WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thanks to a coalition of aviation trade associations and the responsiveness of the FAA, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) will retain seven important letters. The word “serious” has been reinserted into the paragraph of 14 CFR part 145 requiring repair stations to report failures, malfunctions or defects in articles received for work to the agency within 96 hours.
The coalition included the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA), the Aerospace Industries Association, the Aircraft Electronics Association, Airlines for America, the Cargo Airline Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the National Air Carrier Association and the National Air Transportation Association.
It petitioned the FAA on Sept. 22 to reinsert the word “serious” in the new repair station rule before the Nov. 10 effective date.
More than 40 industry members submitted supportive comments highlighting that a plain reading of the service difficulty reporting requirement without the seven-letter word would mean submitting information on everything that comes through the door — repair stations only receive articles that need work because of failures, malfunctions or defects, officials noted.
On Nov. 7, the Federal Register posted the FAA’s direction to reinsert “serious” in 145.221(a), saving incalculable cost for both itself and also the private businesses it regulates, ARSA officials said.
The rule, as it was written in August, would have imposed onerous burdens on maintenance providers and their customers, as well as agency inspectors, but generated no additional revenue for industry members and – most importantly – no improvements to safety for the flying public.
“Our system worked,” said Sarah MacLeod, ARSA’s executive director, about the months-long process of getting the agency to correct its misstep. “The new rule has almost 7,500 words, and we found the most serious error – the seven absent letters that were going to cause our members a world of trouble. With the regulatory record on our side, the industry got the agency’s attention. Together, we made things right.”
In the days leading up to the correction, ARSA provided its members with strategies and resources for dealing with the new rule in the event that “serious” was not re-inserted in time.
“It’s our responsibility,” MacLeod said. “Even as we are fixing an issue, we make sure members are ready for its potential impact on their businesses. In this case, that extra work turned out to be unnecessary.”