August 14, 2014
By Dan Namowitz
The FAA has published a final rule that strengthens some enforcement provisions of its certificated repair station regulations but drops a broad-brush overhaul of the rules that encountered the “general dissatisfaction” of the aviation industry.
AOPA was among organizations that advocated for a scaling-back of the original notice of proposed rulemaking’s scope, citing “its potential negative impact on the availability of maintenance for General Aviation aircraft owners and operators; the lack of safety benefits related to several of the proposed revisions; and the likely unintended consequences of the proposed changes."
The association welcomed the FAA’s response to the industry’s comments, said Rob Hackman, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs.
In releasing the final rule that will take effect Nov. 5, the FAA said it had received more than 230 comments on the proposal—the majority expressing “serious concerns” about the majority of the proposed changes.
Limited agency resources “to perform recertification of all currently certificated repair stations while continuing to certificate new repair stations” during a planned transition period were also a commonly-raised concern, the FAA said.
As finalized, the amendment of the rules focuses on enforcement and oversight. One provision will allow the FAA to deny an application for a repair station certificate “if the applicant or certain associated key individuals had materially contributed to the circumstances that caused a previous repair station certificate revocation action.” The provision was a response to a National Transportation Safety Board recommendation arising from a maintenance-related fatal accident.
A related change will provide authority for civil penalties and certificate revocation for fraudulent or intentionally false “entry or omission of material facts” made under repair station rules. That safeguard has been lacking under current rules, the FAA said.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor.
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