Most maintainers believe that the aviation industry focuses on the flight 99.9 percent of the time, allotting the remaining 0.1 percent for the other aviation specialties. While those numbers certainly are exaggerated, the reality is that flight-deck issues receive much more attention than any other. That could be because pilot error is the number-one cause of aircraft accidents today.
Civil aviation authorities
Aviation is an industry where the various factions often have nothing in common beyond the air in which they travel. But there is something that operators of Cessna 152s, Learjets and Boeing 747s have in common–maintenance. When the FAA announced an update of Part 145 repair stations was in the offing, the industry turned out in full force, filing hundreds of comments about the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
Prompted in part by NTSB recommendations arising from the July 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island, the FAA has developed an enhanced airworthiness program for airplane systems (EAPAS) to increase awareness of wiring system degradation and improve both maintenance and design of electrical systems.
At a closed-to-the-press meeting between FAA officials and attendees of the NATA Aviation Business Roundtable on Monday, NATA president James Coyne accused the FAA of sowing confusion about operational control issues and carrying out a vendetta against AMI Jet Charter. “It was almost blood-boiling,” Coyne recalled.
Banyan Air Service is offering a 10-percent reduction on major inspections for King Airs and Citations through the end of this month. The company is located on Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, is FAA and EASA approved, and holds Argentine, Brazilian and Venezuelan government maintenance approvals. It is also a factory-authorized Beech, Commander and Pilatus service center.
Bombardier Aerospace has received key approvals from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the FAA to provide complete training, service and maintenance for the Bombardier Challenger 300. Both the EASA and the FAA have awarded full Part 145 approval to Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services (LBAS), located at Berlin-Schoenefeld Airport.
The structure of the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is undergoing a major overhaul as the government responds to constant pressure from the aviation industry to improve the agency. The changes, expected to be implemented next month, include the removal of CASA’s board of directors. The position of the director of aviation safety will be replaced by a full-time CEO.
Thomas McSweeny, who has been FAA associate administrator for regulation and certification since October 1998, is leaving the agency this month to join Boeing as its director of international safety and regulatory affairs. He will be prohibited from any contact with the agency for one year.
Next month’s scheduled adoption of the final fractional operation rules–Part 91 Subpart K–will likely reignite the controversy between the FAA, JAA and some European countries on what constitutes a private versus commercial aircraft operation. The JAA has no equivalent rule and doesn’t have plans to promulgate any, according to British aviation lawyer Ian Clark.
In a welcomed shift in policy, business aircraft operators may now forego the STC process when installing class-B terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS). That was the word handed down by the FAA’s certification branch to FSDOs recently, published as a flight standards airworthiness bulletin (FSAW 02-03A) directed to avionics safety inspectors.