September-October 2022 - 32

Maintenance Records
in the 21st Century
The FAA is responsible for the regulation and oversight of civil aviation within
the U.S. Its primary mission is to ensure the safety of civil aviation.
As part of its mission, the FAA's major responsibilities
* Regulating civil aviation to promote safety
* Encouraging and developing civil aeronautics,
including new aviation technology
* Developing and operating a system of air traffic
control and navigation for both civil and military
By Larry Hinebaugh
Larry Hinebaugh
is the executive
director of the nonprofit
The Foundation for
Business Aircraft
Records Excellence. He
is a 40-year veteran of
the Business Aviation
* Researching and developing the National
Airspace System and civil aeronautics
* Developing and carrying out programs to control
aircraft noise and other environmental effects of
civil aviation
Even with the FAA's stated mission of encouraging
and developing civil aeronautics, including
new aviation technology, the rules governing FAA
compliance - especially with respect to an aircraft's
maintenance history - are anything but new. Still
guided by the insight and knowledge we had available
to us when the agency was formed, the rules for
aircraft maintenance records have gone from practical,
to problematic, to borderline dysfunctional in
the decades following.
According to Title 14 CFR Part 91.417, for a maintenance
record to be a binding document in support
of the airworthiness of the aircraft, it must contain
the following:
* A description of the work performed
* The date of completion of the work performed
* The signature and certificate number of the person
approving the aircraft for return to service.
That seems clear enough. But it's not. At least not
when making a copy of this information. Most FAA
inspectors and Flight Standards District Offices
(FSDOs) in general have repeatably been advised
by FAA legal that there is precedent in the U.S.
court system that only original copies of CFR Part
43 documentation have been consistently accepted
in a court of law. This, of course, has caused quite a
bit of trepidation among both the FAA and industry.
So, what exactly is an original copy? When aviation
regulation guidelines were established decades
ago, a copy was obvious. Since there were no copy
machines, no personal computers, no high-quality
multi-color printers and no digital imagery, copies
were only made by one method: copy paper. A copy
was easily discernable because the copy was often
discolored due to the copy ink of the paper, severely
lacking in any kind of detail that would distinguish
it as a bona fide original, and often smudged from
handling the original and copy paper together.
But that world is now in the rearview mirror.
Today's world allows us to use any number of different
means and/or software programs to create
or modify and print a document.
This, of course, is the very essence of what the FAA
and the business aviation community are struggling
with. In an attempt to exercise some kind of control
over this brave new world, the FAA issued Advisory
Circular AC120-78 in 2003.
But it seems, AC120-78 has created as many problems
as it has tried to solve. Advisory Circulars, like
any forms of " guidance, " are not a set of rules that can
be used to judge whether the operator is adhering to
Title 14 or not. They are simply a set of guidelines to
follow if your desire is to stay compliant with FAA
recommendations. In other words, you can follow an
Advisory Circular to the letter, but that doesn't mean
the local FAA FSDO needs to accept them as a way
of your company operating its aircraft.
Herein lies the problem. Although an operator has
elected to follow an Advisory Circular to the letter in
order to make it easier for a local FSDO's inspector
to " accept " the procedure, it, unfortunately does not
guarantee that every FSDO will accept this procedure
as valid. Again, it is up to the FSDO's discretion. This
puts both the inspector at the local FSDO at risk of
misinterpretation of the guidelines, and the operator
at risk of having one FSDO accept this procedure,
only to have another FSDO decide the procedure is
" not acceptable " and invalid.
Continue reading

September-October 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of September-October 2022

Back in the Black
Industry Inspection
The Costs of Ground Damage
The Ins and Outs of NDT
Interior Refurbishments Without the Headache
Heston MRO Continues to Grow
Maintenance Records in the 21st C
Mid-terms: Some Seats Matter More
The Importance of the General & Business
M18 FUEL ¼" Blind Rivet Tool with ONE-KEY
Advertiser’s Ind
September-October 2022 - 1
September-October 2022 - 2
September-October 2022 - 3
September-October 2022 - Back in the Black
September-October 2022 - 5
September-October 2022 - Industry Inspection
September-October 2022 - 7
September-October 2022 - 8
September-October 2022 - 9
September-October 2022 - The Costs of Ground Damage
September-October 2022 - 11
September-October 2022 - 12
September-October 2022 - 13
September-October 2022 - 14
September-October 2022 - 15
September-October 2022 - 16
September-October 2022 - 17
September-October 2022 - The Ins and Outs of NDT
September-October 2022 - 19
September-October 2022 - Interior Refurbishments Without the Headache
September-October 2022 - 21
September-October 2022 - 22
September-October 2022 - 23
September-October 2022 - 24
September-October 2022 - 25
September-October 2022 - Heston MRO Continues to Grow
September-October 2022 - 27
September-October 2022 - 28
September-October 2022 - 29
September-October 2022 - 30
September-October 2022 - 31
September-October 2022 - Maintenance Records in the 21st C
September-October 2022 - Mid-terms: Some Seats Matter More
September-October 2022 - The Importance of the General & Business
September-October 2022 - 35
September-October 2022 - M18 FUEL ¼" Blind Rivet Tool with ONE-KEY
September-October 2022 - 37
September-October 2022 - 38
September-October 2022 - 39
September-October 2022 - 40
September-October 2022 - 41
September-October 2022 - Advertiser’s Ind
September-October 2022 - 43
September-October 2022 - 44