requirements for repair stations with line maintenance authorization.

The purpose of the FAA CSI program is to ensure the consistent interpretation of agency rules and regulations across the country. ARSA utilizes the resource to help its members resolve regulatory “disagreements” with their local offices. (To view the submission click here, beware the file is large).

In the matter at issue, the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) required the repair station, holding a limited airframe rating and line maintenance authorization, to obtain “exclusive” access to a hangar.

Section 145.103(b) requires a repair station seeking an airframe rating to provide “suitable permanent housing” to enclose the largest aircraft on its operations specifications. (There is no requirement that a repair station provide “exclusive” housing.) Once certificated, the regulations permit a repair station to work “outside” its housing so long as the station provides “suitable” facilities that meet the requirements of § 145.103(a) and enable it to perform the work in accordance with requirements of part 43 (i.e., compliance with proper repair station manual procedures and quality control measures).

The submission recommended that the agency clarify that “suitable permanent housing” in the context of obtaining a line maintenance certification means that the repair station has access to a hangar on an “as needed” basis to enclose the largest aircraft it will work on. In addition, ARSA and AJETON asked the agency to review and align guidance (e.g., Order 8900.1) to standardize requirements for original certification vs. certificate management.

Working with the FAA through a CSI submission is yet another way that ARSA works with you on behalf of the aviation maintenance industry.

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Legal Briefs

ICA: Regulatory Mandates Breed Industry-Imposed Restrictions

By Crystal Maguire, Vice President of Operations

On March 31, 2014 the FAA responded to a Piedmont Propulsion Systems request for interpretation regarding design approval holders (DAH) limiting the use and availability of instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA).

The opinion essentially reaffirmed what we already know: a DAH may not “inappropriately” restrict the use and availability of ICA for “mandatory” maintenance or alteration activities. (See Aug. 9, 2012 FAA Legal Interpretation and March 29, 2012 FAA Policy Statement)

In response to Piedmont’s request for clarification concerning the legitimacy of DAH exclusivity provisions, the Agency reiterated that “the holder of a design approval may not restrict the performance of ‘mandatory’ inspections and repairs to only facilities it specifies.” The FAA went on to “assume” that the maintenance actions at issue were those referenced in the airworthiness limitations (AWL) section of the ICA, “because only that section of ICA is FAA-approved and mandatory.”

The stated assumption illustrates how disconnected the agency is from the reality it’s created.

A quick review of the regulatory obligations—

Title 14 CFR § 21.50(b) directs holders of design approvals to prepare ICA and “make it available” to persons required to comply with the terms of the instructions. Under part 91, owners must ensure the information is followed and recorded; under part 43, maintenance providers must perform and record maintenance in accordance with the information.

Notwithstanding the clear language of § 21.50(b), the FAA has been slow to enforce the DAH’s obligation (see full history at On the other hand, the agency has vigilantly enforced the requirement that those performing maintenance do so in accordance with the ICA (see §§ 43.13, 145.51 and 145.109).

Practically speaking, the legal interpretation is good news [but] reminds us that industry must continue to educate itself and its customers so that it can ensure proper distinctions are made between regulatory mandates and industry-imposed business limitations.

Section 43.16 sets forth the “mandatory” requirement, which states that “inspection or other maintenance specified in an [AWL] section of a manufacturer’s maintenance manual or [ICA] shall perform the inspection or other maintenance in accordance with that section…”

The only “mandate” under the regulation is through actions specified in the AWL section of a CMM or ICA (which the FAA has already stated must be “made available” to a “properly rated repair station with a need to comply”) and/or in an Airworthiness Directives (ADs). The reality is that misunderstandings of regulatory requirements by both industry and government breed industry-imposed restrictions.

For example, a member recently called ARSA seeking clarification on whether Service Bulletins (SBs) containing restrictive statements directing that the maintenance be performed by the DAH or one of its “authorized” companies are also “prohibited”. As is often the case, the company’s customer, following its maintenance inspection program, did not think it could utilize the third-party provider given the SB restriction. The inability to distinguish regulatory mandates (AWL and ADs) from non-regulatory restrictions imposed a self-inflicted limitation on business choices.

Practically speaking, the legal interpretation is good news for maintenance providers since it reaffirms the agency’s previous stance on restrictive agreements that limit the availability or use of ICA. That said, the FAA’s response reminds us that industry must continue to educate itself and its customers so that it can ensure proper distinctions are made between regulatory mandates and industry-imposed business limitations.

See ARSA’s initial coverage of this story:
ICA: FAA Legal Interpretation Addresses DAH Responsibilities (April 9, 2014)

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ARSA on the Hill

By Daniel Fisher, Vice President of Legislative Affairs

In April, ARSA’s legislative team focused on following up on the nearly 40 Capitol Hill meetings that occurred with Legislative Day participants.

With summer quickly approaching, we’ve been reaching out to aviation maintenance companies to host facility visits for lawmakers and candidates.  The legislative team is standing by to assist you. Facility visits are an integral part of ARSA’s political program; it allows policymakers to see firsthand the important role our industry plays in ensuring aviation safety and  the impact repair stations have on the local economy.  Additionally, it showcases your company!  (Please contact the ARSA legislative affairs office for more information about setting up a visit.)

With pivotal mid-term elections slated for November, ARSA has been actively engaging with congressional candidates during visits to Washington.  We are also implementing a PAC strategy that focuses on supporting lawmakers and candidates who have demonstrated leadership on the industry’s top priorities and are poised to shape the next FAA reauthorization process. Is there a candidate we should be supporting?  Let us know!

To learn more about ARSA PAC’s endeavors, you must first provide solicitation consent. Giving consent just allows ARSA to communicate with you about the PAC; it does not obligate you to do anything. Federal election law requires ARSA members to give prior approval before ARSA PAC can provide more details about its political activities.

To give ARSA PAC your consent to be solicited for contributions, please visit

ARSA PAC would like to recognize the following industry leaders who made personal contributions this year to the association’s political program.

2014 ARSA PAC Contributors (as of April 30)

Washington Team ($500)

  • David Albert, Sequa/Chromalloy
  • Marshall Filler, ARSA
  • Gary Fortner, Fortner Engineering
  • Christian A. Klein, ARSA
  • Sarah MacLeod, ARSA

Part 145 Club ($145)

  • Daniel B. Fisher, ARSA
  • Gary Jordan, Jordan Propeller Services, Inc.
  • David Latimer, TIMCO
  • Roger Reynolds, Aircraft Electric Motors, Inc.
  • Jennifer Weinbrecht, Component Repair Technologies, Inc.
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Regulatory Outlook

Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed by contributing authors do not necessarily state or reflect those of ARSA, and shall not be used for endorsement purposes.

Why Our Economy Limps Along

By Andrew Langer, President, The Institute for Liberty, 1250 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 200 Washington, DC 20036 © 2014 Andrew Langer ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

There are countless theories as to why the US economy took a sharp downturn in 2007 and 2008. Between housing bubbles and the run-up in energy prices, American businesses took countless hits. What is clear, however, is that it has taken the United States far longer to recover from this recession than most—if not all—others. This is true despite the best efforts of leaders on all points on the political spectrum. The question becomes “why?”

Despite the president’s efforts, and both major parties having run houses of Congress, leaders seem incapable of doing anything meaningful in terms of jump-starting the economy. They have taken turns at both the Keynesian method of “priming the pump” through government spending as well as the Austrian approach of making targeted, middle-class tax cuts. That neither worked is evident in the fact that our economic growth has been weak at best. The fundamental problem is that few understand just why both approaches failed.

The answer is the little-discussed and even less-understood problem of the impact of regulation on business. While later columns will focus on shifting our focus from one of monetary costs to time-loss burdens as well as a discussion of lost-opportunity costs, we will now focus on just what government-measured costs mean in terms of economic growth.

Rather than continue to add to these burdens, we must be looking at ways to reduce them: engaging in comprehensive regulatory review, removing conflicting or outmoded regulatory regimes, and looking at new ways to simplify and improve compliance.  We can do this without sacrificing American’s health, safety, or general welfare, and the gains that could be produced would be enormous.

Every five years, the federal Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy releases a report on the impact of regulation on the U.S. economy. In 2005, direct regulatory costs on business were concluded to be $1.1 trillion. By 2010, those costs had grown astronomically to $1.75 trillion! For America’s smallest businesses, those with fewer than 20 employees, this means that the cost grew from $7700 per employee…per year…to nearly $11,000 per employee. This is a rise in yearly cost burden of roughly 40% (so much for the myth of an anti-regulatory or de-regulatory Bush Administration!).

Those numbers represent data that concluded in 2008, which means that they are exclusive of new regulatory burdens created by the Obama administration. They also represent a sizable chunk of the American economy, which is roughly $16 trillion in size. Knowing that the Democrats were playing on the myth of an anti-regulatory Bush administration, and given that for the first two years of the Obama administration the Democrats were in full-control of Congress, the administration (and congressional Democrats) immediately set about to “re-regulate” businesses. They advanced new or previously-discarded regulatory initiatives in environmental protection, occupational safety and health, financial services, and a host of other areas where regulatory compliance is the most complicated (and therefore the most expensive).

Though the next SBA report on regulatory costs is not due out for another year, it is safe to assume that current regulatory burdens are somewhere north of $2 trillion (and, in all likelihood, close to $2.5 trillion). Recognizing this, the rest becomes simple math—grade school comparisons of “less than,” “greater than,” or “equal to.”

When talking about stimulus, President Obama and the Democrats were discussing about $600 billion in direct spending as well as paltry tax credits to the tune of about $225 billion. While one can debate the relative merits of each (and I do not support Keynesian economics in the slightest), $750 billion to $850 billion in a combination of infrastructure spending and tax cuts is less than half (or even a third) of the regulatory weight this nation faces.

Even the brilliantly simple concept of giving every American a personal income tax “withholding holiday” (which had the merit of short-circuiting the possibility of cronyism and corruption) is dwarfed by this – personal income tax withholding puts only about $100 billion per month into the treasury. It would take approximately two years of such a holiday for that amount to equal the nation’s regulatory weight.

With this in mind, is it any wonder that the nation continues to hobble along? Any kind of stimulus—whether direct government spending or tax cuts on individuals or companies—is swallowed up by a regulatory environment that costs three, four, ten times as much as the proposed policy itself.

Rather than continue to add to these burdens, we must be looking at ways to reduce them: engaging in comprehensive regulatory review, removing conflicting or outmoded regulatory regimes, and looking at new ways to simplify and improve compliance. We can do this without sacrificing American’s health, safety, or general welfare, and the gains that could be produced would be enormous.

But we ignore these costs at our own peril—if we want to thrive, this is the problem that we must address.

The Institute for Liberty is a Washington, DC-based advocacy organization focusing on the American regulatory state. Andrew Langer has testified before Congress nearly two-dozen times on regulatory issues.

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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.

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Quality Time

Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed by contributing authors do not necessarily state or reflect those of ARSA, and shall not be used for endorsement purposes.

Import Classification Exceptions for Repair Stations

By Jason DicksteinAttorney at Law, 2233 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007. © 2014 Jason Dickstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This is the third in a series of articles discussing import into the United States of aircraft parts. Last month we explained the basics of import classifications of aircraft parts under the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule. This month we will look more closely at the exceptions which drive some aircraft parts to unexpected places in the harmonized tariff code.

National import law applies to goods that enter the customs territory of the United States. Each such part must be classified correctly in order to assess its tariff status. Most aircraft parts will fall within the scope of the Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft, which provides for the duty-free entry of civil aircraft and their parts into signatory nations (including the United States); most commercial airplane parts imported by U.S. repair stations will be described as by harmonized tariff code 8803.30.00.30. However, there are significant exceptions, as is there a significant minority of commercial airplane parts that may not be classified under the “aircraft parts” provisions of this Agreement.

Most exceptions apply to parts. Generally, parts or accessories which are not suitable for use solely or principally with aircraft will not be considered aircraft parts. So a lamp which is used 95% of the time in buildings and 5% of the time in aircraft will not be considered an aircraft part for purposes of import tariff categorization, because its principal use is for non-aviation purposes. In addition the following categories of parts are generally NOT considered to fall under the aircraft parts provisions for import purposes:

  • Joints, washers or the like of any material (classified according to their constituent material or in heading 8484);
  • Articles of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber (articles of heading 4016);
  • Tools (articles of chapter 82);
  • Pictures and mirrors (articles of heading 8306);
  • Most items of nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances, including machine tools and engines, pumps and tools used in nuclear power generation (articles of headings 8401 to 8479);
  • Engines or motor parts consisting of taps, cocks, and valves for pipes or ball or roller bearings (articles of heading 8481 or 8482);
  • Transmission shafts and cranks, bearing housings, housed bearings and plain shaft bearings, gears and gearing, ball or roller screws, and gear boxes (articles of heading 8483);
  • Electrical machinery or equipment (chapter 85);
  • Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments (articles of chapter 90);
  • Clocks and watches (articles of chapter 91);
  • Bombs, missiles ,or other arms (chapter 93);
  • Lamps or lighting fittings (articles of heading 9405); or
  • Brushes of a kind used as parts of vehicles (heading 9603).
  • Parts of general use (wires and cables, chains, tube or pipe fittings, locks, clasps, springs, castors, automatic door-closers, mountings, frames, mirrors, sign plates or other placards, washers, certain fasteners [like nails, tacks, drawing pins, staples, screws, bolts, nuts, coach screws, screw hooks, rivets, cotters, and cotter pins], and closures like buckles or hooks) made from metal (including articles of section XV and certain heading sunder chapters 73 and 83) or plastic (articles of chapter 39);

Note that the descriptions in this writing are altered to make them more understandable to the layman but they ARE NOT the technical language and any questions should be answered from the actual technical language of the tariff code. The chapter, section and heading numbers are for reference only – to facilitate review of appropriate language.

Another exception would apply to foreign parts. Under US regulations (19 CFR 10.183) the duty-free provision applies only to parts manufactured under (1) FAA approval or (2) foreign approval that is recognized by the FAA as equivalent (e.g. under a bilateral agreement).  Thus, parts made under foreign production approval where there is no corollary US approval would not be accorded duty-free treatment into the US because they are not recognized as valid aircraft parts under US regulations. This is unlikely to apply to most US repair station stations but it could apply in certain limited cases (such as where the repair station is doing work on foreign-produced aircraft that do not have a US type certificate).

Finally, the normal aviation provisions do not apply to things that look like aircraft but are not aircraft, like reduced scale models (e.g. radio controlled aircraft or other articles under heading 9503) and “aircraft” carnival rides (articles under heading 9508).

This series is meant to support the ARSA community, so if you have questions, please feel free to email them to us at We would love to have your questions help drive topics for future articles (please be sure to let us know whether you are suggesting topics for future articles or seeking legal advice so that we do not inadvertently treat your inquiry the wrong way!).

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Member Spotlight: NORDAM – Tulsa, OK


Our products must be the benchmark for value to our customers; the services we provide must be the envy of our competitors; our business results must be the standard for everyone else; our safety record must remain exemplary; and, we must be the employer of choice in the communities where we operate. — Ray Siegfried, NORDAM’s Founder

NORDAM was founded in 1969 and has grown to become an acknowledged leader in aircraft component manufacturing and repair. Under the leadership of founder Ray Siegfried, the family company established a reputation as an innovator, developing new technology and repair solutions for business jet, commercial transport, and military aircraft.

Today, the company is recognized worldwide as an industry leader in the manufacture, repair, and overhaul of aircraft bonded-honeycomb and all composite components, fan/thrust reversers, nacelles, engine components, interiors and aircraft transparencies. NORDAM is the largest privately held FAA-approved Repair Station in the world for composite aircraft structures.

We currently enjoy the safest period in the history of commercial aviation and the MRO industry has certainly played its part in helping us get here, ARSA plays a critical role for our industry by filtering out the ‘noise’ and keeping us focused on the thing that matters most—safety.

The company maintains facilities on three continents with a staff of worldwide stakeholders numbering in the thousands. They serve a diverse and impressive customer base including more than 150 commercial carriers; OEMs for commercial, regional, corporate and general aircraft; power plant manufacturers; U.S. and foreign military services; and aircraft maintenance facility operators.

NORDAM is committed to its surrounding communities and local organizations with a spirit of giving that surpasses mere financial support. Each year, company stakeholders provide financial gifts to deserving nonprofit organizations that typically provide quality of life improvements or economic enhancements to their communities.

Company headquarters and primary facilities are located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with other facilities located in California, Mexico, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. NORDAM’s international sales and marketing arm is World Aviation Associates (WAA), its wholly owned affiliate with offices worldwide.

“We currently enjoy the safest period in the history of commercial aviation and the MRO industry has certainly played its part in helping us get here,” said Basil Barimo, executive vice president, Repair Divisions. “ARSA plays a critical role for our industry by filtering out the ‘noise’ and keeping us focused on the thing that matters most—safety.”

NORDAM has been an ARSA member for 30 years, joining in 1984.

For more information, visit

Are you an ARSA member who would like to be in the “Member Spotlight?” If so, please contact Brett Levanto. 

Have You Seen This Person?

Each month, the hotline spotlights key regulatory, legislative, and business leaders making important contributions to the aviation industry. This month we look at Anthony Foxx, the Secretary of Transportation.

Secretary Anthony Foxx, Department of Transportation


As U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Foxx leads an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget that oversees air, maritime, and surface transportation.  His primary goal is to ensure that America maintains the safest, most efficient transportation system in the world.

Foxx joined the U.S. Department of Transportation after serving as the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, from 2009 to 2013.  During that time, he made efficient and innovative transportation investments—including the expansion of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, the sixth busiest in the world—the centerpiece of Charlotte’s job creation and economic recovery efforts. Prior to being elected mayor, Foxx served two terms on the Charlotte City where he helped shepherd the largest transportation bond package in the city’s history as chair of the Transportation Committee.

Foxx is an attorney with a law degree from New York University’s school of law, and has spent much of his career in private practice.  He also worked as a law clerk for the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and staff counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary.

The secretary’s current efforts are fitting with the Have You Seen this Person? theme; because of his recent nationwide tour to promote transportation investment, it’s quite possible you actually have seen him. Even if he doesn’t stop by your town, you can see him on twitter anytime by following @SecretaryFoxx or by visiting his “Fast Lane” blog.

Take Advantage of ARSA’s Members Getting Members Program, Get 10% Off on Membership Dues

The best form of advertising is word of mouth. Use the Members Getting Members Toolkit to recruit an ARSA member and your company will receive a discounted membership rate for your next membership term. Get more information at

Target Your Message: Advertise Today in ARSA’s Newsletters and Website!

ARSA recently updated its menu of advertising opportunities for, 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

Exhibit, Sponsor the 2015 Repair Symposium

As the maintenance industry’s top event devoted exclusively to regulatory compliance, the ARSA Symposium attracts a highly qualified professional audience. Use this opportunity to promote your company while showing support for ARSA. Get more information at

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A Member Asked…

Q: Is a DER signed FAA Form 8110-3 considered approved data upon receipt?

As with any regulatory question, the answer is “it depends”—the guidance developed by ARSA on the subject of repair development can be found here; this document was never adopted by the FAA but still contains guidance on the development of methods, techniques and practices acceptable to the FAA under 14 CFR § 43.13.

The agency has guidance on the extent and nature of the FSDO’s involvement here and here (in its Flight Standards Information Management System).

Finally, when an alternative repair is used in conjunction with the Component Maintenance Manual (CMM) procedures, transitional documents “should” be developed to ensure technicians use the proper method, techniques and practices and/or alternative tools and equipment in the appropriate places. We have a note on this in the ARSA model forms manual—available free to members—when developing alternative parts, materials, or equipment.

So, now the answer to the question—

The repair specification should contain the methods, techniques and practices that will replace or be used in conjunction with the manufacturer’s recommendations. The “approved data” is the engineering information showing that the end result (after the alternative repair has been accomplished) returned the article to at least its original (or properly altered) condition.

So, if an engineering analysis of the end result establishes compliance with all applicable certification regulations, that is, a complete evaluation was accomplished properly and the right DER found compliance with all the right regulations, the approval is good. Remember, just because “a DER” “signed” the FAA Form 8110-3 does not mean (a) it had the authority to do so (b) it had all the right authorities to do so and (c) there is not more to do.

Check Out ARSA’s Library of Recorded Webinars and Online Training Classes

ARSA is pleased to announce that recorded online training classes and webinars are now available for member purchase. Check back often as courses will be continually added. Read more at

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Regulatory Compliance Training

Test your knowledge on § 145.151 ratings.

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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 Industry Roundup

ARSA monitors media coverage on aviation maintenance to spread the word about the valuable role repair stations play in their communities by providing jobs and economic opportunities and in civic engagement. These are some of this month’s top stories highlighting the industry’s contributions.

Aerospace manufacturing takes off in South (USA Today)

Congratulations Team Boeing! (Aviation Pros)

Aircraft Maintenance Company Says Work to Land at Hernando Airport has Been Worth the Effort (Tampa Bay Times)

Arlington aviation mechanic wins state award (North County Outlook)

All Female Team of Aviation Mechanics at South Seattle College Wins National Competition (West Seattle Herald)

Lufthansa Technik to Create New MRO Facility in Puerto Rico (ATW Online)

Maine’s aviation businesses are taking off as demand for services grows (Sun Journal)

PATS Aircraft Systems lands FAA Diamond Award for fourth consecutive year (Delaware Newszap)

MROs Off To Strong Start In 2014 (Aviation Week)

Lawmaker Urges TESDA, Colleges to Offer More Aviation Courses (GMA Network)

Aviation Certifications: Big Payoff for Learning Technical Job Skills (Marine Corps Times)

Airline Courses Beckon, HS Grads Advised (Manila Standard)

Crystal Ball Time: Projections for the Aviation Industry (AVM – Magazine)

AAR Secures Contract with Aeromexico to Perform Heavy Maintenance (Aviation Pros)

FAA Seeks Overseas Drug & Alcohol Testing Information (Aviation Pros)

Columbia Helicopters Diamond Award (Aviation Pros)

Aeroturbine Expands its Aircraft Maintenance Facility (Aviatime)

New Focus For North American MROs: Innovation (Aviation Week)

TAE Move to Create Australia’s Most Capable Component Repair Facility (Aviatime)

Aircraft Dismantling Market to Rise to $80 Million in 2014 (Aviation Pros)

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International News

FL Technics Training joins European Aviation Maintenance Training Committee

FL Technics, a global provider of aviation technical training services, is delighted to announce its acceptance to become a member of the European Aviation Maintenance Training Committee (EAMTC). By joining the EAMTC the company has expressed its commitment towards supporting the organization on its mission to promote European aviation safety standards through training both regionally and globally.

EAMTC is a Netherlands-based non-profit association which comprises various aviation maintenance training organizations from Europe and other regions across the world. It is the only organization of the kind in the Old Continent, and the only non-US association of aviation maintenance training organizations in the world. Being a member of EAMTC, FL Technics Training will use the opportunity to contribute and share its technical training experience while taking part in various workshops, round tables and other expert discussions hosted by the organization.

Read more…

International Roundup

To provide more international coverage, ARSA presents a monthly roundup of world events pertaining to the industry.

AON Boss Urges Nigeria to Invest in Aircraft Maintenance Facility (Business Day)

Slow EASA Approval of Robinson R66 Sparks Trade Talk (AIN Online)

MEPs Back Deal to Change ETS Rules for Aviation (European Voice)

HAECO ITM & THAI Embark on an Aircraft Component Repair Collaboration (Traders)

Local Aviation Company Capitalizing on European Air Safety Rule (ABC)

China To Launch Crackdown on Unlicensed Repair Stations (AIN Online)

Russian Rotorcraft Fleet Development to Shift Demand for MRO Support (Aviatime)

ExecuJet Prepares To Open Beijing MRO Base (AIN Online)

Pelesys Aviation Maintenance Training Obtains EASA MTO Approval (Aviation Pros)

AirAsia Moves To Automate Spares Management (Aviation Week)

Flynas & Nas Tech Launches Aircraft Engineering Maintenance Training for Saudi Youth (Arab Brains)

Ameco Adds More Line Work (ATW)

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Upcoming Events

AP&M 2014 (Sarah MacLeod presenting) – London, U.K. – May 6-8, 2014

Previous issues:

2014: Jan Feb Mar
2013: Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July
Aug Sept Oct. Nov Dec.
2012: Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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