This letter is a response to your article “Is a computer required equipment to fly?” in the Jan. 11 issue, and Lieutenant Colonel Burdon L. Davidson USAF (ret.), and his inability to locate pertinent information in keeping his aircraft in compliance with the Airworthiness Directives issued by the FAA.
As an A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) or A&E (Airframe and Engine), as it was years ago when he probably obtained his license, he is not responsible for the task of researching AD Notes, although I commend him for doing so, and wish more non-IA A&Ps would be as diligent.
It is the responsibility of his IA to research the AD Notes, and other related information, when performing an annual inspection. As an A&P, Lt. Col. Davidson cannot perform an Annual Inspection, only his IA can. As an A&P with an IA endorsement, his IA is compelled to comply with CFR 14, FAR 65.91 (4), which states, “Have available to him the equipment, facilities, and inspection data necessary to properly inspect airframes, powerplants, propellers, or any related part or appliance.” The operative words being inspection data. This means that the IA must maintain a regulatory library of his own, either from the many publishers that offer this information in many types of media, or through the Internet on many different sites, such as the FAA at FAA.gov, or have access to this information. A regulatory library on CD-ROM will cost several hundred dollars for a year’s subscription. It’s pricey, but what in aviation isn’t? That’s just part of the cost of being in business. The alternative is to catch up to the rest of the world and get a computer, or find someone who has a computer. Lt. Col. Davidson’s IA must have a source that he uses. They should consult with each other about this issue before the work begins.
I don’t see why Lt. Col. Davidson feels that the FAA should send him AD Notes particular to his aircraft each time one is issued against his aircraft. There are too many variables, such as what equipment exists on his aircraft, for the government to keep track of his scenario. That is why this responsibility lies with the IA.
As far as SAIBs are concerned, I routinely receive these and other SIs, SBs, MSBs, MSIs, etc., from either the FAA or the component manufacturer.
Furthermore, it is not the FAA’s responsibility to make sure that the A&P/IA has the complete “inspection data.” It is the responsibility of the IA. He must obtain that information through whatever avenues are available. If Lt. Col Davidson wishes to obtain more up-to-date information particular to his Cessna, he should join an organization that supports his model and subscribe to its periodic newsletter. We cannot expect the FAA to be our “keepers,” as they can barely keep track of themselves.
In conclusion, Lt. Col. Davidson may not need a computer to fly his airplane proficiently, but he does need one to work on it.