Few regulatory issues frustrate the aviation MRO world—and the aircraft product manufacturing business in general, for that matter—more than duplicative rules. Recently, FAA and its EASA counterparts met to further streamline some of their largely similar, but hardly the same, sets of regulations that govern hundreds of operators that do businesses in both the U.S. and Europe.
The mid-September meeting covered several topics, including finalizing the sixth revision of guidance—formally known as technical implementation procedures (TIPs)—for airworthiness and environmental certification. Importantly, the TIPs dictate how type certificates granted by one regulator are validated by the other.
Validation happens in one of three ways: automatic acceptance, streamlined validation (which requires issuance of a new certificate), and technical validation (which means deeper involvement by the validating authority). The newest version of the TIP (TIP 6) expanded the types of validations in the automatic acceptance category. Effective next March, all technical standard order authorizations (TSOAs) will be mutually accepted. Currently, most are, but previous TIP versions required some exceptions.
TIP 6 also clears the way for mutual acceptance of all repair data, which the Aeronautical Repair Station Association notes completes a long road that began when EASA was founded in 2003. Then, European regulators wanted to approval all repair data for work done on anything with an EASA member state of registry. The regulators—urged by ARSA to reexamine the issue—soon backed the requirements down to cover only data on critical parts developed by a non-EASA certificate holder.
Under TIP 6, if such repairs have been approved by the "exporting authority," it will be considered approved by the state of registry.
EASA and FAA promise there's more where TIP 6 came from. EASA calls the agreement "the first milestone of the implementation of the validation improvement roadmap" that the two regulators are following. Its goal: reduce the time and costs for validation by 20% compared to TIP 1, released in 2011.