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FAA Adopts EAA-Backed Changes to New IA Policy

August 11, 2011 – The FAA this week issued its final revised inspection authority (IA) renewal policy, which included a broader interpretation of “actively engaged” than the agency originally proposed in 2010. EAA, the Vintage Aircraft Association, and Warbirds of America opposed the original proposed definition because it threatened the renewal of valued part-time IAs. So the groups provided suggested language changes, and the FAA essentially agreed with them.

The original language read, “Applicants who are employed full time in inspecting, overhauling…” Final language removed language requiring “employed full time” and reads, “Applicants who inspect, overhaul…” This means IAs who are part time, supervisory, specialists, or who work solely on their own aircraft should not be considered any differently than “full time” IAs during the renewal cycle.

“We’re pleased the FAA has chosen a fairly broad interpretation of the term ‘actively engaged’ so that mechanics who serve the GA community with deep knowledge of a particular aircraft type won’t be excluded from exercising the privileges of their Inspection Authorization just because they’re not active every day of the week,” remarked H.G. Frautschy, VAA executive director.

Another EAA-backed change removed a required separate evaluation of part-time IA renewal applications by aviation safety inspectors. This means ASIs must treat all IA renewal requests on an equal basis.

“These changes show that the FAA listens to the concerns of the aviation community,” said Randy Hansen, EAA government relations director. “EAA strongly advocated that all IAs must be treated equally during the renewal cycle. To do otherwise would harm the ability of general aviation aircraft owners to maintain their aircraft in a timely manner during annual inspections, major changes, and other critical maintenance procedures.”

EAA will be contacting FAA management to clarify the intent of a note related to refresher training course attendance intended for paragraph 5-1309, which seeks to limit the ability of a mechanic to use a refresher course as the sole means of renewal criteria. EAA will report on these findings in a future story.

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