NATA: Database Updates Are Maintenance Tasks

 - September 16, 2009, 11:25 AM

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA), responding to recent member requests, issued a statement that clarifies FAA regulations that apply to updates of navigational databases used on modern avionics. The FAA changed the Part 43 Appendix A regulations in 1996, according to NATA, and classified database updates as preventive maintenance instead of maintenance. This change allowed pilots operating under Part 91 regulations to perform database updates, but as NATA noted, “for aircraft maintained under Part 135, the tasks must be completed by a technician. Many operators find this surprising, as typically navigational updates are very simple to accomplish using a memory flash drive or similar device.” And even though installing a database update seems like a simple task, because it is classified as a maintenance task the person performing the update must make a proper entry in the maintenance records, NATA noted. Preventive maintenance items listed in Part 43 Appendix A count as maintenance whether a pilot operating under Part 91 or an FAA-certified technician is performing the task.