The FAA is amending maintenance regulations, removing the task of updating some databases from the preventive maintenance category effective Jan. 28, 2013. Previously, because database updating was listed as preventive maintenance in FAR Part 43 Appendix A, pilots were allowed to perform the updates only on aircraft that they own or operate, but not on commercially operated aircraft. This is because Part 43.3, paragraph (g) allows only pilots who own or operate aircraft not flown under Parts 121, 129 or 135 to conduct preventive maintenance.
The rule change adds paragraph (k) to 43.3, which clearly states that “Updates of databases in installed avionics meeting the conditions of this paragraph are not considered maintenance and may be performed by pilots.”
Some constraints apply, in that the database must be uploadable from the flight deck, without disassembling avionics and without tools or special equipment. Other requirements specify the required procedures.