The FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) pushed back introduction of a key provision in the newest maintenance regulatory guidance shared by the agencies, citing input from repair stations that need more time to work the changes into their procedures.
The change says that EASA-certified U.S. repair stations “must” receive a Form 8130-3 airworthiness approval with each new component it gets from a U.S. parts manufacturer earmarked for installation on a European-registered aircraft. Previous guidance said that such documentation “should” be included, creating ambiguity.
Part of a September 2015 update—Maintenance Annex Guidance Change 5 (MAG CHG 5)—that supplements the U.S.-European Union Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement, the change created an instant regulatory conflict. Before the guidance update, U.S. production approval holders (PAH) could not issue 8130-3s—only the FAA or an FAA-approved designee could.
The FAA moved quickly to amend its parts certification procedures, spelled out in part 21 of its rules, so PAHs can issue 8130-3s without relying on a designee. Working with industry, the FAA agreed to time the rule’s effective date with the new MAG’s introduction on April 1, 2016.
The FAA extension also clarified that the new requirement would not be applied retroactively to any parts in a repair station’s inventory as of the effective date.
While the extra time was welcomed, some in the repair station community, concerned that they needed more time to work the new procedures into their quality systems, lobbied for even more time. The Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) led the rallying cry on behalf of the repair stations—and netted another six months, to Oct. 1.
“Unfortunately, implementing the changes to part 21 . . . is taking longer than stakeholders expected,” the FAA explained in an April 1 e-mail to its safety inspectors. “Both the FAA and EASA were asked by several industry stakeholders to extend the implementation date of MAG CHG 5 requirements” for 8130-3 inclusion. The FAA is revising its inspector guidance, specifically Notice 8900.336, to reflect the change.
ARSA calls the latest extension key to ensuring a smooth transition.
“Having earned the original extension from December 2015 to April, the association persuaded both agencies that industry circumstances demanded another postponement,” the association says. “While we are relieved to finally have agreement, much work remains to fully implement” the new procedures.