GA pilots and owners now have a louder voice in the FAA's airworthiness directive decision-making process, through AOPA, type clubs, and the aviation industry as a whole.
The FAA told AOPA in a recent meeting that it will now include engine and propeller issues in the airworthiness concern process (ACP). The ACP is a cooperative effort between the aviation industry and the FAA to allow industry input in the development of airworthiness issues before, or even in lieu of, a proposed or final AD. The ACP has been in place for nearly two years now to deal with airframe issues. Now the FAA's Engine and Propeller Directorate will seek industry input as well. And that increases the likelihood of the FAA developing less costly, less intrusive fixes for known problems.
"This agreement will result in substantial increase in AOPA's and other interested parties' participation in the AD process," said Lance Nuckolls, AOPA director of regulatory and certification policy. "AOPA, aircraft type clubs, and other organizations can now rely on the FAA to solicit their participation in the development of all airframe, engine, and propeller concerns before any official rulemaking begins."
As the GA fleet continues to age and manufacturer support continues to dwindle, increased industry participation in the development of airworthiness actions is necessary to ensure the continued operational viability of the GA piston fleet. AOPA is pleased that the FAA has agreed to expand ACP to include engine- and propeller-related concerns and is confident that expansion of ACP into this new area will produce very favorable results.
AOPA Online serves as the "central hub" for distribution of airworthiness concern sheets to aircraft type clubs and submittal of type-club comments to the FAA. For more information, see the regulatory brief on AOPA Online.