Compliance Countdown: April 2014

 - April 7, 2014, 4:35 AM

Within 6 Months

March 26, 2014:

Use of Mobile Wireless Devices for Voice Calls on Aircraft

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking comment on the effects and implications of adopting a rule to ban voice communications on passengers’ mobile wireless devices on flights within, to and from the U.S. Although the comment period has officially passed for this advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), the DOT said it will consider late-filed comments to the extent practicable. In addition, ANPRMs are generally followed by a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently issued an NPRM that if adopted would, among other things, revise the FCC’s prohibition on the use of cellphones or other mobile wireless devices to make it possible for aircraft operators to permit passengers to make or receive calls on board aircraft. The FCC’s proposal to revise its rules was prompted by the availability of new technology and would provide the benefit of expanded access to mobile wireless services on board aircraft, including data, text and voice services. However, under the DOT’s aviation consumer protection authority, the department is seeking comment on whether voice calls on aircraft constitute an unfair practice to consumers and/or are inconsistent under air transportation laws, and if so whether such calls should be banned or restricted (for example, prohibiting voice calls at nighttime). [Docket No. DOT-OST-2014-0002]

May 28, 2014:

Changes to Production Certificates and Approvals

The FAA is proposing changes to its certification procedures and identification requirements for aeronautical products and articles. The proposed changes would: require production approval holders to identify an accountable manager who would be responsible for, and have authority over, their production operations and serve as the primary contact with the FAA; allow production approval holders to issue authorized release documents for aircraft engines, propellers and articles; permit production certificate holders to manufacture and install interface components; require production approval holders to ensure that each supplier-provided product, article, or service conforms to the production approval holder’s requirements and establish a supplier-reporting process for products, articles or services that have been released from or provided by the supplier and subsequently found not to conform to the production approval holder’s requirements; and remove the requirement that fixed-pitch wooden propellers be marked using an approved fireproof method. The FAA said this notice of proposed rulemaking is necessary to update its regulations by revising certification and marking requirements to reflect the current global aeronautical manufacturing environment, thereby promoting aviation safety. [Docket No. FAA-2013-0933]

July 4, 2014:

Taws Equipage for Canadian Aircraft with Six or More Passenger Seats

Transport Canada (TC) announced on July 4, 2012, new regulations that would improve safety for small aircraft that fly into remote wilderness or mountainous areas where the danger of flying into terrain is highest. Under the new regulations, commercial operators will have to install a terrain awareness and warning system (Taws) in turbine-powered airplanes with six or more passenger seats. Operators will have two years from implementation to equip their airplanes with Taws. The regulations comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards and bring Canadian regulations close to those of other aviation authorities, including the U.S. and European Union. Canada’s TSB also recommended the wider use of Taws to help pilots assess their proximity to terrain. Operators will have five years to equip with an enhanced altitude accuracy function.

Jan. 1, 2017:

European Union Tcas Version 7.1 Rule

The FAA has published an Information for Operators regarding an EU mandate that certain operators use the latest version 7.1 of the traffic alert and collision avoidance system (Tcas II) software. Although the International Civil Aviation Organization does not require that version 7.1 software be installed for international flights in new and existing aircraft until Jan. 1, 2014, and Jan. 1, 2017, respectively, the EU mandated that all aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds or with an authorized capacity to carry 19 passengers have the upgrade installed by April 1 this year. However, aircraft with Tcas II version 7.0 that were certified before April 1 this year have an extended deadline of Dec. 1, 2015, to comply with the mandate. The FAA recommends that operators of aircraft with Tcas II installed and that plan on operating in EU airspace need to ensure that version 7.1 software is installed to comply with the EU implementing rule.