July 25, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
The FAA is seeking comments on a new informational resource that it hopes will accelerate the often-lengthy process of reviewing and issuing field approvals of aircraft modifications.
Responding to concerns raised about the process by AOPA and the Alaska Airmen’s Association, the FAA said it is seeking ways to streamline a review process that currently takes a minimum of six weeks—and often, more—for even such minor modifications as operating an aircraft with slightly oversized tires.
At the core of the revised field approval process is an online document, currently in beta or test mode, known as a job aid for major repair and alteration data approval. The 64-page document provides information, procedural guidance, and some clarifications of policy for mechanics and flight standards inspectors who handle field approvals.
Pilots and aircraft mechanics with an interest in aircraft modification are encouraged to review the document that includes a feedback form that can be used to email their comments promptly to the FAA.
“Revisions to the review process are expected to ease the situation, particularly in Alaska where aircraft are frequently modified to deal with challenging operating conditions,” said AOPA Alaska Regional Manager Tom George.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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