The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is revising a key rule that governs instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA)—the manuals and other instructions that maintenance providers are entitled to have to ensure articles are maintained in accordance with regulations.
The change was prompted in part by two accidents linked to failure to follow required maintenance actions. In one, involving the manual shutdown of an engine on a Icelandair Boeing 757 and subsequent emergency landing in June 2009, an engine's low-pressure fuel pump failed due to extensive wear—required maintenance, included in the component maintenance manual, was not incorporated into Icelandair's maintenance program.
EASA's answer is to incorporate ICA into type certificates. "The specific objective…is to establish clear requirements and responsibilities for all parties involved in the production of ICA, their approval and their implementation. The new [guidance material], for their format and their link with supplier’s documentation, will increase the consistency of ICA between manufacturers," EASA explains in the proposed rule. "Therefore, the implementation of ICA by the end-users will be improved."
The Aeronautical Repair Station Association—a team of lawyers and aviation maintenance experts that arguably knows more about ICA than any organization, regulatory or otherwise—says that EASA's proposal would not do much to alter how ICA are made available.
"Availability of the ICA would not significantly change as it would require both the ICA and any subsequent changes to be made available to anyone required to comply with those instructions, such as owner/operators, approved maintenance organizations and continuing airworthiness management organizations (CAMO)," ARSA says.
EASA is taking public input on the NPA through April. The agency's goal is to have new regulations and guidance in place in late 2019.