On May 21, 2003, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published Change 16 to its Flight Standards Service Airworthiness Inspector's Handbook Order 8300.10. Change 16 is in response to AOPA's continued request that the FAA improve field approval service nationwide, and to correct problems with field approvals that arose after the FAA issued Change 15 in September 2002.
FAA inspectors issue field approvals for a major aircraft alteration that does not require detailed engineering analysis. The field approval process is a vital part of the life-blood of the general aviation fleet. General aviation operators nationwide rely on field approvals to safely enhance their operations and safely maintain their aging aircraft. Examples of major alterations include but are not limited to: major aircraft restorations, certain avionic installations, wingtip strobes, generator-to-alternator conversions, drum-to-disc brake conversions, landing gear alterations, engine and propeller alterations, and instrument panel alterations.
Change 16 to FAA Flight Standards Service Airworthiness Inspector's Handbook Order 8300.10 includes the following significant changes over Change 15:
Order 8300.10 Volume 2 Chapter 1 - Perform Field Approvals Of Major Repairs And Major Alterations -
The changes to 8300.10 Vol 2 Ch 1 - Field Approvals will not immediately apply to Alaskan operators. Per an agreement with the Alaskan general aviation industry, this change will be effective after two years in order to put in place the necessary infrastructure and resources.
Change 16 also includes other revisions to FAA Order 8300.10 -
General aviation operators nationwide rely on field approvals to safely enhance their operations and safely maintain their aging aircraft. With its recent policy change, the FAA is attempting to improve and standardize field approval service nationwide, which did not happen when it issued Change 15, most notably in Alaska. AOPA hopes that the implementation of Change 16 will restore nationwide FAA field approval service back to where it was prior to the recent policy change and improve from there. AOPA's goal is to make sure that the FAA's field approval policy is "user friendly" and robust. AOPA will continue to work with the FAA to ensure that aircraft operators have access to this important process.