Awash with negative comments regarding its proposed air carrier contract maintenance requirements rules, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has extended the original February 11 comment period to March 13. The proposed rule would change the maintenance regulations for domestic, flag and supplemental operations, and commuter and on-demand operations for aircraft type certified with 10 or more passenger seats (excluding any pilot seat).
United States administrative law
Changes and amendments to FAA Operations Specifications (OpSpecs) often serve as a proxy for agency rulemaking or regulation, thus bypassing prescribed channels, according to a government-industry rulemaking committee.
The Consistency of Regulatory Interpretation (CRI) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) found that the proliferation of OpSpecs creates inconsistent application and confusion among operators. To address this confusion, the committee recommended that the FAA periodically review the reasons for each OpSpecs paragraph.
An unsuccessful bidder for the FAA’s $332 million Data Comm Integrated Services (DCIS) acquisition is protesting the contract award made to Harris last September.
At the request of Congress, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general’s (IG) office has launched an audit into FAA efforts to improve the safety of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) operations. The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in 2009–but never a final rule–to address HEMS safety concerns and the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 requires that the FAA take specific actions to improve HEMS safety, including promotion of the use of night-vision goggles.
The FAA has determined that its December 2011 rulemaking on pilot flight duty and rest requirements for Part 121 passenger carriers was correct in excluding all-cargo operators from the stricter rules.
The public is invited to the FAA’s aviation rulemaking advisory committee meeting on December 6 beginning at 1 p.m. at the agency’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. The meeting’s agenda includes recommendations from working groups such as those covering rulemaking prioritization, airmen testing standards and training, flight controls harmonization and airworthiness assurance. More information is available from the FAA’s Renee Butner at (202) 267-5093, or via e-mail at Renee.Butner@faa.gov.
Last week the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (Arsa) submitted its comments on the FAA’s rewrite of the federal regulation governing repair stations, urging the FAA to issue a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking that incorporates the substantive comments made by the association and other interested parties that will help the agency more ably meet industry needs and maintain the highest standards of safety
The FAA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to revise FAR Part 145 repair station certification and regulation has incurred the wrath of industry. In the more than 300 responses, a number that increases daily as the November 19 cutoff date approaches, it is difficult to find anyone supporting it though there are a few.
Change can be good, but in the case of the current FAA notice of proposed rulemaking NPRM) regarding FAR Part 145, Aircraft Electronics Association president Paula Derks cautions NBAA’12 attendees to watch out. “This proposal makes wholesale changes to the avionics industry with damaging and costly repercussions,” she said.