In what the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (Arsa) is calling a major victory for the aviation industry, the FAA withdrew its “faulty legal interpretation” of maintenance duty time limitations prescribed in FAR 121.377. Specifically, the agency reversed course on its May 18, 2010 legal interpretation meant to clarify the application of the rest provisions and equivalency standards under the regulation. However, according to Arsa, the FAA erroneously concluded that the rule rigidly required one day off out of every seven days.
“It is unfortunate that Arsa had to intervene in this matter; the plain language of the regulation was absolutely clear. It had been interpreted before and the agency had clear guidance from the courts in the Alaska Professional Hunter case that it can’t change horses in the middle of the stream when applying or interpreting rules. Instead, it has to change the rule. Even the unions agreed with our position,” Sarah MacLeod, Arsa’s executive director, told AIN.
After two years, the agency agreed with Arsa’s position. In a Dec. 26, 2012 response to ARSA, the FAA acknowledged its error and stated, “The requirement for equivalency lies in the amount of rest given, not in the way the schedule itself operates or is developed.”