FAA has extended a key provision that allows U.S. repair stations with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification to inspect and approve parts that don’t have recently required EASA documentation.
The authority, detailed in FAA Notice 8900.429 targeting its repair-station inspectors, is intended to bridge a gap created by Maintenance Annex Guidance (MAG) Change 6, the latest update to the U.S.-E.U Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA).
Change 6, which when into effect in June 2016, mandated that all new parts entering a repair station have an airworthiness approval tag—an 8130-3 under FAA regulations. While EASA’s rules for production-approval holders (PAHs) require issuance of a tag, FAA’s PAH rules assume a part made under them is airworthy. Many U.S. parts-makers don’t take the extra step of issuing tags, as the requirement only affects parts going into the 1,400 U.S.based shops with dual FAA/EASA approvals.
The requirement is expected to be addressed--and either heavily modified or eliminated altogether--in MAG Change 7, but that update’s issuance has been delayed. The FAA work-around issued last year and set to expire this month was supposed to be superseded by an updated MAG. The new provision extends repair station inspection and tagging authority through August 8, 2018.
The Aviation Suppliers Association and the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) led a led a multi-organization effort to ensure the inspection authority was issued last year and then extended in light of the MAG 7 delays. Issuing the tags provides a “critical alternative path to compliance” until the situation can be addressed in the MAG, ARSA notes.
While the new authority helps repair stations navigate the regulatory challenge, U.S. parts distributors remain without a solution.
Many of them have parts in their inventory that don’t have 8130-3s, and a temporary FAA fix—a program granting distributors a slimmed-down designee authority to tag some parts—is set to run out next month. FAA has no plans to extend the program. The Aviation Suppliers Association is leading a coalition urging FAA to find a solution.