Compliance Countdown: May 2014

 - May 3, 2014, 4:30 AM

Within Six Months

May 16, 2014:

Drug and Alcohol Testing of Certain Maintenance Provider Employees Located Outside the U.S.

The FAA is considering amending its drug-and-alcohol-testing regulations to require drug-and-alcohol testing of certain maintenance personnel outside the U.S. Specifically, the agency is considering requiring certain air carriers to ensure that all employees of certified repair stations, and certain other maintenance organizations that are located outside the U.S., who perform safety-sensitive maintenance functions of an aircraft operated by that air carrier, are subject to a drug-and-alcohol-testing program that has been determined acceptable by the FAA Administrator and is consistent with the applicable laws of the country in which the repair station is located. Safety-sensitive maintenance functions include aircraft maintenance and preventive maintenance duties.

This action is necessary to address a statutory mandate included in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. The FAA has determined that it needs additional information to develop a proposed rule and assess its likely economic impact. This advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) invites comments on a variety of issues related to proposing drug-and-alcohol-testing requirements for the relevant employees of covered maintenance providers. [Docket No. FAA-2012-1058]

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.

Beyond 12 Months

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.