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ARSA Urges SBA Review of Maintenance Manual Availability

ARSA has filed a comment with the U.S. Small Business Administration National Ombudsman’s office urging it to review the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) inconsistent enforcement of rules relating to availability of maintenance manuals.

The ombudsman’s mission is to assist small businesses that experience excessive or unfair federal regulatory enforcement actions, such as repetitive audits or investigations, excessive fines, penalties, threats, retaliation or other unfair actions by a federal agency.

ARSA’s comment (effectively a complaint designed to initiate the ombudsman’s review of an issue) requests that SBA investigate the FAA’s aggressive enforcement of the requirement that repair stations possess “current” versions of maintenance manuals (14 CFR. § 145.109(d)) while the agency fails to enforce the regulation requiring design approval holders (i.e., manufacturers) to create and make that same maintenance data available (14 CFR. § 21.50(b)).  Due to this inequity, many repair station small businesses face unnecessary administrative and financial burdens and significant loss of business opportunities.

While the ombudsman’s office does not have the authority to change FAA policy, it can investigate small business issues and work with regulatory agencies to resolve matters. Additionally, the ombudsman’s annual report to Congress highlights unfair regulatory activities and can lay the foundation for legislative queries and action.

“ARSA has attempted to work with the FAA for more than three decades to bring consistency to the agency’s application of its rules. Unfortunately, our concerns have failed to elicit serious consideration or any discernible action,” ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod said.

“We’re left with no choice but to use every available avenue to spotlight the agency’s failure to act and to make other agencies in the executive branch and the Congress aware of how FAA’s inequities are hurting small businesses,” MacLeod said.

ARSA has developed a toolkit to assist individual companies in filing similar comments with the SBA national ombudsman. To access it, click here.

To review ARSA’s complete comment, click here.



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