FAA Proposal Would Allow Pilots To Load Nav Updates

 - October 20, 2011, 3:30 PM

A notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) issued yesterday by the FAA would allow pilots of aircraft operated under Parts 121, 125, 129, 133, 135 and 137 to update navigation and terrain awareness databases of their aircraft instead of having the task done by certified mechanics or repair stations.

Currently, only pilots of aircraft operated under Part 91 are allowed to perform the update. The effect of this rule would be to ensure that pilots using specified navigation equipment have the most current and accurate navigational data and thereby increase aviation safety. The NPRM amends the maintenance regulations by removing from the preventive maintenance category the task of updating databases used in self-contained, front-panel or pedestal-mounted navigation equipment.

The FAA said that navigation systems affected by this rulemaking could be updated easily using a simple procedure that pilots can perform without special training or specialized equipment. The regulation that allows only authorized mechanics and repair stations to upload the most current data imposes a burden on the system in terms of workloads and demands on the National Airspace System, the FAA said in the NPRM. The comment period on the NPRM closes December 19.