Good news! In response to the MARPA petition, the FAA plans to withdraw the vibration rule, in tomorrow’s Federal Register.
You can see an advance preview of the expected Federal Register notice online. The advance preview explains that MARPA’s request was the motivator for the withdrawal.
MARPA had also filed a suit with the US Court of Appeals, asking the Court to strike the rule change down on the grounds that it was illegally promulgated. The rule change had been issued as a direct final rule with no opportunity for public comment, in contravention to both FAA regulations and the Administrative Procedures Act.
In addition, there were substantive problems with the rule, in that it imposed new burdens on PMA applicants without any correlative safety benefits. The result of such new burdens could have been to stifle development of reliability and safety improvements in the industry.
When the withdrawal of the rule change is formally published in the Federal Register, tomorrow, MARPA intends to withdraw the petition for review from the Court of Appeals, on the grounds that it will be moot (we will have already gotten everything we wanted).
This is great news for the industry, as it removes an amendment to the regulations that appeared to undermine safety, rather than improving it.
It is likely that the vibration rule change may be reissued as a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). If this happens, then it will be important for industry to respond to make sure thtat the final rule is crafted in a way that supports our shared safety goals, rather than conflicting with them.