FAA Extends Comment Period for Proposed A&P-IA Policy Change
December 2, 2010 — Addressing EAA and the Vintage Aircraft Association (VAA) concerns over the FAA’s proposed policy change regarding inspection authorizations for part-time mechanics, the agency granted a request from EAA to extend the comment period to January 17, 2011. The concern is that the revised policy would allow an FAA air safety inspector (ASI) to subjectively reject an IA application/renewal if the ASI deems the level of mechanic’s work does not meet the standard for “actively engaged.”
The specific wording of the proposed policy is confusing because it appears to give the ASI more, not less, ability to make an arbitrary decision regarding the first-time application or renewal of an IA. EAA and VAA believe the proposed policy should be revised to maintain the current level of part-time IAs and encourage mechanics who are eligible to apply for an inspection authorization.
While not a notice of proposed rulemaking, the policy and its revision have far-reaching implications for those who apply their professional skills as an IA on a part-time basis. As published in the Federal Register, the policy is intended to provide ASIs with a more tightly defined definition of “actively engaged.” The FAA intends to enforce the new policy when the IA renewal cycle begins on March 31, 2011.
EAA and VAA recommend the agency clarify the process for both first-time applications and renewals within FAA Order 8900.1, Chapter 5. In that way an applicant can be assured that ASIs will make their determination regarding eligibility by using the current Federal Aviation Regulations as the only criteria, and the agency should ensure that an ASI cannot subjectively reject an application based on non-relevant information. We will continue to work with the agency toward the best possible solution for EAA members, general aviation mechanics, and the pilots who rely on their professional services.
EAA urges its members to submit comments to the proposed policy. You can review it here. Comments can be submitted electronically starting here. Begin the process on that page by entering the docket number FAA-2010-1060 in the “Enter Keyword or ID” window. For additional information and continuous conversation on this topic, visit the Red Barn Forum at Oshkosh365.