We have written recently on this blog about the important SMS/Part 21 Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) and corresponding Working Groups in which representatives of MARPA are now participating. The result of this ARC promises to affect each and every manufacturer of PMA in some way or another. MARPA will therefore be there every step of the way, working to ensure that the interests of PMA community are protected. But in order to ensure that we guard our members’ interests, we will need your assistance and feedback! We are therefore asking MARPA members to tracks and share with us the cost of regulatory compliance.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to attempt to fit the burdens of a proposed regulation to the scale of businesses. This recognizes the fact that the same regulatory burden that may simply be the cost of doing business to a large multinational corporation may be crippling to a small company. Recognizing the extreme importance of scalability in the promulgation of the new Part 21, one of the four Working Groups is dedicated solely to undertaking a Cost-Benefit Analysis of the proposed regulatory changes.
This is where MARPA member feedback will be of extreme importance. The Cost-Benefit Analysis Working Group needs data to better understand what the current cost of compliance to small business actually is. This will function as a baseline from which to determine the benefits and costs of the proposals generated by the other three Working Groups. As the Working Groups craft the new regulations they will turn to industry to obtain data demonstrating the effects of the proposed changes.
It is vital that MARPA members participate in providing data to the Working Groups as the new proposals are developed and those assumptions tested against hard data. Hidden costs of compliance with regulations, under-estimations of costs, and over-estimations of benefits have the potential to result in an overly burdensome regulation. The participation of MARPA members in providing data to the ARC Working Groups will go a long way toward shaping an effective regulation while minimizing the burden on small businesses.
Input from members helps MARPA to more effectively advocate for policy changes that benefit the PMA community. Responses to requests for information such as this—or for data regarding the Streamlined PMA Process—helps MARPA to focus its resources to optimize benefit to the membership.
MARPA looks forward to the participation of its members in shaping the future of Part 21. Although the Working Groups have not yet begun to approach industry with requests for data, MARPA would like to get started early. If your company tracks the cost of regulatory compliance, whether in dollars, personnel, man-hours, paperwork, or any other metric, we want to hear from you. Your confidentiality is important to us, so MARPA will only report data in the aggregate; no individual data will be released and no company names will be revealed. You can send this data to MARPA Associate Counsel Ryan Aggergaard at email@example.com. Please also send Ryan an email if you have any questions or would like to start tracking compliance costs.
Has your company taken advantage of the FAA’s streamlined process for PMAs on Non-Safety-Sensitive (NSS) parts, yet? If so, MARPA wants to hear from you.
As we have previously posted on this blog, the streamlined process—detailed in FAA Order 8110.119—involves following the MARPA 1100 Standard for PMA applications for NSS parts. The MARPA 1100 standard is available on our website. Applicants who follow the standard (and confirm that they meet the elements of the FAA Order) are entitled to expedited processing of their applications. The FAA has established a goal to turn-around NSS PMA applications that meet the MARPA standard within 30 days.
A 30-day turn-around would provide NSS PMA applicants with an improved ability to make commitments to customers about expected production and delivery times when those times hinge upon PMA issuance. This should also encourage companies to seek PMA for NSS parts.
The process does not alleviate the applicant of their obligation to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations (remember, you must certify compliance as part of your PMA application); but it does provide a standardized format that should make it easier for FAA ACO engineers to review and approve such applications, consistent with the FAA’s commitment to using risk-based tools to assign resources. This is particularly important as budgets for federal agencies continue to be scaled back.
As with any new initiative, there is likely to be growing pains and some resistance to the adoption and implementation of the streamlined process. We have received some reports from various corners about ACOs that were skeptical of, or unwilling to participate with, the streamline process.
In order to assist MARPA members navigating the streamlined PMA process, we are seeking to issue a set of Best Practices to help guide PMA manufacturers through the new procedure. For this we’d like to hear from you regarding your experiences using the streamlined process. What techniques have been helpful? How did you navigate the MOU process? How closely did you work with your ACO? Do you have any suggestions or words of caution for other PMA manufacturers seeking to take advantage of the streamlined process?
MARPA will compile these responses into a Best Practices guide that will be made available exclusively to MARPA members. We look forward to hearing about your experiences and helping the PMA industry benefit from this new process.
Email your responses to Ryan Aggergaard at Ryan@washingtonaviation.com.
The FAA has released a new draft Advisory Circular that is intended to describe acceptable statistical methods for developing substantiating data for comparative test and analysis compliance findings to support FAA approval of turbine engine and APU parts produced under a PMA, TC, STC, repair or alteration. The guidance is intended to help generate substantiating data to support compliance with the airworthiness requirements of 14 C.F.R. 21.303 as well as parts 33, 43 and TSO C77.
Several members have brought this AC to our attention and expressed their concerns about the details of this guidance. We welcome specific comments from members about problems and/or ways to improve this document. Based on member comments we have received so far, the proposed guidance appears likely to discourage applications to produce replacement parts. One reason for this is the large suggested sample size, and associated high costs, necessary to satisfy the proposed statistical analysis metrics.
The proposed AC discusses statistical principles and methods in an effort to explain appropriate approaches of determining proper sample sizes and population specimens for the purpose of showing equivalency and discrepancies between sample populations of parts.
The AC primarily attempts to address two separate problems: (1) the use of statistical tests designed to show difference rather than equivalency and (2) the use of small sample sizes.
The guidance observes that applicants frequently submit data based on a simple t-test, which is designed to determine difference, rather than equivalency. This is a problem because failure to show a statistically significant difference is not the same as demonstrating the equivalence between an approved part and a replacement part. The guidance states that a methodology for demonstrating equivalency must instead be used.
The guidance also explains the procedure for determining the sample sizes of approved and replacement parts necessary to demonstrate equivalency. This test for determining sample size yields a large sample-size requirement, based on the needs of the statistical test for equivalency as well as the importance of accounting for lot-to-lot variance.
The practical effect of compliance with the suggested sample size would appear to make the cost of conducting the required testing incredibly cost-prohibitive. MARPA seeks comments from its members to determine whether compliance with the sample sizes indicated by the suggested procedure are economically feasible.
The FAA appears to acknowledge the burden of the sample sizes indicated by the formula by including in the proposed guidance a section titled “Practical alternative for sample size requirements.” The section offers alternative suggestions to using the statistically derived sample sizes and methods for analyzing small samples.
The proposed AC also appears to take an unrealistic view of the nature of part procurement when procuring approved parts for the purpose of comparison. The guidance repeatedly emphasizes the importance of drawing sample parts from different lots to account for variance. Determining the source lots of a series of approved parts seems to be an unrealistic burden without substantial compliance from the manufacturer.
It is important that the engine PMA community examine this guidance to determine whether it offers any benefit to safety and whether compliance would even be practicable.
You can find this proposed AC, Statistical Analysis Considerations for Comparative Test and Analysis Based Compliance Findings for Turbine Engine, at http://www.faa.gov/aircraft/draft_docs/media/AC_33-X.doc.
Comments are due to the FAA by July 11, 2013. Comments can be emailed to Marc Bouthillier at Marc.Bouthillier@faa.gov or faxed to (781) 238-7199. We would appreciate copies of your comments, so we can make sure that MARPA‘s own comments supports the industry’s comments and needs.
As previously mentioned on this blog, the FAA’s proposed Aviation Repair Station rule is very likely to have noticeable secondary effects on other companies, including PMA parts manufacturers. On November 5, MARPA and other members of the aviation community, as well as representatives from the FAA, met for a Small Business Administration roundtable to discuss the proposed rule.
The FAA, although not able to take comment at the meeting, offered a presentation on the purpose and intent of the rule and were available to attempt to answer any questions posed by attendees. The FAA explained that the purpose of the rule is to align FAA regulations with current industry practices and aircraft technology. The FAA also stated that they believe they have addressed the numerous comments that resulted in the rejection of similar proposed rules in 1999 and 2006.
Industry attendees expressed a number of concerns with the proposed rule. One concern is that due to the slow nature of the rule-making process, current industry practices have already moved beyond that which is contemplated by the proposed rule. There also appears a risk of creating confusion as the rule introduces inconsistent terms to the regulations.
The rule may also create significant adminstrative burdens. It would require that each of approximately five thousand repair stations renew their certificates with 24 months of the rule becoming effective. There is some doubt as to whether the FAA has the resources to process so many renewals in such a limited time frame, particularly faced with the reality that most applications would occur toward the end of the 24-month window.
The rule creates additional administrative burdens on the repair station side, as supervisory personnel will be required to be on hand to oversee work performed, changes to capabilities lists will have to be approved by the FAA or through self-evaluation, and substantial new employee training requirments are implemented.
Additionally, the new “Component Rating” propsed by the rule poses a particular threat to PMA manufacturers. Repair stations will be expected to maintain a component capabilities list in their operations specifications. Because of the burdens associated with amending and updating op specs, many repair stations may have difficulties in efficiently updating their components capabilities lists. This is especially troubling for PMA. Even though a PMA part is most likely maintained in the exact same way as its OEM corrollary part, a repair station may still be required to call out that specific PMA part number in its op specs in order to perform maintenance. Given the smaller population of PMA parts, many repair stations may not be willing to go through the op spec amendment process to add the PMA part to their capabilities list.
The cumulative effect of these additional burdens may have the result of decreasing the number of repair stations allowed to repair PMA parts even though they are technically proficient. Smaller repair stations may also find themselves priced out of business by the addtional financial costs associated with the new administraive burdens.
The FAA will accept public comments on the proposed rule through November 19, 2012. Comments should reference FAA Docket Number “FAA–2006–26408.”
MARPA has released the latest revisions of the MARPA 1100 Standard and MARPA Continued Operation Safety (COS) guidance. These revisions improve both documents.
The MARPA 1100 Standard is a streamlined program for Parts Manufacturer Approval applications. It reflects a standard mechanism for compiling applications for FAA PMAs for non-safety-significant (NSS) aircraft parts. These are parts whose failure would have little or no effect on the continued safe flight and landing of an aircraft.
MARPA continues to work with the FAA to help develop corollary FAA guidance to explain to FAA employees the public safety benefits of the program, and to advise FAA employees on how to handle PMA applications properly prepared under the MARPA 1100 standard. The program will benefit both the FAA and the PMA manufacturing community by allowing the FAA to more quickly approve applications for NSS PMA parts and to focus its limited certification resources on more safety-sensitive issues.
MARPA COS guidance is designed to help PMA manufacturers implement an effective COS program to satisfy the need for PMA holders to be responsible for the continued operational safety of their aircraft parts. The MARPA COS program uses three philosophies — problem prevention, part monitoring, and problem response — to support operational safety of a manufactured part.
Visit the MARPA website at http://www.pmaparts.org to learn more about the MARPA 1100 program for NSS parts, and the MARPA COS Guidance.
The Small Business Administration roundtable to discuss the FAA’s proposed Aviation Repair Station Rule – postponed due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy – has been rescheduled for Monday, November 5, 2012, from 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
The proposed rule, which the FAA claims is necessary to keep pace with current industry standards and practices, is expected to have a secondary effect on repair station customers and business partners. This includes PMA part manufacturers. The SBA has recognized that there is significant small business interested in the proposed rule, and will typically write and file comments in response to industry concerns.
Those interested in attending the roundtable should RSVP to Bruce Lundegren via email. A dial in conference call option may also be available with advanced request. If you wish to dial in, contact Bruce Lundegren so that SBA can make the appropriate arrangements.
SBA Contact Information:Bruce E. Lundegren, Assistant Chief Counsel, SBA Office of Advocacy U.S. Small Business Administration 409 3rd St. SW, Washington, DC 20416 tel: (202) 205-6144 email: firstname.lastname@example.org