FAA Amends ETOPS Rule

 - June 17, 2008, 11:17 AM

Effective yesterday, the FAA officially amended the regulations governing extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS) of turbine-powered airplanes operated by airlines and on-demand charter passenger-carrying operations. A final ETOPS rule was issued in January, but it did not “accurately reflect the intent of the FAA to have a qualified mechanic perform the ETOPS pre-departure service check even though this intent is clearly stated in the preamble.” The rule established regulations governing the design, operation and maintenance of certain airplanes operated on flights involving long distances from an adequate airport. The agency’s latest amendment to the ETOPS rule “clarifies the qualifications of individuals who certify by signature” this pre-departure service check for ETOPS flights. In the U.S., an A&P mechanic with airplane- and engine-specific, as well as ETOPS, training typically does this. Outside the U.S., the FAA allowed the check to be accomplished by trained maintenance personnel who work for a repair station or Part 121 operator, even though the final rule didn’t convey this. The FAA amendment now codifies this out-of-U.S. practice for Part 121 and Part 135 operators.