FAA wants airline-style regs for small repair stations

May 3, 2007

FAA wants airline-style regs for small repair stations

Aviation mechanic

The FAA is once again pushing a bad proposal that could put small repair stations out of business and increase maintenance costs for aircraft owners.

The proposal would require all repair stations, regardless of size or complexity, to expand their current quality control systems to meet international standards. By the FAA's own estimate, the new quality systems would burden about half of the small repair stations to the tune of $34,500 each.

"AOPA believes that many small shops will not be able to absorb the cost of complying with this mandate, particularly if they are a one- or two-person shop," AOPA wrote in its formal comments to the proposal.

Further, AOPA said that many of these repair stations may, after surrendering their certificates, continue to operate as individual mechanics or under inspection authorizations. They would not be exposed to the degree of surveillance currently directed toward FAA-certified repair stations, which would only reduce the agency's safety surveillance of the industry.

The proposal also calls for a "type rating" system that doesn't make sense for general aviation. The preamble to the proposal says that a repair station rated for Boeing 737s could not unilaterally add a Boeing 757 rating to its capability list. The FAA would require type ratings for different models of GA aircraft. In other words, a repair station that is authorized to work on Cessna 172s could not work on 182s, 206s, 210s, etc., unless these models were added to the shop's capability list, which would presumably require FAA approval.

"AOPA members have already told us that they are experiencing lengthy delays in obtaining certification services from the FAA...this will only aggravate this problem," AOPA continued.

AOPA has remained steadfast in its opposition to the changes ever since the FAA first proposed them in 1999. Members can comment on the proposal until April 16.

March 5, 2007