It’s one world now in aviation maintenance, even if some nations are a bit grumpy about the world. To help MROs understand where regulation is heading, the U.S. Aeronautical Repair Station Association was briefed by regulators from three continents on where each agency was heading and how they are trying to work together.
Helio Tarquino Junior, general manager of the Continuous Airworthiness General Branch at the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC), explained some basics of how aviation regulation works in Brazil.
Distinctively, accidents are investigated by the Brazilian Air Force, not ANAC. And ANAC itself has gone through some changes, with five new directors since the impeachment of Brazil’s president last year.
The agency tends to accept MRO services from other countries, so long as these countries’ regulations are similar to ANAC’s. ANAC has been active in working to collaborate more closely with the U.S., Canada and the EU. It is now developing Maintenance
Implementation Procedures with the U.S., and Junior expects to sign a MIP agreement by the end of 2017.
International collaboration is important to Brazil, a major aviation market and home of one the four largest manufacturers of commercial aircraft. ANAC certifies a total of 732 maintenance organizations, 515 in Brazil and 217 outside Brazil. 58% of the latter are in the U.S.
The Brazilian regulators are now starting implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMS), with 120 specialists working with Brazil’s 515 MROs.
Thomas Mickler, EASA’s representative in the U.S., told the ARSA attendees that a lot of applications for renewal of EASA shop approvals still came in late, which jeopardized approvals. Some attendees said they had submitted on time, but their applications were apparently lost or never received. The necessity of both submitting on time and checking that submissions were received was emphasized by several speakers.
Mickler said about a fifth of shops visited by EASA inspectors still lose approvals, due to inadequate quality assurance, audits and out-of-date component maintenance manuals.
EASA is itself beginning with SMS implementation, starting with airlines and continued airworthiness maintenance organizations. Mickler expects to have regulations in place for these firms by late 2017. But he does not expect to have regulations for Part 145 repair shops in place until the fourth quarter of 2020. He says “we would like to stay in tune with the U.S, or we will have to have special conditions [attached to U.S.-EU agreements on accepting each other’s regulatory approvals].”
Timothy Shaver, manager of FAA’s Aircraft Maintenance Division, stressed the transformation of FAA from primarily an enforcement agency that often acted only after accidents or other problems happened to an agency that seeks to collaborate with industry to spot potential problems before they occur, and “find, fix and monitor,” safety issues much more proactively. That means shops have to be pro-active too and encourage the reporting that will spot problems and build up the Big Data that both firms and regulators can exploit. If not, enforcement is still available.
FAA’s work on SMSs for repair shops “is a work in progress,” Shaver told the ARSA attendees.