Avionics News February 2013 - 15
... There is no free lunch. We must devote
time to learning and understanding the
regulations, and we must be willing and able
to challenge our challengers.
Regional meetings (Europe and Latin America). The cycle
started with Canada in 2012, and rotated through the AEA
Regional Meetings schedule. In 2013, the AEA will offer
SMS coordinator training at the 56th annual AEA International Convention & Trade Show, as well as each of the AEA
Regional Meetings. Remember, in order to participate in the
AEA SMS program, each company SMS coordinator (safety
manager) must attend the SMS coordinator training. Each
employee also must attend training; however, that training is
offered as a Web-based online training course.
Regulatory Cost-Cutting: The New Normal
Now add the government austerity measures being implemented worldwide to this year’s scheduled regulatory changes. Each civil aviation agency the AEA works with is becoming increasingly cost conscious. Actually, most of them were
pretty efficient before the government fiscal spending issue
appeared in the international news headlines. Travel budgets
have been slashed; training money is nonexistent; and we are
seeing hiring freezes throughout the agencies worldwide. The
agency personnel are being asked to do more with less, including fewer facilities, less resources and fewer personnel.
So, what are we going to do about this? We could lobby
our legislators and politicians to have “our” agency funded
with unlimited resources available 365 days a year – but then
we would need to pay for it with higher taxes, or user fees.
Or, maybe, we need to learn how to work in this new normal
Therefore, the motto for regulatory training in 2013 is
working in the new normal.
I had an interesting conversation with a mechanic in central Florida who also has an inspection authorization. The
conversation reinforced the new normal. This individual is
well versed in the Federal Aviation Regulations. He had performed an alteration to an aircraft that he determined to be a
minor alteration. I reviewed his data and concur that this particular alteration was, in fact, a minor alteration. This A&P/
IA followed all of the appropriate data and recordkeeping
requirements specified in Part 43. The aircraft was subsequently sold, and during a pre-buy inspection, the buyer’s
consultant A&P rejected the alteration. Because of the economics of selling the aircraft, the under-educated A&P’s
ignorant, unsupported opinion caused an over-regulation of
the industry and increased administrative burden and cost to
the seller A&P.
A few years ago, one AEA member shop removed an inoperable 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitter and replaced it with a new 406 MHz ELT. The shop performed an
analysis of major or minor using the checklist available on
the AEA website. It determined the retrofit of the ELT was,
in fact, a minor alteration. Two years later, the aircraft was
undergoing an annual inspection by a different maintenance
facility. The IA performing the annual inspection rejected
the minor alteration declaration, would not approve the annual inspection and would not return the aircraft to service.
This essentially held the aircraft ransom until the owner capitulated to the IA’s demands.
More recently, on the East Coast, I was called by the FAA
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