ARSA Training Resource
Since its inception, ARSA has worked to ensure that basic safety information (i.e., Instructions for Continued Airworthiness [ICA], including component maintenance manuals [CMM]) is made available at a fair and reasonable price to operators, maintenance providers, and any other person required by Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to comply with those instructions.
14 CFR § 21.50(b) and its predecessors require holders of design approvals to prepare information essential to continued airworthiness (euphemistically, ICA) and “make it available” to persons required to comply with the terms of the instructions. Under part 91, owners are required to ensure the information is followed and recorded; under part 43, maintenance providers are required to perform maintenance and record maintenance in accordance with the information.
Notwithstanding the clear language of § 21.50(b) and predecessor requirements, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been slow to enforce these obligations. On the other hand, the agency has vigilantly enforced the requirement that those performing maintenance do so in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions (see §§ 43.13, 145.51 and 145.109).
As the timeline emphasizes, the association as well as other interested parties have taken numerous steps and will continue to combat this “double standard” of enforcement.
ARSA Works ICA Timeline
December 27, 2021: Representatives of 14 aviation industry associations urged FAA Administrator Steve Dickson to act on the agency’s enforcement of rules related to ICA. The group, which included ARSA and many of its long-standing allies, delivered a letter requesting the administrator assign the matter to the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee.
More information. (FAA initial response received on Jan. 11)
July 30, 2021: ARSA sent a letter to the FAA and the U.S. DOT urging leaders to use a new White House executive order as a tool to correct errors in ICA enforcement.
December 23, 2019: Following up on the November 2018 member toolkit on the subject, ARSA delivered a petition to eliminate language from 14 CFR § 145.109(d) requiring certain documents and data be “current and accessible when the relevant work is being done.”
November 19, 2018: ARSA released a members-only toolkit providing a draft petition for exemption – and instructions for its submission – from the requirement under 14 CFR § 145.109(d) that repair stations have “current” manufacturer’s data available even when it is not needed and will not be used.
August 28, 2018: ARSA filed a comment with the U.S. Small Business Administration National Ombudsman’s office.
Industry Toolkit (Word Document)
July 31, 2018: IATA, CFM International Sign Pro-Competitive Agreement on Engine Maintenance; to read the agreement as issued by CFMI.
May 29, 2018: ARSA submitted comments in response to EASA’s Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) 2018-01 pertaining to ICA. The association praised the agency’s effort, then critiqued the proposal against decades of industry frustration with regulatory treatment of maintenance data.
December 1, 2017: A US court ruling determined the FAA is not obligated to force a manufacturer to supply maintenance instructions to a repair station, noting that it is the agency’s discretion if and how it enforces its own rules – in this case related to 14 CFR § 21.50’s ICA requirements.
Petition and Related Exhibits
May 24, 2017: ARSA completes multi-session training series on ICA. Series available on demand.
March 16, 2016: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that it has become a complainant in an investigation being conducted by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition (DG-COMP) into alleged abuses of dominant positions by manufacturers of aviation equipment.
November 9, 2015: ARSA filed comments analyzing Draft Order 8110.54B, Instructions for Continued Airworthiness Responsibilities, Requirements, and Contents and Draft Advisory Circular 20-ICA, Instructions for Continued Airworthiness. ARSA’s comments reiterate that aviation products are only as airworthy as their constituent components. The applicable airworthiness standards emphasize that ICA requirements apply to all articles that are eligible for installation on all type-certificated products and therefore must be made available by all design approval holders (DAHs).
November 5, 2014: FAA releases a legal interpretation responding to a letter asking whether the provisions in 14 CFR § 21.50(b) require design approval holders (DAH) to furnish complete Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) to the owner of each type aircraft, engine, or propeller apply to the Lockheed Martin C-l 30J aircraft operated by NAVAIR.
FAA legal interpretation
March 31, 2014: FAA releases a legal interpretation in response to a Piedmont Propulsion Systems request regarding the responsibilities of a DAH to make ICA available for mandatory inspections and repairs.
FAA legal interpretation
April 19, 2013: ARSA sends a letter to two members of the European Parliament commending their recent inquiries to the European Commission regarding original equipment manufacturers making maintenance manuals available to MROs.
October 4, 2012: The Supreme Court decides not to hear ICA case.
August 9, 2012: FAA responds to three-year old ARSA request for legal interpretation, confirming that all CMMs referenced in an ALS are part of the ICA and that modifications to the ALS trigger § 21.50(b) requirements.
FAA legal interpretation
June 11, 2012: ARSA asks Supreme Court to intervene on ICA availability.
Amicus curiae brief
March 29, 2012: FAA releases ICA policy stating that the agency will “not accept” restrictive statements or terms in ICA documents, or restrictive access or use agreements that limit the appropriate availability or use of the ICA.
March 10, 2012: EASA issues a status report on ICA working group activities.
January 4, 2012: ARSA comments on draft policy.
October 6, 2011: FAA releases draft policy, “Inappropriate Design Approval Holder Restrictions on the Use and Availability of Instructions for Continued Airworthiness”.
January 26, 2010: ARSA delivers joint industry policy committee comments (see Aug. 20, 2004, below) to EASA for consideration.
Email to EASA
September 28, 2009: EASA adds ICA to its Terms of Reference in anticipation of rulemaking.
EASA ICA Terms of reference
May 18, 2009: ARSA requests FAA legal interpretation.
ARSA interpretation request
November 6, 2008: ARSA sends rebuttal to EASA letter.
ARSA rebuttal letter
July 3, 2008: ARSA receives second response from EASA regarding the agency’s position on the availability of maintenance data.
EASA second response
March 5, 2008: ARSA files complaint with EASA on the availability of maintenance manuals.
Rolls-Royce and Airbus EASA complaint
February 29, 2008: ARSA files third complaint with the FAA on the availability of maintenance manuals.
April 18, 2007: ARSA’s files comments to part 145 NPRM, including a request to remove language requiring repair stations to have ICA to become certificated (see page 8).
Part 145 comments
August 3, 2006: ARSA comments on Baker Botts memo regarding ICA strategy options.
June 13, 2006: ARSA-hired law firm delivers memo outlining strategic options for pursuing long-term ICA policy objectives.
Baker Botts Memo
February 28, 2006: Rolls-Royce responds to ARSA complaint.
November 23, 2005: ARSA files second complaint with the FAA on the availability of maintenance manuals.
July 1, 2005: FAA issues Order 8110.54; the Order did not incorporate joint industry policy committee suggestions.
FAA Order 8110.54
August 20, 2004: The ARSA-formed joint industry policy committee, composed of manufacturer, repair station, and air carrier representatives, submit comments to the FAA on draft Order 8110.54, Instructions for Continued Airworthiness Responsibilities, Requirements, and Contents.
Joint industry policy
December 10, 2003: Airbus responds to ARSA complaint.
October 3, 2003: ARSA files first complaint with the FAA on the availability of maintenance manuals.
April 14, 2003: FAA issues legal opinion detailing when component maintenance manuals are considered part of ICA.
FAA/McCurdy legal interpretation
March 30, 2002: Research reveals how other agencies carry out requirements to make maintenance information available.
Other agency actions (.pdf)
January 10, 2001: Research shows that the regulations have long required that ICA be provided.
History of U.S. ICA regulations, 1941-1980
December 13, 1999: FAA issues legal opinion (“the Whitlow Letter”) supporting ARSA’s position that instructions be made available.
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