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ARSA on the Hill
Regulatory Compliance Training
AVMRO News Portal
Sarah Says – Lights. Camera. Aviation!
By Sarah MacLeod, Executive Director
We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring aviation maintenance to a screen very near you…
Coming Soon: ARSA’s in the director’s chair. You’re the producer.
For over 100 years, aviation has captured the world’s imagination and inspired many to soar higher and faster in search of adventure and service of mankind. It’s a great drama with many great actors – from the pilot’s seat to the mechanic’s work station to the passenger cabin. Telling that story is central to ARSA’s mission.
Commercial Break: What is an Aircraft Mechanic?
A key way we communicate this narrative is through constant engagement with regulators. Our team of experts from the law firm of Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein PLC works every day to manage the intersection of business and government. They write letters, attend meetings, make phone calls, provide advice and wear a path around Washington, D.C. and across the world to represent ARSA’s members.
Commercial Break: Beauty over the North Atlantic.
Working behind the scenes is powerful, but setting the scene for the public through media relations and positive publicity is essential. Filmmakers have taken to the skies for years, trying to capture and package the majesty of flight for audiences stuck on the ground. The catalogue of aeronautical motion pictures – from sensationalized feature films to sober documentaries – has covered nearly every corner of the flying world. While repair stations have made it to the screen, the industry still needs a central, seminal work that will tell the world who we are.
Commercial Break: Aircraft Mechanic Training.
The association has been working for months with a professional production company to develop a short documentary about the aviation maintenance industry. It will be the definitive profile of the industry for years to come. The piece will run on public television stations around the country as part of the Leading Edge series, which is hosted by former NFL coach and TV sports commentator Jimmy Johnson. The broadcasts will be a great way to get your message in front of an educated and influential audience.
Commercial Break: Aviation – The Invisible Highway.
But more importantly, the video will be a tool for you. The association will distribute it to members all over the world, who will use it to paint a picture of a dynamic, growing, technologically-sophisticated industry that is improving aviation safety and making major contributions to the global economy. Join this work by sponsoring the project and displaying your logo prominently at the end of the film. Your company will get visibility and recognition as an industry leader around the world for years to come.
Commercial Break: The FAA Talks Maintenance.
Through the examples in this piece, you’ve seen a small sampling of the industry’s catalogue of works. With your support, ARSA can produce one definitive work to show the world who you are and how vital aviation maintenance is to their lives and livelihoods. They can’t fly without you. Become a participating sponsor and be celebrated every time the credits roll.
Credits: Help ARSA tell your story.
Take Action: Recognize Outstanding Aviation Professionals
By ARSA Communications Staff
Nominations are open for the General Aviation (GA) Awards Program. Help an outstanding colleague gain the recognition they richly deserve. Download a nomination form at www.generalaviationawards.com/nominations, complete and submit it to your local FSDO office by September 30.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and industry sponsors began the GA Awards Program in 1963 to recognize outstanding Aviation Maintenance Technicians. Each year, the program recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to aviation safety, education and professionalism at local, regional, and national levels. “These awards highlight the important role played by these individuals in promoting aviation education and flight safety,” said JoAnn Hill, National GA Awards Committee co-chair. “The awards program sponsors and supporters are pleased that these outstanding aviation professionals are receiving the recognition they so richly deserve.”
On March 16, 2014 the program announced the recipients of the 2014 national awards, including Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year Max Lloyd Burnette of Rockvale, Tenn. (featured in the July hotline).
The annual GA Awards nomination and judging process takes place over a nine-month period. All nominees must have worked in their respective fields for at least five years and hold valid FAA airman certificates, if required. Aviation Maintenance Technician candidates must be actively working within the United States under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 65. After the FSDOs choose local winners, FAA Regional Offices select regional recipients from the local winner pools. Finally, panels comprised of previous national winners choose the national recipients. The national award winners are announced in early March and formally recognized at Experimental Aircraft Association Airventure in Oshkosh, Wis., in July.
The general timeline for the GA Awards nomination and selection process is as follows:
- 7/1–9/30: Nomination packets accepted at FAA FSDOs
- 10/1–11/14: FSDO judges select local winners
- 11/15: Local winners announced
- 11/16–12/31: FAA Regional Office judges select regional winners
- 1/1: Regional winners announced
- 1/2–2/28: Industry peer judges select national winners
- 3/1: National winners announced
To learn more about the General Aviation Awards Program, visit www.generalaviationawards.com.
If you submit a nomination, let ARSA know.
Getting ARSA Off the Hill – Murphy to Chromalloy’s HQ and Center of Excellence
By Daniel Fisher, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
On Aug. 4, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) received a firsthand look at Chromalloy’s headquarters and Engineering Center of Excellence in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Murphy, a member of the House Financial Services and House Small Business Committees, learned about the aviation maintenance industry’s economic footprint in his congressional district and the need for lawmakers to refrain from micromanaging job creating companies in the sector.
“Congressman Murphy’s visit to Chromalloy’s headquarters and Engineering Center of Excellence was important to introduce a new member of Congress to our company, the industry, and ARSA,” said Albert. “Oftentimes, representatives don’t even realize that they have an aviation maintenance facility in their district. The industry’s doors should always be open to elected officials so they can listen and learn.”
ARSA works to help you engage current lawmakers while educating future ones.
Extension Granted: Aviation Maintenance Profession Advisory Circular
By ARSA Communications Staff
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is soliciting industry input on draft Advisory Circular (AC) 65-30B entitled “Overview of the Aviation Maintenance Profession.” In response to ARSA’s Aug. 26 request, the FAA has granted a 90-day extension. The new deadline to comment on the draft AC is December 10, 2014.
The draft AC provides information and statistics regarding careers in aviation maintenance, including employer prospects, industry outlooks, certification requirements and application procedures. The draft revises military occupation codes for those wishing to credit military aviation maintenance experience towards FAA mechanic certification.
While industry applauds the agency for initiating the change, the draft leaves much room for improvement. Woefully missing from the update are many present-day realities and resources that have come into existence since the AC’s original publication in 2001.
The comment period was originally set to close on September 10. ARSA joined the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) in requesting an extension for comment along with numerous industry groups.
Comment on the draft AC through utilization of the comment template or by sending your comments to staff for inclusion in the association’s submission.
ARSA is a Responsible Adult! Help Celebrate the Association’s 30th Birthday!
By Kelsi Oliver, Communications Coordinator
ARSA is 30 years old – seasoned and experienced – and can live long and prosper with great, active members like you. After all, once you’re over the hill, you pick up speed.
Wish ARSA happy birthday by sharing your memories and spreading a little aviation maintenance love. Looking back over the years, is there anything special you’d like to share? When was the association most valuable to you? What was the situation? How did we help?
We’d love to hear your stories whether you’ve been with us since the beginning or have just come around. The ultimate birthday gift is interacting with members to make the aviation industry a safer place.
Please submit photos, videos, animated birthday eCards, engraved jewelry, whatever, by Friday, September 19. We will use the submissions to create a special birthday message for upcoming association events.
Aviation Workforce: Filling Jobs is a Big Job
By Brett Levanto, Director of Operations
Maintaining a world-class workforce is an everyday challenge for ARSA’s members. Repair stations invest heavily in finding the right people, with the right skills and certifications and keeping them current on regulatory and technical issues.
Unfortunately, the numbers say that even more trials lay ahead. As highlighted in a recent article by Dr. Tara Harl in Aviation Maintenance Technology Magazine, the Department of Employment and Economic Development projects that the aviation industry will have more than 1 million job openings in the next 10 years worldwide. Looming retirements, changing demographics and the lure of other industries will make recruiting and training more difficult – and more important – than ever. “Fundamentally, this means, there will not be enough well-qualified, trained and certified personnel to meet the needs of current and retiring personnel replacements,” Harl said.
There are people who want to work; the challenge is turning them from just “people” into a “qualified, technically trained and government certificated work force.” This takes time, effort and resources from both businesses and job seekers. In the educational world, there are groups dedicated to growing the aviation maintenance workforce and venues to put it on display. The Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) is a partnership of more than 150 FAA-certificated training schools across the country. The council’s mission is to help its members get skilled workers out of the classroom and onto the maintenance line. The Aerospace Maintenance Competition pits teams of technicians, engineers and students in a test of their combined abilities; “a stage to highlight the knowledge, skill and integrity that is the foundation of today’s and tomorrow’s AMTs and AMEs.”
Businesses must take an active role in building the aviation maintenance workforce. Potential and current employees need to continually invest in skills and capabilities. In addition to powering the industry growth projected by the models and forecasts, the product is a fulfilling career, a healthy industry and safety in the air — no matter the form of the aircraft.
The Perfect Storm of Aviation Work Force Issues (AviationPros, 8/5/2014)
Growing People off the Spreadsheet (AviationPros, 8/8/2014)
Aviation Maintenance Careers: We Can’t Fly Without You
Aviation Resources: Government-Provided Training
By ARSA Communications Staff
ARSA staff members frequently search for resources, guides and tools that might be useful for our members as they work to ensure global aviation safety.
We know ARSA’s training center is your first stop for regulatory compliance, business development, and operations knowledge. However, government agencies across the world provide training and educational resources that can help your business manage international regulatory burdens and thrive in the global marketplace.
To explore what is out there, visit ARSA’s resources page.
Return to Top of Page
To see all the ways that ARSA is working as the voice of the aviation maintenance industry, visit our ARSA Works page.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Freedom of Information Act Request
ARSA is always looking to expand its members’ business opportunities. While no one is certain how the FAA will regulate the design, production, operation and maintenance of unmanned aircraft systems, there is no doubt the agency considers them aircraft. In order to occupy certain airspace, it seems that regulators will establish rules for all normal elements of aircraft design, construction, operation (including pilots) and repairs or alterations.
To that end, the association has kept abreast of regulatory developments, including reviewing exemptions, certificates of waiver and authorization (COA) and recently issued FAA guidance. This month ARSA submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the FAA, seeking copies of recently-issued COAs issued primarily to public UAS operators. The FAA web site has many such documents available for downloading; however, these were issued prior to 2012 and some of the conditions and limitations have changed to reflect current agency thinking.
By Laura Vleig, Law Clerk
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a final rule amending 14 Code of Federal Regulations part 145. The rule’s effective date is November 10, 2014.
To facilitate ARSA’s analysis of the part 145 amendments, and provide an educational tool for our members, changes to the current rule are provided in red-lined format at http://arsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ARSA-Part145TrackedChanges-20140818.pdf.
The agency changed the rule considerably since the original notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), to which ARSA submitted comments in 2012.
The final rule attempts to remove “bad actors” from managing a repair station by changing the application process, tracking persons who were previously connected to certificates that were revoked and providing those persons with due process. It also eliminates the voluntary surrender of repair station certificates; if an investigation is open, a repair station cannot surrender its certificate without the agency’s permission.
The rule’s revised language also adds the words “or new” to section 145.57 regarding transfer of a repair station’s assets. This addition might seem innocuous, but it could cause operational problems. There is no explanation as to when a new owner of the assets would have to apply for an amended versus a new certificate. The length of the latter process is problematic and could create unnecessary delays in commerce.
Hotline Throwback – Ten Rules for Good Media Relations
Properly engaging the media requires the careful management of relationships. By knowing who reporters are, what they need, and how you can work with them, you will be able to ensure your office is always a part of the story. Once you are in contact with a reporter, how do you ensure the most valuable use of each other’s’ time?
Keep in mind that the media are not generally considered an actual target “public” for purposes of public relations. Instead, think of the media as a critical vehicle for communicating your messages to the key publics whose behavior is critical to the success of your organization: customers, regulators, lawmakers, etc. This article is a map to help you keep that vehicle traveling in the right direction.
Many of my media relations rules probably sound to you like common sense. In fact, they are. Reporters are people too and they like to be treated courteously. In most cases, treating journalists as though they were your best customer is a great way to start.
Rule 1: Get to know the media . . . and help them get to know you. Once you’ve identified the reporters who cover your industry (see last month’s hotline media article), get to know them. If you see a story in a national media outlet dealing with contract aviation maintenance, consider contacting the author and introducing yourself. Let them know what you thought of the story. If they were wrong about something, let them know that too (politely!). Offer yourself as a source if they have questions about the industry in the future. This is particularly important given that many reporters have “beats”, or subject areas about which they write on a regular basis. For local reporters who cover transportation or business issues, offer to come to their office or to meet them for a cup of coffee to introduce yourself, your company, and your industry. You might also consider inviting them to your facility for a tour. The important thing is that you develop a positive relationship so that they come to think of you as a credible source.
Rule 2: Ask: Is it the right story for the right reporter? Before contacting a reporter, get to know what subjects they usually write about. Reading some of the past stories the reporter has written is almost mandatory if you want to develop a professional relationship with them. Nothing frustrates a journalist more than being contacted about a story that has nothing to do with the issues they usually cover. Not only are you wasting the reporter’s time, but it also tells them that you haven’t done your homework.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t contact the business reporter at your local paper to pitch a story about your company just because they haven’t written about you before, but don’t call the reporter who covers political issues in the state capital or covers the local cultural scene unless there’s a clear link to your story.
Rule 3: Be mindful of journalistic ethics. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t offer money or anything else of value to a reporter in exchange for publicity. However, you should also be aware of more subtle things that might offend a reporter’s ethics. Some newspapers have policies that would prevent their reporters from even allowing you to buy them a cup of coffee, let alone a full meal. When in doubt, ask the reporter what the rules are at the media outlet they work for. Generally, they’ll be impressed that you knew enough to do so.
Rule 4: Ask: Is it news or isn’t it? Like the rest of us, reporters and editors are busy people. Before you contact them, ask yourself whether what you’re calling about is really news. Is it the kind of story that would only be of interest to company employees or does it have relevance to the newspaper’s readers or the television station’s audience? Sometimes the difference is in how you “spin” the story. Telling a local newspaper reporter that you’ve gotten a new contract usually isn’t news; telling them that you’ve gotten a new contact that’s going to cause you to add 100 employees and undertake major facility expansion probably is.
Rule 5: Telephone etiquette is critical. Reporters live in a world of deadlines. If a reporter contacts you looking for information, get back in touch as quickly as possible. This rule applies even if you can’t or don’t want to answer the reporter’s question. The fact that you’ve taken the time to get back in touch quickly paves the way for future cooperation. If you’re initiating contact, keep in mind that newspaper reporters working on regular deadlines usually have to hand in their stories in the early evening. That means late afternoon is the worst time to call. It’s generally accepted that the best time to get in touch with a newspaper reporter (unless you’re returning a call from them) is between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., when the news day is just getting started. Knowing when to call could be the difference between having a meaningful conversation and getting a polite brush-off.
Rule 6: Develop your messages ahead of time and stick to them. It’s a mistake to shoot from the hip when dealing with reporters. Chances are that they’ve carefully thought out what they want to ask you. You should just as carefully plan what you want to tell them (We’ll talk about how to develop messages in a future article.) During interviews and press conferences, be as responsive as possible, but keep control of the message. Whenever possible, integrate your messages and themes into your response, particularly when a reporter throws you a difficult or unfair question.
Rule 7: There’s no such thing as “off the record.” As a general rule, you should never say anything to a reporter that you wouldn’t want to see in print. Some reporters will respect your wish that certain things be considered background or that statements not be attributed to you, but others won’t. Also, different reporters define “on background” and “off the record” differently. Finally, even with reporters you trust, there’s always the risk that they’ll get confused about what was on the record and what wasn’t. Assuming that everything you say is on the record will help avoid unpleasant surprises when the story is published.
Rule 8: Never say “no comment”. What’s the first thing you think where you hear “No comment” in response to a reporter’s question? You probably assume that the person refusing to comment is guilty as sin or at least hiding something. Avoid saying, “No comment” at all costs. If you don’t want to provide an answer to a reporter’s question, say something like, “I’m sorry; I don’t have anything for you on that.” It’s a much more neutral response.
Rule 9: Be an equal in the relationship. In the best case scenario, both you and the reporter have something that the other wants. You have information that they need to produce their product (i.e., the story) and they have the ability to help you get your message out. Keep the idea of equality in mind.
When a reporter calls, don’t feel that you have to submit to an interview and answer their questions right away. Ask them a few questions first: What’s the story about? What information are they looking for? What’s their deadline? Tell them you’ll give them a call back in half an hour. Use that time to get your thoughts straight and to think about what messages you want to convey. Then, call the reporter back at the time you promised. When you treat them professionally, they’ll likely treat you the same way.
Rule 10: Have a designated point of contact for media inquiries in your company. Public relations (of which media relations is a sub-segment) is about controlling the messages your target publics receive about you. Nothing undermines that goal more than having multiple people at your company conveying different messages to the same reporter. The best practice is to make a single person in your organization responsible for media relations. All inquiries from reporters should be immediately channeled to that person. Employees who answer phones should be trained to be as helpful as possible to reporters. Make sure that your employees know to get basic information, such as what media outlet the reporter works for, what the story’s about, and what the deadline is. Also be sure employees know to assist reporters with your company Web site and offer to send your press materials. However, make sure your people also understand not to answer any but the most basic questions for a reporter. That’s a job best left to your media relations director, who can also coordinate message development, develop and maintain your company’s crisis communications plans and train senior company personnel in how to conduct interviews.
Adventures in Rulemaking
By Laura Vlieg, Law Clerk
On August 12, 2014 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule amending 14 Code of Federal Regulations part 145, effective November 10, 2014. As reported in recent ARSA publications, the FAA essentially gutted the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to which ARSA submitted comments in 2012.
The agency has given up on the renumbering and the ratings systems proposed by the NPRM, choosing instead to focus on getting rid of bad actors. It also made changes to the existing rule without providing notice or an opportunity to comment, instead it considers these latter changes insignificant.
Adopted changes anticipated by the NPRM
The adopted changes that were contemplated by the NPRM, discussed in the preamble, focus on bad actors— those individuals whose actions allegedly result in the revocation of a certificate. One such change is the addition of § 145.12 which makes fraudulently or intentionally submitting false entries or omissions in applications, records, or reports a basis for suspension or revocation of “any certificate, approval, or authorization the FAA issued to the person who made the entry or caused the omission.”
Another change along those same lines is found in § 145.51, under which the FAA may deny a repair station certificate in three circumstances: (1) where the applicant held or holds a repair station certificate that was or is being revoked, (2) where the applicant intends to fill a management position with an individual who materially contributed to the revocation of a repair station certificate, and (3) where an individual who materially contributed to the revocation of a repair station certificate will have control over or substantial ownership interest in the applicant.
Those revisions also provide due process to the individual through procedures in § 13.20, which provides a bad actor with notice, and the right to request a hearing.
In addition to ferreting out bad actors, however, the final rule presents a troubling new provision: § 145.55 now requires the FAA to grant permission to a repair station “surrendering” its certificate. Maintaining a certificate is expensive, yet, under the new rule the agency has discretion to deny surrender even where a business cannot sustain the financial burden of keeping a certificate.
In the preamble to the final rule, the FAA justifies the acceptance of surrender by stating that once a certificate is surrendered there is nothing to take action against, and the investigation stops. This is simply untrue; simultaneously with the part 145 changes, the FAA amended part 13 to include the opportunity for a person who receives a “bad actor” notice to participate in an informal conference with an FAA attorney prior to the FAA issuing an order.
Clearly, there are procedures in place for the FAA to investigate and take enforcement action against individual bad actors. It is unacceptable for the agency to punish businesses by refusing to accept a voluntary surrender.
Adopted changes not anticipated by the NPRM
Two additional changes were made that were not contemplated by the NPRM, which the FAA passes off as insignificant. First, the words “or new” were added to § 145.57(b) regarding the sale of repair station assets. Second, the word “serious” was removed from § 145.221. ARSA contends that these changes are incredibly significant.
As to the first, the FAA barely addresses the change, stating only that “[t]he revision clarifies that a new owner will need to apply for a new certificate only if the new owner chooses to operate as a repair station.” Yet the actual language of § 145.57(b) states: “If the holder of a repair station certificate sells or transfers its assets and the new owner chooses to operate as a repair station, the new owner must apply for an amended or new certificate in accordance with § 145.51.”
In today’s environment the difference between an application for an amended versus a new certificate is significant. The FAA has a waiting time of up to 2 years for a new certificate. While ARSA appreciates that a certificate cannot be transferred, amendment of the certificate takes fewer resources for both the agency and industry. Thus, the words “or new” should be removed from § 145.57(b), eliminating unnecessary confusion, and making it clear that amendment of the certificate is required.
Second, ARSA has serious problems with the removal of that word from § 145.221. Even as it stands, complying with this section is difficult. By removing the word “serious,” repair stations are effectively required to report everything that comes through the door. If an article did not have a failure, malfunction, or defect, it would not need work. Requiring a repair station to report “any failure, malfunction, or defect” is both unrealistic and a complete waste of resources.
The FAA states in the preamble to the final rule that the word “serious” was removed through notice-and-comment rulemaking in 2001, and that it was “inadvertently inserted” by a separate final rule entitled “Service Difficulty Reports” (65 FR 56192). This is blatantly untrue. The effect of removing the word “serious” was contemplated by notice-and-comment rulemaking in 2003 (“Service Difficulty Reporting”, 68 FR 75380), and was ultimately reinserted based on industry comments. In fact, that final rule preamble stated the reasoning for reinserting “serious”:
FAA agrees with the repair station industry concerning the word “serious”. It was not the agency’s intent to require repair stations to report “any” failure, malfunction, or defect. […] Again, it was not FAA’s intent to require repair stations to report all failures, malfunctions, and defects. Repair stations are required to report only serious failures, malfunctions, and defects. Therefore, FAA is reinserting the word “serious” before the word “failure” in § 145.211(a).
Unmistakably, the FAA intended to reinsert the word, and it was NOT, as the agency now claims, “inadvertently inserted.”
There are two instances in which a final rule may differ from the NPRM without violating the notice-and-comment requirements: (1) where the agency has “good cause” to find that notice-and-comment would be “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest,” or (2) where the final rule is a “logical outgrowth” of the proposed rule, which means that the public should have anticipated that the change was possible.
Neither of these exceptions apply to the addition of the words “or new” to § 145.57(b), nor the removal of the word “serious” from § 145.221. Contrary to the FAA’s assertion, these changes are definitely significant, and merit the opportunity for public comment.
ARSA on the Hill
Public relations and communications has never been more integral to driving favorable policy outcomes.
Despite ARSA’s best efforts, the agenda on Capitol Hill is driven not by good public policy, but by politics and perception. The aviation maintenance industry experiences this unfortunate reality time and time again. A media report, oftentimes repeating false safety or economic arguments about contract maintenance, results in a congressional hearing. The congressional inquiry becomes legislation that becomes law and results in unnecessary and burdensome regulations.
Frankly, until recent times, industry was getting demolished in the public relations battle; the proposals out of federal agencies and Congress prove it. While the tide is turning, the industry has a ways to go. ARSA continues to ramp up its public relations effort to ensure negative media reports are rebutted with facts and lawmakers understand the truth about contract maintenance. However, we can’t do it alone.
Industry engagement is key and ARSA members can participate without much effort. Read a story in your local paper about aviation maintenance? Submit a short letter to the editor on the topic. Get a call from a reporter trying to learn more about the industry? Invite them to your facility for a tour. Hear a radio program perpetuating false points of view about the industry? Call the program and cite ARSA’s economic data to detail repair stations’ economic impact and job growth.
ARSA’s team is standing by to help you engage with media. Remember, public relations drives policy outcomes. And we need to make sure legislation is drafted based on facts, not on untruthful perceptions.
Regulators Must Hear Your Voice
By Andrew Langer, President, Institute for Liberty © 2014 Andrew Langer ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Over the last several articles on the regulatory state we’ve discussed the economic impact of regulations on the American economy, from various forms of assessing impact to different potential metrics. In future articles we will discuss some potential solutions, but in keeping with the theme of communications this month, we thought it best to discuss the importance– the necessity– of ensuring that your business’ regulators are aware of your opinions as they develop new rules or rule changes.
One of the benefits of a deliberative regulatory process, such as that administered in the United States under the auspices of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), is that it affords the opportunity for anyone to offer comment on agency proposals. Despite criticisms of the APA (and the regulatory process generally) as potentially leading to “paralysis by analysis,” the APA exists, at its core, to protect the rights and interests of the regulated community. It is a manifestation of the Constitution’s basic existential precept of dividing and diffusing power so as not to overly burden or harm any group “as
For the purposes of this article, let’s set asside the lengths that agencies (and the Executive Branch generally) go to try and avoid the requirements of the APA (through guidance documents, opinion letters, and increasingly these days, Executive Orders). The “notice and comment” process by which new regulations are created, and existing regulations are changed affords stakeholders (i.e., you) the exceptional opportunity to mold the regulatory process.
Input from the regulated community is invaluable and essential. It not only prevents an agenda-driven (and in many cases tremendously uninformed) so-called “special interest” segment from driving the regulatory agenda, but it gives a largely detached-from-reality bureaucracy a clear picture of what life is like for those actually in an industry.
Generally speaking, those in career civil service have not spent a great deal of time in private-sector entities, so their perception of for-profit realities may be skewed. A number of initiatives have been suggested to help civil servants “walk a mile” in the shoes of regulated stakeholders, but few have borne fruit.
Therefore, we still rely on comments submitted by regulated entities to ensure that regulatory proposals are grounded in reality. It is important that, if you see something in a proposed rule or proposed change that makes little sense, that you speak up. You simply cannot rely on someone else to catch that misconception and speak up because, despite the fact that we live in a nation of hundreds of millions, you may very well be the only person who has caught that error—or who is willing to say something about it.
In a room full of stakeholder lobbyists, there may only be one person (if that) who is willing to say that a proposal is not only misguided or error-filled, but patently stupid. In a “docket” full of comments, yours may be the only one that catches that particular error that can devastate an industry, if left not commented upon.
One example I like to use took place within an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rulemaking on off-road diesel engines (i.e., farm equipment). The EPA was proposing a mandate that all such tractors and combines be retrofitted with a piece of emissions control technology.
Obviously, this would have come at tremendous cost, and many comments echoed that particular data point. But one comment in particular changed everything. It was from a farmer, someone incredibly well-versed in the maintenance and use of these off-road diesel engines. The comment pointed out something that nobody else had: that the proposed mandatory control technology simply wouldn’t fit under the engine cowlings of these pieces of farming equipment. That it wasn’t a simple matter of the cost of these emissions-control devices or their installation, but the cost of developing and distributing and installing the new cowlings (and the impact that this would have on a whole host of ancillary factors). Thus, EPA had to go back to the drawing board (literally), due to one comment from a real person who would have had to implement this rule in the real world.
For all substantive comments, agencies are required to respond – either to explain how they have changed the rule in response to those substantive comments, or why they chose not to. If they fail to respond, or fail to adequately address these substantive concerns, then that gives the entities commenting the standing to challenge the final rules in court.
Most importantly, if you failed to comment on the rule as it was being proposed, then this generally nullifies your ability to have standing, and your challenge is dismissed. Courts tend to require your prior participation in the rulemaking process.
So if you want rules that make sense, or you want the ability to challenge bad rules, it is incumbent upon you to communicate your concerns with the agencies– throughout the process.
Andrew Langer is the President of the Institute for Liberty, a Washington, DC-based advocacy organization focusing on the American regulatory state. He has testified before Congress nearly two dozen times on regulatory issues.
Final Documents/Your Two Cents
This list includes Federal Register publications, such as final rules, Advisory Circulars, and policy statements, as well as proposed rules and policies of interest to ARSA members. To view the list, click here.
Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed by contributing authors do not necessarily state or reflect those of ARSA and shall not be used for endorsement purposes.
Legal Waypoints – Website Content Not Mere Puffery – Case Study
By Steven E. Pazar, Attorney at Law, 11 Carriage House Lane, Boxford, Massachusetts 01921. © 2014 Steven E. Pazar ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Your new company website looks great; the marketing department is thrilled with the content. The vice president of sales is happy with the “look and feel” and improved functionality. The word comes down from senior management “go live”.
Now fast forward to when a customer suffers a loss and seeks to recover its damages. Guess what – text from your website that among other things states the company “has instituted the most stringent safety standards” is front and center in a lawsuit against the company.
Communicating with the public and potential customers via your website and related electronic documents is now the norm iness. The traditional means of carefully scripting written communications has fallen by the wayside under pressure from the speed and ease of access to web-based information. However, all written communications, including website content must be drafted with care. Overreaching statements regarding skills, procedures, safety, services, capabilities and expected results are used to maintain a basis for claims such as fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unfair or deceptive trade practices.
Star Child II, LLC v. Lanmar Aviation, Inc. (D. Conn., 2013) illustrates how website content can be used to help maintain a legal cause of action.
Star Child, the aircraft owner, flew to Lanmar’s Fixed Base Operator (FBO) facility in Connecticut for avionics and maintenance work. After completing the repairs, Lanmar’s staff moved the aircraft to a location in front of the hangar. Later the same day, a fuel truck owned and operated by Lanmar struck the aircraft. As a result of the damage the aircraft was transported to the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) factory in Florida for repair.
The airport where Lanmar is located is governed by the applicable regulations found at 14 C.F.R. section 139, including the requirement for “procedures for protecting persons and property during storing, dispensing, and handling of fuel and other hazardous substances and materials.” In addition, Connecticut Department of Transportation policy requires that FBOs be held to a set of “minimum standards” for commercial aeronautical businesses – including developing and maintaining a set of standard operation procedures.
Lanmar’s website indicated that the company “has implemented the most stringent safety standards” and that “your aircraft is in safe hands while based at Lanmar Aviation FBO.” Star Child alleges that it relied on these statements when entrusting its aircraft to Lanmar. Star Child claims that in fact, contrary to federal and state requirements, Lanmar had no procedures in place to prevent the accident that damaged the aircraft. In a Motion to Dismiss, Lanmar argues that the Star Child claims of fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unfair or deceptive trade practices should be dismissed because, even if not true, the statements on the website were at most “puffery” and thus not actionable under Connecticut law. In all three instances the court found that Star Child’s allegations were sufficient to state a claim and survive the Lanmar motion to dismiss.
While surviving the motion to dismiss is not the same as succeeding on the merits, it does give Star Child instant bargaining power with regard to possible future settlement negotiations.
Website communications are increasingly a first source of documentation for certain claims related to representations made by a business. While it is no guarantee that all overreaching statements will be detected and fact checked, best practice is to include legal counsel as part of your website content final review team before you “go live.”
Steven counsels businesses operating in high-risk industries – including aviation – he provides templates, tools and training that will improve contracting efficiency, close deals faster and control costs.
I Need a DER – Or Do I? Part III: History and Types of Delegations
By Peter Lauria, Principal, JT Consulting, LLC © 2014 Peter Lauria ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
So far, we have discussed situations where a Designated Engineering Representative (DER) would be helpful to a repair station, and how to determine whether the article being worked on is undergoing a major repair that would need to be supported by approved engineering data.
At this point, you might ask, “Who and what are these DERs, and why do I need to use one (or more)?” And, “If the repair data need to be approved, why can’t I go directly to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for approval?” To help answer those questions, a bit of history is in order.
The FAA, under whose rules we work, has existed in its current form since 1958. Prior to that, the industry and designees were regulated under other governmental entities. Beginning with the Air Commerce Act of 1926, which led to creation of the Aeronautics Branch within the Department of Commerce, individuals were issued pilots’ and mechanics’ licenses. Within a few years, flying schools and instructors were given certificates and ratings, and private persons were authorized to examine, test and inspect aircraft. In 1927 certain physicians were authorized as Designated Medical Examiners; in March 1930, the first repair station certificates were issued.
The 1938 Civil Aeronautics Act established the Civil Aeronautics Authority. The Authority was split into the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) and Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) in 1940. The CAA was responsible for airmen and aircraft certification, safety and airways, while the CAB took on safety regulations, accident investigation and economic regulation.
In 1940, the CAA began designating qualified private persons to conduct flight tests, give written exams for pilot certificates, perform certain regulatory functions, and make examinations, tests inspections or reports. By 1948, there were nearly 10,000 designees to prevent “bottlenecks” in civilian aircraft production.1 Delegation Option Authorization (DOA) for small aircraft manufacturers followed in 1956.
After the FAA was established by the Act of 1958, existing regulations were recodified, and new rules were drafted. Fourteen CFR part 183, the rule for delegations, was promulgated in 1962 and the role of designees was defined.
The designees of most interest to repair stations are the DER and Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR). The FAA describes a DER as “an individual, appointed in accordance with 14 CFR § 183.29, who holds an engineering degree or equivalent, possesses technical knowledge and experience and meets the qualification requirements of Order 8100.8D. A DER may be appointed as a company designee and/or consultant DER.”2 DERs are delegated within specific disciplines, including Acoustical, Engine, Flight Analysis, Flight Test Pilot, Powerplant Installations, Propellers, Radio, Structures and Systems & Equipment.
DARs, as the name implies, are concerned with the airworthiness aspects of a project. The FAA description is “an individual appointed in accordance with 14CFR § 183.33 who may perform examination, inspection, and testing services necessary to the issuance of certificates. There are two types of DARs, manufacturing and maintenance.” 2
Organizations were granted delegations as time passed. On the engineering side, the FAA instituted Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 36 in 1978. This rule allowed companies, through Authorized Representatives (ARs), to approve data substantiating major repairs without obtaining FAA approval first. Originally designed to help airlines avoid aircraft on ground (AOG) situations while waiting for FAA approval over weekends, SFAR 36 delegation was eventually granted to some repair stations as well.
In 2008, Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) was instituted for company holders of earlier delegations, such as DOA, Designated Alteration Station (DAS) and SFAR 36 and, later, for new applicants. ODA Holders can be authorized by both engineering and airworthiness delegations. Some repair stations hold major repair and alteration (MRA) ODA delegations.
Now, let’s go back to the question of getting approval directly from the FAA. As noted above, the delegation of FAA functions to individuals has been to reduce bottlenecks in project work. Using a DER to approve data, or in some cases, recommend approval, streamlines the process, and helps avoid waiting for the FAA engineers to directly approve the engineering information.
If your repair station holds MRA ODA, with engineering functional areas, or has company DERs, you may be able to approve the specific major repair data in-house. If not, seeking the assistance of consultant DERs would be your best bet.
Footnotes: 1 “FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996, edited by Edmund Preston; available at http://www.faa.gov/about/history/history_pubs/
2 From “Designees & Delegations; Types” viewable at http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/designees_delegations/designee_types/
3 Other information from “Delegation and Designee Background”, FAA; viewable at http://www.faa.gov/about/history/deldes_background/
Peter Lauria (email@example.com) has over 30 years’ experience with aircraft manufacturers, test equipment manufacturers, repair stations and airlines. He is the owner and principal of JT Consulting, LLC., providing engineering consulting, DER services and ODA guidance.
“Teaching You How to Fish” – Effectively Engaging Congress
By ARSA Communications Staff
Access to regulatory, business, and legislative knowledge is one of the key benefits of ARSA membership. We are standing by for your calls, questions, or clarifications. The association will go a step further, though, and give you the tools to build your own knowledge before the problem even arrives.
Our recorded webinars and training sessions are one way ARSA will “teach you how to fish.” They’re all waiting for you; you can start a session right now.
“Effectively Engaging Lawmakers” by ARSA’s Vice President of Legislative Affairs Daniel Fisher. This course is shorter than many available, and can provide a basic overview of lobbying to those who have heard of this work, but are curious about the details. Why should you care? According to Mr. Fisher, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,” so take 20 minutes right now to find out how to get yourself to the table: sign up here and get started.
Member Spotlight: Aircraft Electric Motors – Miami Lakes, Florida
By ARSA Communications Staff
Aircraft Electric Motors was established in 1972 by a core of knowledgeable aviation professionals that pioneered the aircraft component rewind concept. Since then, the company has proved to be the best component rewind/repair business in the industry. AEM provides dramatic cost savings to its ever growing customer base which is comprised of OEMs, airlines and accessory shops throughout the world.
Hundreds of years of combined experience has instilled a confidence that is borne of skill and knowledge, producing a determination to do the finest work possible. As a result of AEM’s expertise, many major OEMs have begun using the company for prototyping and manufacturing.
AEM is constantly expanding to meet the needs of their customers who present an array of evolving components requiring the latest repair and rewind technology.
AEM is now in a modern, state-of-the-art, 60,000 square foot facility in order to provide better customer service and higher quality. The largest inventory plus the most complete facility staffed by highly experienced personnel allows them to provide dependable service not only for their customers but also the flying public.
Luckily for ARSA, AEM is helping to show the world the broad and important work of aviation maintenance. This past June, they opened their doors to a documentary production crew that has been working with the association to develop what will be the industry’s definitive profile for years to come. Look for AEM’s pristine facility and work overcoats when the documentary premiers this October – and comes to a screen near you.
“We’re proud of the work we do here and happy to show it off,” said Josh Clot, AEM’s president and chief executive officer. “This is a family business, one that matters a whole lot not just to the people of southern Florida who come through our doors to work, but to every family who’s taken a loved one to the airport. We’ll take advantage of every opportunity to be part of the conversation and remind the public that they can’t fly without us.”
Aircraft Electric Motors has been an ARSA member since 1984. Learn more at http://www.aem.us/.
Each month, the hotline spotlights key regulatory, legislative, and business leaders making important contributions to the aviation industry. This month we look at David A. Lombardo, senior editor for Aviation International News.
David A. Lombardo, Aviation International News
Lombardo is a senior editor for Aviation International News. He covers business aviation maintenance-related issues and is also a writer and on-air reporter for AINtv. He has over 3,000 articles published and is the author of several books on aircraft systems for pilots and on the topic of flight simulation.
He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in education from the University of Illinois, has taught aviation for over 35 years in industry and as a university professor and academic dean at three different universities. He is also a frequent seminar and after-dinner motivational speaker.
Lombardo holds an A&P Certificate, ATP, CFI and Ground Instructor ratings. He was a corporate pilot and was a research pilot and flight instructor at the University of Illinois. An FAA Safety Counselor for over 25 years, he was one of the original 13 Counselors appointed to the FAA’s Airworthiness Safety Program for maintenance technicians.
Lombardo has been a great partner for ARSA in telling the story of aviation maintenance providers around the world. His long experience and knowledge of the industry makes him an effective voice to international audiences.
While ARSA will always work to tell the collective story of our members, individual repair stations and MRO providers should continually seek to develop useful relationships with the media. Find local reporters or industry writers and begin to build lasting partnerships for showing the world how essential aviation maintenance is to our lives and livelihoods.
How can you do this? You’ve already read ARSA’s ten rules for good media relations; Lombardo was kind enough to share a few of his own:
Rule 1: Have a relationship with the journalist. By building trust over time you can become a dependable source. “If I want anything about repair stations, I don’t care what it is, the first person I call is Sarah (MacLeod, ARSA’s executive director). She always gets back to me.”
Rule 2: Return calls promptly … even if you don’t want to. Trying to avoid bad news is always a mistake. There are ways to get around providing a comment if you’re not ready. Be honest and explain that you need time or you’re working on the problem. “The story is going to get written. If I call you for a comment, at least return the call. It looks worse to have it written that you wouldn’t comment.”
Rule 3: Stick to facts. Avoid unnecessary, superlative jargon in your releases and statements. Provide illustrative detail, but stick to the things that you can prove. “If you can’t prove to me why you are what you say you are, I’m not running it. How do you prove ‘world class’ or ‘paradigm shifter’?”
Rule 4: Be proactive and dependable – When you promise something, follow through. Journalists face constant deadlines and compete for space in their publications and the attention of their readers. Don’t let them down. “I’m never going to call you again if I can’t rely on you.”
Take Advantage of ARSA’s Members Getting Members Program, Get 10% Off on Membership Dues
The best form of advertising is word of mouth. Use the Members Getting Members Toolkit to recruit an ARSA member and your company will receive a discounted membership rate for your next membership term. Get more information at http://arsa.org/membership/members-getting-members/
Target Your Message: Advertise Today in ARSA’s Newsletters and Website!
ARSA recently updated its menu of advertising opportunities for arsa.org, the hotline and the ARSA Dispatch. Take advantage of these great opportunities today to showcase your company, a new product or event. For more information go to http://arsa.org/advertise/
Exhibit, Sponsor the 2015 Repair Symposium
As the maintenance industry’s top event devoted exclusively to regulatory compliance, the ARSA Symposium attracts a highly qualified professional audience. Use this opportunity to promote your company while showing support for ARSA. Get more information at http://arsa.org/news-media/events/arsa-symposium/arsa-annual-repair-symposium-sponsorship/
Q: The principal maintenance inspector (PMI) assigned to our company has become almost impossible to work with and our company wants him replaced. Is there a procedure that allows for us to request something like this?
A: Here is how the law firm and association approach handling government officials and requests for removal of Aviation Safety Inspectors:
(1) Understand the politics of aviation safety; have regular meetings with government officials. This sets a professional tone and introduces the government to the company and its people when “things are good” instead of only dealing with issues that are “bad”.
(2) Every single communication with the government needs to be documented—a simple date, time, person(s) present by name and title; ensure that all FACTS presented or not are recorded. Follow up any “important” oral communication with something in writing. Every single visit must be followed up in writing within 36 hours of the government leaving the premises. The communication ALWAYS goes something like:
“Dear XYZ: Thank you for your visit on MONTH DAY, YEAR. During your time with the company, you met with SOANDSO and SOANDSO. The following matters were discussed….LISTED OUT IN FACTUAL DETAIL WITH ACTIONS PROMISED OR NOT. If our rendition of your visit is incorrect please let us know immediately so we may ensure proper resolution.”
(3) Track everything that happens during the government visit and specifically ensure your company knows exactly what data the government collected.
(4) Remember that ARSA has resources to help you. Review the content and templates on our “Dealing with the Government” page and use them to guide and document all of your interactions with inspectors and other agency personnel.
These actions will ensure you have a record of the communications with government representatives—it will make unprofessional interactions obvious so that requests for changing an ASI are supported by objective and substantiated evidence rather than opinion or subjective interactions.
Regulatory Compliance Training
Test your knowledge on §§ 145.159, 160 ratings.
AVMRO News Portal
ARSA strives to provide resources to educate the general public about the work of the association’s member organizations; should you need to provide a quick reference or introductory overview to the global MRO industry, please utilize AVMRO.ARSA.org.
ARSA monitors media coverage on aviation maintenance to spread the word about the valuable role repair stations play globally by providing jobs and economic opportunities and in civic engagement. These are some of this month’s top stories highlighting the industry’s contributions. You can explore these stories through ARSA’s Dispatch news portal.
ATCA – Air Traffic Controllers Association 59th Annual Conference and Exposition – National Harbor, Maryland – September 28-October 1
ARSA Strategic Leadership Conference – Montreal – October 15-16
The FAA is very concerned about counterfeit aircraft parts. They call them Suspected Unapproved Parts (SUP). Having any in your inventory could be a legal disaster!!
- There is only one centralized DataBase of Suspected Unapproved Parts – Over 60,000 of them. Find the ones on your shelves before the FAA fines you.
- There is only one integrated PMA/AD System. Find ADs that apply to or reference any of almost 1,000,000 PMA parts. Do multi-level PMA research.
- Due Diligence is the key phrase and The Aviation DataBase® is the only source for an easy and inexpensive way to do it. Head off the legal problem before it occurs.
- There is a User friendly and searchable copy of the Flight Standards Information Management System (FAA Order 8900.1) in The Aviation DataBase®.
- Do you need an Aviation Regulatory Library?: Over 18,000 ADs – Large & Small AC, Over 1,500 Type Certificate Data Sheets, Over 1,200 FAA Advisory Circulars.
- Call Aviation DataSource, Inc. (800) 952-8844.You can be using The Aviation DataBase® within minutes.
the hotline is the monthly publication of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA), the not-for-profit international trade association for certificated repair stations. It is for the exclusive use of ARSA members and federal employees on the ARSA mailing list. For a membership application, please call 703.739.9543 or visit http://arsa.org/membership/join/.
This material is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal, consulting, tax or any other type of professional advice.
Law, regulations, guidance and government policies change frequently. While ARSA updates this material, we do not guarantee its accuracy. In addition, the application of this material to a particular situation is always dependent on the facts and circumstances involved. The use of this material is therefore at your own risk.
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© 2014 Aeronautical Repair Station Association