FAA Sits on Part 135 Seat Bulletin
At the request of the National Air Transportation Association, the FAA has suspended the August 31 date for Part 135 operators to comply with airworthiness bulletin HBAW 04-06E while it considers proposed rulemaking that would replace the term “type certificated” with “seating configuration.” The revision, urged by the NATA, would allow methods other than a type certificate change to be an acceptable means of altering seating configurations. To bring aircraft into a nine or fewer passenger seat configuration so that they meet less stringent maintenance and operation programs, the bulletin mandates the physical removal of seats, which would have to be done under an STC or amended TC. Blocking or placarding seats to meet this regulation would no longer be acceptable, even if previously approved by the FAA. Aircraft type certified with 10 or more passenger seats must comply with more stringent maintenance programs. Other elements of the bulletin that determine whether an installed seat is to be included in the passenger seating count remain in place and are effective.