Table of Contents
Sarah Says – Then. Now. Later
The 30th anniversary of the association’s formation enables us to look back to the time when a dollar bought a gallon of gas, 20 cents mailed a letter, Terminator was in theaters, Indira Ghandi was assassinated and Apple’s Macintosh computer came to market with an iconic commercial.
The ARSA board of directors first convened in October 1984 to establish objectives for the global civil aviation maintenance industry’s trade group:
- To reduce the occurrence of capricious actions on the part of major manufacturers.
- To serve as a lobbying organization before Congress.
- To represent the repair station community before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other government agencies.
- To establish a liaison between the repair station community and civil aviation safety agencies to ensure the rights of companies to protest FAA actions are secured without the fear of reprisal.
In the three decades since I created those minutes, the world has changed but the issues impacting international repair stations continue. The lists of repair stations and members have expanded and shifted. The association has grown in fits and starts and survived its own near misses. The core purpose of those original objectives remains the same: to be the voice of global civil aviation maintenance.
Back then we had to beg, harass and harangue manufacturers, regulators, legislators and the media in order to be heard. Today, we are asked to participate in wide-ranging conferences, rulemaking and lawmaking activities and are quoted by the press.
In the past, we were instrumental in writing the current version of part 145, ensuring the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the FAA handle major and minor repairs appropriately under both systems in consideration of bilateral and technical agreements, negotiating legislative language on international drug and alcohol testing and ensuring establishment of numerous other interpretative and preventive measures.
Right now we are ensuring that a simple seven-letter word is reinserted in the regulations and teaching the government how to properly classify aviation maintenance professionals.
In the future we will adhere to our 20/20 Strategic Plan, become the “go-to” organization for regulatory compliance training for part 65 mechanics and repairmen as well as part 145 repair stations and lead coalitions to ensure that aviation maintenance is a technical career field of choice.
Now, as then, the association’s challenge is to always look ahead and help its members navigate an increasingly-hazardous regulatory environment. Join us in remembering where ARSA came from by visiting arsa.org/30-years-of-arsa. In the meantime, we will celebrate our 30th birthday by charging ahead into the future.
Editor’s Note: This edition of Sarah Says has also run on MRO Network.
30 Years of ARSA
A Look Back
By Crystal Maguire, Vice President of Operations
As the longest-tenured employee of the association’s management firm (going on eleven years!), I took it upon myself to look back at the association’s history to better understand how far we’ve come and how we got here. As verbalized by ARSA Managing Director & General Counsel Marshall Filler at the 2014 Strategic Leadership Conference in Montreal, here are some interesting tidbits I uncovered while plowing through three decades worth of newsletters and board meeting materials:
ARSA’s articles of incorporation were signed on June 14, 1984 in the District of Columbia (the association has since transferred its incorporation to the Commonwealth of Virginia where its management offices are located). The initial board of directors meeting was held on Oct. 24, 1984; presiding as ARSA’s first president was Charles B. Ryan from NORDAM, a company that continues to be a strong supporter of the association today (and, more importantly, located in my home town, go Hurricane!).
In March 1985 the association boasted 15 members, come June the list grew to 55 to include current members NORDAM, AAR Corp., Central Cylinder Service, Inc. (read this month’s member spotlight), Aircraft Electric Motors, Inc. and Fortner Engineering & Manufacturing, Inc. That same year the association debuted its flagship newsletter, the hotline. The first issue covered two “hot” topics: parts manufacturing authority (PMA) and product liability coverage. At that time the newsletter was issued quarterly until 1990 when it became a monthly publication.
The association’s annual budget that first year was $75,000 (today it has grown to $1.3 million); the association’s first positive cash flow was proudly announced in April 1992.
In 1987, ARSA almost met its demise but was pulled from the depths by the association’s executive director Sarah MacLeod (read on in the hotline to learn more).
In February 1991, ARSA accepted an invitation to join the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC), a newly formed body that would “establish a forum for discussion of possible rule changes early in the process.” ARSA was instrumental in the development of the committee which is now a cornerstone of the FAA’s rulemaking process. Indeed, in September 1994, Sarah was appointed vice chair of the ARAC; the association’s then-Managing Director Tony Obadal was quoted as saying, “In the surreal world of Washington politics, you occasionally are lucky enough to find a personality that is undaunted by the important task of making the government work. I am proud that one of those people is my law partner and our executive director.” ARSA continues to support the ARAC; Sarah has been assistant chair for the air carrier and general aviation maintenance group since 1996.
In April 1993, ARSA held its first repair station symposium, an annual event that continues to attract aviation industry leaders around the world (shameless plug: pledge now to sponsor the 2015 event).
When asked what the association’s greatest achievements have been over the last thirty years, Sarah points to the 52 pages of part 145 NPRM comments she drafted over Thanksgiving break in 1999 – she’ll proudly remind you that 70 percent of those suggested changes were adopted – and receiving the Nuts and Bolts award from A4A in April of 2011. Beyond any individual act, the greatest achievement of the association is it has become the “go to” organization for regulatory agencies, Congress and the media on aviation maintenance issues (yes, that’s also one of Sarah’s points).
1985 – Members Getting Members
In the first issue of the ARSA hotline – which has been dutifully delivered without interruption since March, 1985 – then-Executive Director Tony Obadal issued a challenge to the association’s growing membership:
“The need is known, we have the support of industry leaders and publications, and the confidence and cooperation of the FAA and congressional staffs. If each of you will spread the word, promote ARSA and get just three more repair stations or distributor/supplier associates to join up, we can be assured of a successful organization.”
In honor of 30 years as the voice of the aviation maintenance industry, take up Obadal’s three-decade-old challenge (and save some money in the process).
- For each paid membership referral, the referring member will receive a credit of 10% of the applicant’s dues on its forthcoming membership renewal. For example, if you refer a $1,800 member, you will receive a credit of $180 towards your next membership renewal.
- The maximum benefit is 100% of the referring member’s annual membership dues.
- The applicant must clearly indicate on its application the name of the member company that referred it for membership.
Almost Over Before it Really Began
Shortly after the initial formation of the association, two of its principal supporters took on other activities.
- H. Grady Gatlin was an aviation attorney who started with the FAA; after which he ended up in private practice. The law firm that formed the trade association (The Law Firm of Anthony J. Obadal, P.C.) was renting office space to him when ARSA was created; indeed, he was the reason the industry decided to explore the formation of an association.
- Robert Feeler was a well-known aviation consultant with extensive technical knowledge and a personal relationship with Grady.
Both gentlemen left the association after only about six months for other endeavors. Grady began working for a government contractor that ultimately drafted one of the many rewrites of part 145. Bob took on more private clients, leaving little time for the fledgling organization.
With the loss of the technical expertise, Tony Obadal requested Sarah MacLeod take a letter dissolving the association; Sarah refused to take the dictation (yes, she actually took dictation), instead she told her “boss” that she would learn the industry and run the association.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Thanks to Sarah’s resolve – along with the steadfast support of the aviation maintenance industry – ARSA continues to stand up for contract repair stations. To see more, visit the ARSA Works page.
MONTREAL – On Oct. 15, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) celebrated its 30th birthday with a reception and dinner to open the 2014 Strategic Leadership Conference (SLC). The event continued on Oct. 16 with a full agenda that explored the state of the aviation maintenance industry.
For participants, the invitation-only SLC is a yearly opportunity to explore the issues most important to repair stations, their customers and the flying public. Through a series of speakers, panels and discussions, this year’s participants investigated public relations and international market development; providing executive-level industry leaders a forum to explore the future of global aviation maintenance.
For ARSA, 2014’s SLC was a perfect opportunity to celebrate three decades of service. In October of 1984, the association’s board of directors convened its inaugural meeting. Industry representatives worked with the fledgling staff to define a set of objectives for the one trade group that would be devoted to the unique needs of civil aviation maintenance.
“Looking back on those initial meetings and activities, it is amazing how far the industry has evolved while facing some of the exact same challenges today as in yesteryears,” said Sarah MacLeod, ARSA’s executive director, who was integral in its founding. “Thankfully, the association is in a better position to address issues in the short and long term due to its record of persistence and perserverance.”
“My father was one of the association’s earliest supporters, so supporting ARSA is as much of a family enterprise as my own business,” said Gary Fortner, ARSA board member and vice president of engineering and quality control for Fortner Engineering in Glendale, California. “For 30 years, this has been my repair station’s runway to a larger world – a single voice that stands up and keeps this industry strong.”
“ARSA does so much for the repair station community,” said Gary Jordan, president of ARSA’s board of directors and president and CEO of Jordan Propeller Service in San Antonio, Texas. “Celebrating its birthday this week is very fitting. Industry leaders come together every year at the SLC to tackle the challenges that face us now and plan for successes to come. We’re honoring this association’s history by charging ahead into its future.”
Join the association in looking back to the beginning – and at all that has happened since. Visit http://arsa.org/30-years-of-arsa/ to reflect on the work ARSA has done and consider what is ahead.
2004 – You Make it Possible
In his 2004 message to membership, then-President Gary H. Garvens reviewed the association’s recent accomplishments and looked ahead to its challenges for 2005. Garvens spoke of new developments that in the past decade have become dependable components of ARSA’s value to its members – the Strategic Leadership Conference, expanded hotline coverage, ARSA-led coalitions tackling regulatory issues, new publications and legal resources, etc.
He closed the update with a simple truth: “Your ARSA membership makes these products, services and initiatives possible.” The association’s members have always been, and will always be, the bedrock of its responsibility to aviation maintenance.
Since you make it possible, see how ARSA works for you – explore the member benefits page.
In 1993’s special symposium edition of the hotline, executive director Sarah MacLeod declared regulations “sexy at last!”
It was a month of firsts – the first Sarah Says celebrated the first symposium – and Sarah heralded a new era of regulatory awareness:
“The Annual Repair Symposium held the attention of over two hundred registrants because substantive and current information on aviation regulation is the prophylactic which will keep business alive in the years to come. The days of paying attention to our business and regulatory habits, only after a problem is discovered, are in the past…
The success of the Symposium is an excellent sign that all businesses involved in the maintenance industry are realizing that their bottom line is being directly impacted by non-uniform regulatory application. Okay, regulatory compliance isn’t all that sexy, but it will keep you safely in business.”
Of course, the work is never done. The 2015 Legislative Day and Annual Repair Symposium will be held from March 18-20 in Arlington, VA. Registration opens soon, so make sure you’ll be there to continue bringing sexy back to aviation regulations.
ARSA Board, New President Look Ahead
By Brett Levanto, Director of Operations
WASHINGTON – On Oct. 17, Jim Perdue, vice president and manager of sales for SONICO, Inc. in Moses Lake, Washington, was elected president of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association’s (ARSA) Board of Directors at the group’s annual meeting in Montreal.
An ARSA board member since 2006, Perdue previously served as treasurer and then vice president, following the typical trajectory for leaders of the volunteer body. Outgoing president Gary Jordan, president and CEO of Jordan Propeller Service in San Antonio, Texas, will remain on the board.
“We’re entering an important year for the association,” said Perdue. “We’re going to help Congress reauthorize the FAA, address the challenge of finding and growing a skilled technical workforce, expand our influence internationally and continue to provide the finest regulatory compliance support in the industry.
“I’m glad that Gary [Jordan] will still be around, of course, and I’m thankful to have such great, experienced board members working with me. This is a great time for ARSA and its members.”
Gary Hudnall, general manager of Jet Center MFR in Medford, Oregon, has risen from secretary to vice president – now a heartbeat away from the top position. Warner Calvo, quality and safety directory at Coopesa, R.L. in Alajuela, Costa Rica and the board’s newest member, completes the corps of officers as the association’s new secretary.
Overall, directorship on the eleven-person board – which represents a broad range of international maintenance interests – will be unchanged for 2015. For more information, visit http://arsa.org/about-us/board-of-directors/.
DOT Looks Forward to ARSA’s 60th Birthday
By Brett Levanto, Director of Operations
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is working to develop a detailed, 30-year plan to outline the future of the nation’s transportation network – a “system of systems.” Over the past several months, DOT policymakers have been hosting town hall meetings and webinars to stimulate discussion and gather feedback from industry members regarding not only the state and direction of the industry but also the agency’s role in its development.
“The resulting 30 year plan is envisioned to provoke a frank conversation among the users, developers, managers and public officials who will shape the network. In short, this document aims to frame critical policy choices including the possible consequences of alternative approaches to those choices. The 30 year plan will NOT prescribe specific actions or outcomes, nor will it advocate specific policy solutions. Ultimately, the readers and those who follow us will be left to consider and plan the specific trajectory of our national policies to meet our future national transportation goals.”
For more information on the plan’s development, and a link to the most recent webinar presentation, visit https://www.transportation.gov/administrations/office-policy/30-year-plan-trends-presentation-92014. If you have ideas, questions or concerns about transportation in 2044 – ARSA’s 60th year – contact the DOT Public Engagement Team at 30Years@dot.gov.
2014 Strategic Leadership Conference – Maintenance in Montreal
By Brett Levanto, Director of Operations
ARSA’s 2014 Strategic Leadership Conference (SLC), the Association’s annual invitation-only gathering of aerospace executives, industry allies and policymakers, featured strategic discussions about the future of the maintenance industry and the association’s role in serving the political, operational and economic needs of the aviation community.
This year’s conference was hosted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) at its Montreal Conference Center. ARSA continued a tradition it began in Hamburg, Germany in 2012 – an international venue and focus for even-year SLCs.
For ARSA, 2014’s SLC was also a perfect opportunity to celebrate its 30th birthday. In October of 1984, the association’s board of directors convened its inaugural meeting. Attendees observed this milestone with a celebratory reception and dinner on Oct. 15.
— ARSA (@ARSAWorks) October 17, 2014
The full SLC program began in earnest on Oct. 16. After a brief welcome and introduction, Kevin Hiatt, senior vice president at IATA, provided the keynote address. Hiatt described IATA’s core values and highlighted the ways that the aviation community can “increase value through partnership.”
The day’s agenda included panels on public relations as well as international business and an open-forum assessment of ARSA’s work and discussion of key issues for the association to address moving forward. Panelists from IATA and ICAO joined industry representatives and ARSA moderators to discuss how to grow a skilled, technical workforce as well as identify and manage the risks facing the aviation community.
Attendees were treated to the world premier showing of the aviation maintenance documentary that ARSA produced in association with Leading Edge Television Series. Stay tuned for full rollout of the video, along with guidance as to how your company can make the most of it.
To re-live the 2014 SLC, visit http://arsa.org/news-media/events/slc/; all event materials, including speaker presentations, are available for download.
Mark your calendars for the 2015 Annual Legislative Day and Repair Symposium: March 18-20 in Arlington, VA.
Say Aloha to IA Renewal
By Brett Levanto, Director of Operations
Continual learning is a key component to aviation safety, regulatory compliance and professional development. A beautiful setting is an added bonus.
The Honolulu Aviation Mega Conference attracts maintenance professionals from throughout the Pacific region – including Japan, Guam, and Saipan. Attendees represent a broad range of maintenance interests including rotorcraft, airline, military and educational.
Honolulu Aviation Mega Conference
Thursday Jan. 15 and Friday Jan. 16, 2015
7:30 am to 4:30 pm each day
Honolulu International Airport
30 Rodgers Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96819
7th Floor of the Inter-Island Terminal (Hawaiian Airlines)
No prior registration required
Conference is free to attendees
Contacts for Additional Information:
Some Planned 2015 Presenters:
- Pratt & Whitney
- Airbus Helicopters
- Turbomeca Engines
- Bell Helicopter
- Concord Batteries
- Cleveland Wheel & Brakes
- Dallas Airmotive
- Lycoming Engines
- Tempest Spark Plugs
To see more of what’s happening in the aviation world, visit ARSA’s events page and industry calendar.
MADRID – On Oct. 7, Component Control announced it is continuing for a third year as ARSA’s exclusive preferred provider of MRO and logistics software solutions. Component Control’s Quantum MRO and Logistics software provides a best practices platform for aviation repair organizations to efficiently and comprehensively manage MRO processes while promoting adherence to rigorous quality and regulatory standards.
“Over the past two years our membership has shown enormous support for our preferred partnership with Component Control and the value its software brings to their daily business practices,” said Crystal Maguire, VP of Operations, ARSA. “The success of our members is paramount so we’re pleased to continue this exclusive preferred partnership that has proven to be a trusted resource for our membership.” ARSA preferred providers must have a reputation for quality, strong and credible industry references, and an established record serving the needs of the ARSA membership.
“Quantum is a proven business software solution for enabling aviation organizations to optimize their operational performance and compete successfully for profit in the market and grow their business,” said Z. Baron, CEO of Component Control. “We look forward to continuing and growing our value relationship with ARSA and its membership.”
To see all the ways that ARSA is working as the voice of the aviation maintenance industry, visit our ARSA Works page.
Safe Data, Safer Skies
By Laura Vlieg, Regulatory Affairs Manager
On Oct. 31, ARSA urged the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to affirm its commitment to protect voluntarily-submitted safety information from disclosure to the public.
The association submitted comments to an NTSB-issued Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) requesting that NTSB clarify that voluntarily submitted safety information will continue to be exempt from disclosure when it meets established Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or other statutory and regulatory protections, even if there is a pending investigation.
In 2012, the NTSB issued a Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules, focusing on regulations governing the Board’s investigation procedures, codified in Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 831. As a part of that review, the Board issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in August 2014. The NPRM included reorganizing part 831 into mode-specific subparts, adding a list of transportation events investigated under part 831 and the replacing the use of “accident or incident” with “event.”
Through comments made to the 2012 plan, the public had already encouraged the NTSB to strengthen § 831.6‘s protection of voluntarily submitted safety information. In the preamble to the NPRM the Board responded that it is “uncertain that it could withhold voluntarily provided information in response to a request under the FOIA, unless the NTSB had a statutory exemption permitting it to do so.”
ARSA is troubled by this statement of uncertainty. Voluntary submissions of safety data help foster safer skies and protection of that information is critical to the continued success of safety information sharing systems.
ARSA’s Word on Bonded Repair Size Limits Draft Policy
By Zach Bruckenstein, Advocacy Manager
On Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) submitted comments to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requesting the withdrawal of Draft Policy PS-AIR-20(xxx)xx-xx: Bonded Repair Size Limits.
A member alerted ARSA to a draft policy from the FAA regarding Bonded Repair Size Limits that would require design approval holder (DAH) substantiation on any repairs developed by owners, operators, repair stations, Designated Engineering Representatives (DER), or engineering firms.
The FAA cited unexpected failures of bonded repairs to non-critical structures as the impetus for the draft policy. The agency, without providing regulatory, engineering, technical or statistical references, “conclude[d] that bonded repair of critical structure is a potential safety threat.” The draft included further presumptions that there were no available non-destructive inspection (NDI) techniques that assure that viability of a bonded repair. The FAA deemed that such uncertainty necessitates a limit to the size of bonded repairs for critical structures. Through comments, ARSA and its members had the opportunity to ensure agency policy is grounded in the regulations.
Under the draft policy, the size limitations of the bonded repairs are based on the inherent constraints of the specific designs and those associated with the substantiating data used to meet relevant regulations under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) parts 21, 23, 25, 27, 43. The policy will impact the capabilities of owners, operators and repair stations to develop repairs on critical structures by creating reliance on substantiation data only from the DAH for specifying tolerances and size limitations.
The resulting uncertainty imposes unknown cost on industry members without benefit to safety. There are additional concerns that dependence only on the DAH for repair substantiation—many of whom may not have sufficient maintenance experience—will drive the use of new, more costly parts in lieu of properly established repairs.
Repair station involvement on these issues – which seem small but can have broad impact on the maintenance community – is essential to ensuring the government appropriately balances its responsibilities with the industry’s.
By Brett Levanto, Director of Operations
“It’s tough selling a trade association. Add tight times and tight wallets – forget about it! What the hell does a trade association do, anyway? How does it affect your bottom line? Don’t you hire staff to know what the latest government regulations are and to deal with the FAA? It seems like employees are always going to meetings, why do they need to attend another Symposium?”
As always, ARSA’s Executive Director Sarah MacLeod asked tough questions about the association’s value to its members. Of course, she knew never to lead with a question she didn’t already know the answer to, so take a look back 20 years and see how your membership [still] sells itself:
“Seriously” be Ready for New Rule Implementation
By Ryan Poteet and Laura Vlieg
As reported in ARSA publications, the final rule contains a critical seven-letter omission; it removes the word “serious” from the service difficulty reporting requirements in § 145.221. That change was made without notice or opportunity for public comment, based upon the agency’s mistaken justification that the word had been “removed through notice and comment rulemaking…[and] inadvertently inserted by a separate final rule.” (Emphasis added.)
In reality, after the word “serious” was removed from the reporting requirement in 2001, it was deliberately and correctly reinserted as a direct consequence of public comments. In the 2003 rulemaking, the “FAA agree[d] with the repair station industry concerning the word ‘serious’” and stated that “[i]t was not the agency’s intent to require repair stations to report ‘any’ failure, malfunction, or defect.” Therefore, the agency was “reinserting the word ‘serious’ before the word ‘failure’ in § 145.221(a).”
The new rule’s omission prompted ARSA, industry allies, and ARSA members to request that the FAA reinsert the word “serious” into § 145.221 before the November 10 effective date. While we are confident that the agency will correct its misstep, our diligence requires us to inform members of their options if the problem is not addressed before the rule is implemented.
From a business standpoint, there are two options: attempt to comply with the new requirement, or simply comply with the current rule until the agency issues the correction and/or guidance to its employees on the matter.
With respect to the first option, as ARSA members have pointed out in comments submitted to the September 22 petition for rulemaking, compliance compels submitting reports on all failures, malfunctions, and defects. A plain reading of that requirement means reporting information on not only every unit received, but also every piece part within that article. If it is even possible to comply, it would mean hiring new employees just to keep up with this onerous new reporting obligation.
The other option is to comply with the current version of the section by reporting only “serious” failures, malfunctions and defects until the agency addresses the matter. If, during this unlikely hiatus, an FAA representative threatens or takes enforcement action, consider fighting the improperly implemented reporting requirement using these steps:
1. Discuss the matter with ARSA so that the proper strategy can be outlined and information can be reported to decision-makers in the agency’s hierarchy.
2. Wait for a letter of investigation (LOI).
3. If a LOI is received, respond within ten days using this template.
4. If the agency doesn’t withdraw the action and issues a notice of proposed civil penalty (NPCP); request a copy of the enforcement investigatory report (EIR) and an informal conference with the FAA lawyer using this template.
5. After receiving the EIR, if the agency has not corrected the rule, hire a lawyer to present your case through an informal conference with the FAA’s legal office. The LOI template response provides the information needed to defend an enforcement action that is based upon an improper rulemaking.
6. If the matter has not been resolved, your lawyer should request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).
The administrative hearing process is similar to other court proceedings. The FAA will file a complaint and the repair station will be required to respond by filing a motion or an answer. ARSA’s LOI template response provides the support for its belief that an ALJ would terminate the proceedings because the FAA will be unable to establish the repair station committed a violation of a valid regulation.
Simply put, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.) prescribes certain procedural requirements that agencies must follow in order to give their rules the force of law. Unlike general policy statements or interpretive rules, regulations that impose binding obligations on the public (i.e., “substantive” and “legislative” rules) must be properly noticed and submitted to the public for comment.
Due to the agency’s fundamental APA error, repair stations have the ability to prevail in any potential enforcement action under the new rule by using the administrative legal process. If this course of action is required, the association’s LOI response template will be invaluable in establishing the proper record for review.
That said, the association is confident that the agency will correct its unfortunate misstep in removing a vital seven-letter word before the implementation date.
This material is provided as a service to association members for educational and informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice, and is not privileged or confidential.
As ARSA celebrated its 30th birthday, the Republican Party rejoiced after winning the Senate majority and increasing GOP control in the House. While Republican control on Capitol Hill should create a more positive political environment for the aviation maintenance industry, it is far from certain. Consequently, this is not the time for repair stations to disengage.
The GOP wave was built around a general frustration with the Obama administration’s failed leadership. The public is particularly frustrated with weak economic growth and continued unemployment (or underemployment). Job creation was the name of the game in the 2014 election cycle and many lawmakers swept into office with promises to prioritize domestic employment.
Undoubtedly, in principal, Republicans tend to be more inclined to support ARSA’s tax, labor and regulatory reform positions, as well as the general view that government doesn’t need to be involved with every aspect of your operations – good safety and security are good business. However, all politics is local and lawmakers are very much susceptible to false, but persuasive, arguments presented by constituent interests regardless of political party.
In the past, opponents of contract maintenance have focused on U.S. jobs being shipped overseas and failed government oversight of providers. In reality, the U.S. aviation maintenance industry’s significant job creation and economic output are well documented and its safety record speaks for itself. Nonetheless, as the next Congress focuses on FAA reauthorization there will be proposals detrimental to repair stations. Republicans and Democrats alike will be pressured to support harmful policies based on spurious arguments. Preventing bad ideas from becoming terrible laws is a discipline of continued congressional engagement, education and pressure.
On paper, the GOP election night victory is favorable for the maintenance sector. However, this apparent advantage can erode without continued vigilance, industry engagement and member support for the association’s policy priorities. We cannot rely on electoral wins to beget policy victories. The votes have been cast, but ballots alone will not prevent misguided micromanagement by the 114th Congress.
Look Back and Learn – ARSA Compendia
Throughout October, ARSA celebrated its history by looking back – in brief snapshots – at three decades as the voice of aviation maintenance. There’s a reason that the association keeps such a careful record of its work, of course. Beyond nostalgia, there is value in the deep repository of legal analysis, regulatory interpretation and compliance instruction that the firm of Obadal, Filler, MacLeod and Klein has provided for association members over the years.
In honor of ARSA’s 30 years, and in support of the regulatory compliance knowledge of your own organization, take this opportunity to build your historical record by collecting ARSA compendia.
Compendium: noun \kəm-ˈpen-dē-əm\
a collection of things (such as photographs, stories, facts, etc.) that have been gathered together and presented as a group especially in the form of a book
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.
By Mohan S Perumal, Ramco Systems. © 2014 Mohan S Perumal ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The MRO is a key component to keeping aircraft in the air – safely and efficiently. The mechanic is called to do multiple things in servicing a component, an engine or an aircraft. These highly skilled and important functions are the heart and brain for the equipment and the industry. The more time s/he allocates to ‘actual’ servicing tasks, the better the outcome, for the customer, the public, the job and the MRO business.
Any ‘tool’ that reduces a mechanic’s paper work and other administrative tasks frees crucial time to do ‘real’ work – ‘wrench time.’ As a direct result, owners realize a cumulative positive impact on the business’ bottom lines.
Talk about stating the obvious!
In reality, exploring the deployment of technology-driven ‘tools’ into most MROs’ daily work routines brings to light several significant needs for improvement.
In this and subsequent articles we will explore the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure, systems and applications that can be used to enhance an MROs efficiency. This knowledge will, in turn, open doors for deployment of newer, tested and credible technologies to achieve even greater business benefits.
To set the stage, let us look at the simple yet profound example of the use of technology in fulfilling our banking needs. Most, if not all, of us seldom go to a bank these days. From reviewing statements to paying bills and transferring funds–it is done using smart phones, tablets or at least a computer! This reduces time expended on this routine task, freeing us to expend it on more valuable pursuits. This example has a serious parallel to the MRO workplace.
To begin, let us look at the routine task of labeling and tagging parts. The picture provides a simple evolution.
The change from hand written, paper labels to bar codes was good. However, only the part number and serial number could be bar coded. Today Quick Response (QR) codes can contain all the information available on a given article. The data can be generated and incorporated on a tag or in or on the component itself along with human-readable information. Scanning the QR code can provide information on time between overhauls (TBO), service bulletin incorporation, etc. The data will help decision making for picking articles and repairs and tracking performance.
A Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) can even store more information and does not require a scanner. Walking through the area, the tag can tell the person where an article is located, what its performance and/or life status. This allows distant decision-making and ensures the right part is picked for the right application.
These technical advances have increased efficiency and are routinely used on the airline operations and passenger side of the business, from the electronic boarding passes on smart phones to the RFID checked bag tags that allow the routing of the bags to the correct flights. When such tools are already in action supporting the safety and efficiency of the aviation industry, it is time to deploy similar tools in MRO operations.
Here is a sample QR Code; use your smart phone QR code scanner available through a free app to read the information!
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Ramco Systems, hence shall not be liable for any damages arising out of the same.
From the FAA:
People make mistakes because they are people, not because they are deficient in some way. Error and success result from the same mental processes so we cannot experience one without the other. Since aviation is terribly unforgiving of human error, we cannot afford to allow mistakes to “escape” and erode the safety of our system.
While working with Transport Canada, Gordon DuPont developed “The Dirty Dozen.” The Dirty Dozen is a poster series highlighting 12 preconditions for unsafe acts. As illustrated by ICAO’s Circular 240, “Investigation of Human Factors in Accidents and Incidents,” which lists over 300 such human error precursors. This course will encourage you to openly discuss human error and those things that influence people to make mistakes.
This course covers the following 12 preconditions for unsafe acts:
- Lack of knowledge
- Lack of resources
- Lack of assertiveness
Perhaps more important than the 12 examples of preconditions to unsafe acts is the concept of safety nets designed to reduce the possibility an error will cause a problem. Airmen do the true work of error capture as they account for the hazards of their own workplace, tools and mission.
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.
Featured Session – Major/Minor Primer
ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod reviews the regulations that govern the terms “major” and “minor” for civil aviation repairs and alterations. The session clears up ambiguity and answers important questions like, “Why does it matter?”
Take an hour right now sign up and view Sarah MacLeod’s Major/Minor primer.
Test your knowledge on § 145.163 – Training Requirements.
By Kelsi Oliver, Communications Coordinator
It was the early 70s. George Czarnecki was an IA and pilot who saw a need for an FAA certified repair facility in the central Midwest. For the next 10 years, Czarnecki built his business, Central Cylinder Service, Inc., putting in 40 to 60 hours a week on the side while continuing his work as a mechanic and corporate pilot. In 1983, he turned his full attention toward Central Cylinder.
Czarnecki undoubtedly faced innumerable challenges getting Central Cylinder off the ground (pun intended), but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. The Czarneckis turned their passion into their business before Silicon Valley made startups hot – and doing it while dealing with the government. “Trying to get FAA approval to what we wanted to do was really hard,” Dan Czarnecki, chief inspector and shop manager, remembers. His memory highlights not only the challenges of those early days, but also the very foundation of ARSA’s purpose in support of its members.
Now it’s 2014. George Czarnecki’s Central Cylinder has grown, but kept to its roots as a humble family business. Czarnecki’s wife, Linda, and sons Dan and David put their hard work toward Central Cylinder’s mission every day. They maintain a small size – about nine employees – to preserve quality but “keep the relaxed environment.”
What do they value most? Well, that’s easy. “Reputation,” Czarnecki replied. Their quality work and commitment isn’t just their business ethic, it’s their marketing plan. “We have no advertising budget whatsoever,” Czarnecki discloses. “We advertise strictly by word of mouth. And we stay very busy that way.”
Today, most of Central Cylinder’s business is overhauling Continental and Lycoming engines, where they’ve taken advantage of the opportunities presented in the thriving industry. “Now we do have aftermarket people so there are choices other than the OEM to buy from. That helps everybody out from a prices and parts availability standpoint,” Czarnecki said.
Czarnecki believes the biggest challenge in today’s market is keeping up with the ever-changing regulation and passing on the knowledge. “Put that down because that will be everyone’s answer,” he says.
Many things have changed throughout the past 30 years, but one thing has stayed the same: Central Cylinder has stuck with ARSA. The company has been an integral part of the association’s story since the beginning and helped make it what it is (read elsewhere in the hotline “You Make it Possible”). Czarnecki specifically appreciates other members’ availability to brainstorm ideas and solve problems. Their appreciation has even been documented in a hotline edition earlier this year: a feature in the May edition looked back to a 1985 thank you note ARSA received for helping deal with the government as the company expanded its operations.
ARSA looks forward to continuing that work with all of its outstanding members well past this 30-year anniversary milestone.
Are you an ARSA member who would like to be in the “Member Spotlight?” If so, please contact Kelsi Oliver at Kelsi.Oliver@arsa.org.
Each month, the hotline spotlights key regulatory, legislative, and business leaders making important contributions to the aviation industry. This month we look at Jason Dickstein of Washington Aviation Group.
Jason Dickstein, President, Washington Aviation Group
If this face looks familiar, it is because from 1992 through 1997 Dickstein worked as Associate Counsel for the law firm managing ARSA. He fondly remembers his “good cop/bad cop” negotiations with Executive Director Sarah MacLeod, with whom he enjoyed brainstorming solutions to tough problems.
“Sarah was always good to me,” Dickstein recalled. “I was young and stupid, but I had worked in immigration law, criminal law and labor law environments so I had a (probably undeserved) confidence in my own abilities. Sarah may seem like she knew the regulations better than anyone but she needed someone to bounce ideas off who could get things done. I got things done for her. She gave me a lot of opportunities to get right into the middle of things – working with the FAA to set policy and with the members to solve problems. I was always excited to step up to the challenge.”
“One of my favorite memories of Sarah,” Dickstein described, “was when I was on an ARAC [Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee] committee. The charter clearly stated that its actions were not insulated from legal liability. One of the working groups was planning industry action that would have been anticompetitive, illegal (outside of the protections of the Noerr-Pennington doctrine) and would have disadvantaged some ARSA members. I insisted the course of action was illegal to the working group chair and that a better way to accomplish the committee’s goals was needed. That evening the chair called Sarah demanding that she remove me from the working group. Sarah told him, ‘Well love, if Jason tells you that something’s is illegal maybe you ought to consider that he is right.’”
Dickstein continued “The next day the working group chair and I worked out a compromise that was legal and fit ARSA’s needs; he and I eventually became good friends. But it all went the right way because Sarah had enough confidence in what I was doing to support me.”
What is Dickstein up to now? In 1997 he took the position of General Counsel for the Aviation Suppliers Association (ASA), but soon developed a conflict with the ASA President…a good kind of conflict…he wanted to date her. So, in 1999 he started his own law firm and in 2001, married ASA’s President, Michele Dickstein.
Washington Aviation Group, PC focuses on maintenance, manufacturing and distribution issues for aviation companies and trade associations. The firm represents the Air Carrier Purchasing Conference (ACPC), the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA), ASA, and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association (MARPA) as well as air carriers, repair stations, manufacturers and aircraft parts distributors.
“[Washington Aviation Group] assists companies with anything you can do to an aircraft part,” Dickstein explained. “Shipping rules (like import, export and hazmat), quality assurance systems implementation to support compliance, production to meet a customer’s national regulations, maintenance issues…we even support aircraft and inventory transactions (including legal support for disassembly of end-of-life aircraft) as well as business purchases and sales.”
The firm provides an unusual breadth – litigating cases for clients, lobbying for regulatory and policy changes, supporting transactions and helping clients develop compliance systems (so they are less likely to need the litigation part of the practice).
Dickstein has chaired and served on rulemaking committees in the United States and in Europe. He also taught for five years at Northern Virginia Law School. Today, he teaches and speaks at aviation conferences, meetings and private sessions around the world (including ARSA’s Annual Repair Symposium) and he writes regular columns for several different aviation industry magazines.
Just like Sarah, he continues to believe in the importance of protecting the client by education and providing strategies for compliance.
Jason and his wife Michele live in the Northwest suburbs of Washington, DC with their three children: William, Matthew and Cate.
To learn more about the Washington Aviation Group, please click here.
The best form of advertising is word of mouth. Use the Members Getting Members Toolkit to recruit an ARSA member and your company will receive a discounted membership rate for your next membership term. Get more information at http://arsa.org/membership/members-getting-members/
Target Your Message: Advertise Today in ARSA’s Newsletters and Website!
ARSA recently updated its menu of advertising opportunities for arsa.org, the hotline and the ARSA Dispatch. Take advantage of these great opportunities today to showcase your company, a new product or event. For more information go to http://arsa.org/advertise/
Exhibit, Sponsor the 2015 Repair Symposium
As the maintenance industry’s top event devoted exclusively to regulatory compliance, the ARSA Symposium attracts a highly qualified professional audience. Use this opportunity to promote your company while showing support for ARSA. Get more information at http://arsa.org/news-media/events/arsa-symposium/arsa-annual-repair-symposium-sponsorship/
Q: I could use a little help. Can a repair station manufacturer use equivalent materials or parts in an overhaul or repair? Can we have an o-ring manufactured, which will only be used by us in the maintenance of our customer’s oil pumps? The o-ring itself will not be sold to the public.
A: First, you work under either the manufacturer’s authority (Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 21) or the repair station’s authority (parts 43 and 145)—being a “repair station manufacturer” has to be deciphered commercially before it can be addressed under the regulations.
So, if you are manufacturing the article and do not have design and/or production authority, the article must be either a commercial (§ 21.1(b)(3)) or standard part (§ 21.9(a)(3)) for it to be “sold” for installation. Whatever the internal transfer of that article may be, if you, the repair station, “pay” for the article, it will be considered a “sale” by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Next, what does an installer (repair station) have to ensure before it may use parts (i.e., perform maintenance) (see definition of term in § 1.1, which includes the replacement of parts)? It must ensure the material used will return the article to at least its original (or properly altered) condition per § 43.13. How does it prove the material (replacement part) is technically correct? Well, it can establish “maintenance fabrication of the article” (see § 21.9(a)(6)) by using the manufacturer’s drawings to confirm original or properly altered condition. It can establish a fabrication system to order the part’s fabrication as a repair station, which then can inspect the part to the requirements of the drawings.
If the replacement would be considered a major repair the repair station with access to the approved configuration drawings (those used by the design or production approval holder to show compliance) can establish the replacement was done in accordance with approved engineering data. If the replacement would be a minor repair, no extra action need be taken.
In either event, the repair station’s instructions for assembly should refer to the change from any published data, such as the component maintenance manual (CMM).
Lastly, the replacement has to clear any contracts requirements, such as upstream design and production approval holders that might prevent such use of data and air carriers that don’t like such parts being used.
Was this answer longer than you expected? Hopefully it helps clear up a complicated issue.
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.
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the hotline is the monthly publication of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA), the not-for-profit international trade association for certificated repair stations. It is for the exclusive use of ARSA members and federal employees on the ARSA mailing list. For a membership application, please call 703.739.9543 or visit http://arsa.org/membership/join/.
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