The FAA next week will hold a users meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, at which the latest change to field approval policy will be discussed. The two-day meeting is primarily to discuss changes to FAR Part 145 repair stations but includes a lengthy session on field approvals for aircraft alterations.
"The FAA is hosting this meeting in an attempt to minimize misinterpretations of the changes to repair station regulations and the revised field approval policy," said AOPA Vice President Melissa Bailey. "The agency committed to hold a series of regional meetings with pilots and operators of Part 145 certificated repair stations after AOPA and other organizations warned the new regulations might be misunderstood."
The meeting will outline the FAA's plans to transition to the new Part 145 repair station regulations and the phased implementation of a revised field approval policy in Alaska.
FAA inspectors issue field approvals for a major alteration that does not require detailed engineering analysis, such as installing wing-tip strobes, converting generators to alternators, and converting drum brakes to disc. The field approval session will review the revised FAA guidance for designing an alteration, the expectations of the FAA for documenting the alteration, and how to apply for and receive FAA approval. Last October, the FAA issued a change to its field approval guidance that resulted in a breakdown of the process. After strong responses from the AOPA and the aviation community, the FAA acted quickly to suspend the change in Alaska and revert to the previous guidance.
On May 22, 2003, the FAA implemented new field approval guidance for the Flight Standards Service Airworthiness Inspector's Handbook 8300.10, known as "Change 16," but delayed implementation in Alaska and plans on phasing in the changes over the next 12 months.
The FAA's Part 145 rule that amends regulations for aeronautical repair stations was published in August 2001, but the FAA delayed nationwide implementation until October 3, 2003, while it develops guidance material for repair station operators.
There is no charge to attend this seminar, but participants must register online at www.aea.net by clicking on "FAA Part 145 Training Seminar Registration."