Paragraph 14, for those who do not have it to hand, covers the responsibilities of aircraft repair stations to report “serious” failures, malfunctions or defects to the FAA within 96 hours.
An infinitely sensible approach to monitoring aircraft maintenance, enabling the regulator to spot potential safety issues that might need to be addressed in the wider fleet.
However, in its revision of paragraph 14 published on August 12, and which comes into effect today (November 10), the FAA had removed the word “serious”; leaving MRO providers in the US with the prospect of having to report every repair they undertook.
ARSA spotted the dramatic and costly implications of the seven-letter change and joined forces with bodies such as A4A, the Aerospace Industries Association, the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Cargo Airline Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, to petition the FAA in September to reinsert the word.
After weeks of suspense, and just three days before the revised rules were to come into force, on Friday (November 7) the FAA directed the reinsertion of the word “serious” into 145.221(a).
The collective sigh of relief should have been audible on this side of the pond.
Sarah MacLeod, ARSA’s executive director, said: “The new rule has almost 7,500 words, and we found the most serious error – the seven absent letters that were going to cause our members a world of trouble.
“With the regulatory record on our side, the industry got the agency’s attention. Together, we made things right.”
It just goes to show that attention to detail is important in every aspect of MRO. Without the keen eyes of those at ARSA and similar bodies, and without the FAA’s willingness to ensure common sense prevails, today’s Talking Point would have been a very different story.