FAA plans to produce guidance for incorporating remote-connectivity technology, such as live video feeds, into inspection, training, and other procedures that manufacturers and maintenance providers use to follow the agency's regulations.
The guidance, slated for publication in October 2019, will be based on a draft version put together by a coalition of 16 industry associations. The group created the draft advisory circular (AC) in response to a draft policy on using remote video that FAA released earlier this year.
"Technologies such as satellite or internet, which provide reliable connectivity through video, live-stream and other visual and audio delivery methods have become ubiquitous," the coalition told FAA in a May letter proposing the draft AC. "However, using available technology for certification and compliance-related activities traditionally accomplished in-person-on-premises requires updated FAA guidance to delineate acceptable practices."
Using remote video feeds for tasks such as observing tests during production is currently permitted, so long as--like all such processes--it is part of an FAA-approved plan. The guidance is meant to provide a broad baseline for industry to follow that goes beyond video without resorting to a long, costly rulemaking process.
"The effort is the perfect example of how the current aviation safety rules can provide avenues for aviation businesses to take advantage of emerging technologies," says Brett Levanto, vice president of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, which led the coalition.
FAA plans to publish interim policy that supports the AC while the guidance is being finalized.