The FAA this week pushed back for the second time the effective date of changes to repair station regulations. AOPA and other aviation associations wrote letters in support of the delay, because rushing the rule would have ultimately increased costs for aircraft owners.
Under the rule, repair stations have to develop new manuals. To do so before the FAA issues guidelines and trains its own inspectors would inevitably lead to costly revisions of the manuals—costs that would be passed on to the aircraft owner in the form of higher repair costs.
"It would be counterproductive and an inefficient use of resources to implement the rule before publishing the guidance materials and before FAA employee training is completed," AOPA said in the letter "It will only serve to add to the affected repair station's costs of doing business without any safety benefit. Those added costs would also be passed on to consumers, in the cost of doing business."
Initially, the final rule was to become effective April 6, 2003, but was subsequently extended to October 3, 2003, and now to January 31, 2004.
The extension to the final rule effective date will help ensure a smooth transition to the new Part 145 without an undue economic burden to repair stations and ultimately the aircraft owners.