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New FAA Draft Policy: Structural Certification Criteria for Antennas, Radomes, and Other External Modifications

The FAA has published new draft guidance for public comment. The policy statement identifies acceptable means of compliance for certification of external modifications to Part 25 aircraft. Such modifications can include antennas, radomes, cameras, and external stores.

The draft policy explains that there has been a significant increase in the number of structural certification projects involving external modifications, especially large antenna installations. It provides guidance on selection of certification requirements within the context of the certification basis of the modification. The directions in the policy statement are each linked to existing regulations, so no new regulatory obligations are meant to be imposed.

Comments are due to the FAA by July 6, 2015.

You can email comments to:jan.thor@faa.gov

Comments can also be delivered by mail or hand to:
Federal Aviation Administration
Transport Airplane Directorate
Transport Standards Staff, ANM-110
1601 Lind Avenue SW
Renton, WA 98057

Please send a copy of your comments to MARPA, so that the Trade Association’s response can support your concerns. Please also let the Association know if this is guidance that is important to your business.

MARPA Founder Jim Reum; Dead at 83

It is with great sadness that we report that Jim Reum passed away on Sunday, June 14th due to complications resulting from an automobile accident. He was 83 years old.

Jim Reum

Jim Reum chaired the first MARPA Board meeting in 2000

Jim was one of the original three founders of MARPA.  The idea of MARPA started when he was a delegate on the FAA’s Part 21 ARAC Working Group (parts and production approvals).  As those meetings conrttinued, he and others recognized that there was a need for a permanent voice for PMA in Washington, DC.  Over lunch during a break from the working group meetings, he agreed to start MARPA with George Powell and Jason Dickstein.  As it is with many great foundational documents, the agreement to form the trade association was written on a placemat from a Washington DC Irish Bar.

Jim served as the original Chairman of the Board of Directors of MARPA and he established a tradition of strong support for MARPA among the Heico family of companies.  He introduced other companies to the MARPA community.  He helped to set the pattern of strong MARPA support for safety and for FAA compliance programs.  He believed that MARPA should always stand for the highest ideals of safety and compliance, and he was always generous with his time in these pursuits.  Even after leaving the Board, he continued to serve  as a mentor to the MARPA community.

I will always remember Jim for his patience in teaching me how things really work.  He would take me through the Jet Avion facility and explain how things were built, and would unselfishly detail the innovations in production and testing of which he was most proud.  He understood that a lawyer needs to understand the technical side of PMA, if that lawyer is going to adequately represent the industry.

In those days, we fought shoulder-to-shoulder just to convince the industry that PMA parts were safe and acceptable.  Jim was always happy to share the industry’s safety data; and he was always willing to give anyone a tour of the Jet Avion/Heico facilities.  After a tour of those facilities with Jim,  it was easy to understand how much effort went into compliance and safety, and to trust PMA.

Heico’s President Eric Mendelson eloquently eulogized Jim in an address to the Heico staff:

Jim was an incredible friend to HEICO and mentor to our team members for the last 25 1/2 years. We will miss him greatly. Our values and quality focus exist as a result of Jim’s efforts and beliefs and HEICO has lost a truly incredible human being. HEICO wouldn’t be the company it is today without Jim Reum.

After a long and distinguished career in the aviation industry with General Electric, United Airlines, Aviall, and Chromalloy, Jim joined HEICO as a consultant in 1990. His initial project was to recommend where HEICO should focus its efforts, after successfully saving the worldwide narrow-body fleet from grounding after an OEM-redesign of the JT8D Combustion Chamber.

Jim recommended that HEICO “become the NAPA of the Aerospace Parts Industry” and then came out of retirement to become EVP-COO of our Flight Support Group in order to help HEICO achieve his vision. Along the way, Jim created the quality technical focus for which HEICO is known, and helped to instill our values which have permitted HEICO to become the company that it is today.

Those who were lucky enough to work with Jim until he retired from full-time service on his 70th birthday in 2001, and then again as an EVP until his passing, remember his kind and patient temperament combined with his incredible judgement, knowledge, passion, dedication, loyalty, humility, and respect for people. He gave so much of himself and so many of us at HEICO received opportunities to grow as a result of his unwavering confidence and support.

Jim’s passing has created a permanent void in our hearts, but his spirit lives on in all of us, and for that we can be very proud. Jim frequently commented that “HEICO is the highlight of my career.” Words can’t express the love that Jim felt for HEICO and our Team Members.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Ann and son Rex and their entire family. The Reum Family can take great comfort in knowing the outpouring of gratitude and collective appreciation for sharing Jim with us and for letting us learn so much from such a fine human being.

There will be a Memorial Service for Jim at 11am on Saturday, June 20th:

2005-10 Powell Dickstein Reum

MARPA Founders in 2005. From Left to Right, George Powell, Jason Dickstein, Jim Reum.

Covenant Village
9215 West Broward Blvd
Plantation, FL 33324

Flowers and Cards may be sent to:

Reum Family
c/o Jim Reum Memorial Service
Attn: Chaplin Rocky Cook
9215 West Broward Blvd
Plantation, FL 33324-2404

New Draft FAA Guidance: replacing vacuum-driven attitude instruments with electronically-driven replacement indicators

The FAA has published new draft guidance for public comment.  The guidance is meant for instruments and indicators designed for small (Part 23 or CAR 3) aircraft.  It is a policy statement that describes acceptable compliance methods for replacing vacuum-driven attitude instruments with electronically-driven replacement indicators. Electronically-driven attitude indicators include indicators that use electrical power to (1) excite an internal gyro, or (2) replace the operation of the gyro with microelectronics.

The policy notes that electronically-driven attitude indicators may replace the existing attitude indicators used in VFR or IFR airplanes.

Comments are due to the FAA by August 21, 2015.

You can email comments to: leslie.lyne@faa.gov

Comments can also be delivered by mail or hand to:
Federal Aviation Administration
901 Locust St
Room 301, ACE-114
Kansas City, MO, 64106

Please send a copy of your comments to MARPA, so that the Trade Association’s response can support your concerns.  Please also let the Association know if this is guidance that is important to your business.

FAA Seeks Experts to Develop Airframe Crashworthiness and Ditching Standards

Do you want to serve on a FAA working group that will help the FAA shape regulations affecting safety?  Do you have expertise in composite and other nonmetallic airframe materials?  Can you add to a discussion about airframe crashworthiness?

The FAA has asked the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) to provide recommendations regarding airframe-level crashworthiness and ditching standards that would be incorporated into the FAA’s regulations.  TYhe group would also prepare advisory materials.

During the development of current airworthiness standards and regulatory guidance, the FAA assumed that airframe structure for transport airplanes would be constructed predominantly of metal, using skin-stringer-frame architecture. Therefore, current regulatory requirements either do not address all of the issues associated with nonmetallic materials, or have criteria that are based on experience with traditionally-configured large metallic airplanes.

With respect to crashworthiness, there is no airframe-level standard for crashworthiness.  Many of the factors that influence airframe performance under crash conditions on terrain also influence airframe performance under ditching conditions. Past studies and investigations have included recommendations for review of certain regulatory requirements and guidance material to identify opportunities for improving survivability during a ditching event; consideration of these recommendations is included in this tasking.

You can find a full discussion of the working group’s task, online.

If you wish to become a member of the Transport Airplane Crashworthiness and Ditching Working Group, you can express that desire by contacting:

Ian Won
Federal Aviation Administration
1601 Lind Avenue SW.
Renton, WA 98055,
ian.y.won@faa.gov
phone number 425-227-2145
facsimile number 425-227-1232

Please describe your interest in the task and state the expertise you would bring to the working group. The FAA must receive all requests by July 6, 2015. The ARAC and the FAA will review the requests and advise you whether or not your request is approved.  For MARPA members, if you would like MARPA’s endorsement for such a position, please contact us before the deadline.

Customers Customers Customers!

The customers will be there in Istanbul in twelve days – will you?

MARPA and the Association of European Airlines (AEA) will co-host a PMA meeting in Istanbul on May 25-26.  By my count we have 29 customer-personnel attending the conference – these are air carriers and MROs that are interested in PMA solutions.  You can see the current “early registration list” online to see who has already committed.  And we are hoping to confirm a few more European carriers before the end of this week.

“29 customer representatives in an intimate setting like that?  Unlimited access to air carrier and MRO purchasing representatives?  I can’t think of a better networking opportunity for a PMA company that wants to sell into Europe”

Customer attendees will include (but not be limited to):

  • DHL
  • KLM
  • Lufthansa Technik
  • Pegasus Airlines
  • SunExpress
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Turkish Technik

Why are they gathering?  To learn more about PMA and to network with PMA companies that can provide them with solutions.  Why have AEA and MARPA gone to the effort to bring these air carriers together?  To help educate the world about PMA and to help our members make sales to air carriers in the region!

If you’ve been dying for an opportunity to have one-on-one time with air carriers and MROs that are eager to learn more about PMA, then this is the conference for you.  If you aren’t yet registered for the conference, then you should be.

 

 

Looking for more opportunities like this one?  Take a look at everything that MARPA is planning for the remainder of the year to help promote YOUR export sales.

FAA Issues New Guidance for Part 33 Turbine Engine Endurance Testing

On Monday the FAA released new guidance that provides a method of compliance for the test requirements of 14 CFR § 33.84 – engine overtorque test – when the applicant chooses to run that test as part of the endurance test of § 33.87.  The new guidance is AC 33.87-1A and can be found on the FAA’s website at http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_33_87-1A_.pdf.

The AC also provides information and guidance on the test requirements of § 33.85 (calibration test), § 33.87 (endurance test), and § 33.93 (teardown inspection).

The guidance is directed at engine manufacturers and engine type-design applicants, as well as foreign regulators and FAA designees.  However, it is still worth reviewing the guidance to determine whether there are any ways in which you might be affected.

The AC explains that the primary effect of the guidance is to eliminate some previously approved methods of engine testing that were designed to represent expected in-service operations rather than the endurance cycle described in § 33.87.  This is because § 33.87 is not intended to reflect in-service operation, but rather to demonstrate a minimum level of operability and durability throughout the engine’s assigned ratings and limitations.

We encourage all of our members to take a look at this (and any other) new guidance to make sure there are no surprises.  If you see anything that concerns you please let MARPA know!

US Government Meeting for Foreign Investors Could Be a Good Networking Opportunity for MARPA Members Seeking Capital

The U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) will host a National Aerospace Foreign Direct Investment Exposition (FDI Expo), October 26-28, in Los Angeles.  This is right before the 2015 MARPA Conference in Las Vegas (and it is just a short flight from LAX to LAS).

This ITA event is designed to highlight opportunities in the U.S. aerospace manufacturing sector for foreign investment.  Foreign investors will attend in order to learn about aerospace manufacturing investment opportunities.

The FDI Expo will be focused on offering resources to prospective investors, in an effort to entice them to establish or expand their presence in the United States.  The event will feature one-on-one meetings with state and local economic development organizations.  MARPA members seeking investment capital may wish to attend the ITA event before they join us at the MARPA Conference, in order to network with prospective investors.

I think many foreign investors would be surprised at just how good an investment the PMA industry can be.

For more information, see ITA’s Press Release.

Treasury Makes It Easier to Comply, When Exporting

PMA manufacturers who are exporting their parts from the U.S. need to ensure that they remain in compliance with the U.S. export regulations.  In addition to the BIS and DDTC regulations that apply to aircraft parts, exporters also need to remain in compliance with Treasury Department regulations.

Some of those Treasury Department regulations include lists of people and entities that you ought not to do business with.  Every agency has multiple lists that you need to examine, but Treasury is doing something to consolidate its lists and make it easier to review them. This consolidation should make it easier to search to ensure compliance, whether you are searching on line or using a computer program to automatically research your business partners.

The Treasury Department office with jurisdiction over export programs is the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC).  OFAC has a list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) as well as other (non-SDN) sanctions lists. OFAC is now offering all of its non-SDN sanctions lists in a consolidated set of data files called the Consolidated Sanctions List. This consolidated list will include the following:

  • Non-SDN Palestinian Legislative Council List
  • Part 561 List
  • Non-SDN Iran Sanctions Act List
  • Foreign Sanctions Evaders List
  • Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List

OFAC announced that it plans to discontinue some of these lists as separate lists, so they will only be available as part of the consolidated list.

Persons seeking to check whether there are OFAC sanctions that might apply to their transaction should be sure to check their export business partners (by personal name and company name) against the Specially Designated Nationals List and the Consolidated Sanctions List.

One can also use the Sanctions List Search which consolidates both lists into a single searchable database. This tool is useful because it can automatically search for names that are close (bot not exact matches) and can be set to find matches with different levels of confidence (which will then be reviewed by a human to assess whether they actually match).

Exporters should also check the details of their transaction (including destination country) against the Sanctions Programs and Country Information page, which list sanctions programs based on country and on certain other criteria.

FAA Publishes Designee Management Policy for Public Comment – All Manufacturers Need to Review and Comment

Do you rely on a Designated Engineering Representative (DER) to approve data for your business? Do you use DMIRs for issuing 8130-3 tags?  If you do, then you know how critical designees can be to the parts approval process.  Often, though, designees are required by the FAA to do things that the FAA employees themselves are not permitted to do, like require paperwork that is not required by law or regulation (this can be a violation of the Paperwork Reduction Act), or impose standards of conduct that are not required by law or regulation (this can be a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act). When this happens, the designee has no choice but to obey the instructions from the FAA-Advisor … even if they would be illegal if undertaken by the FAA’s employees.

Want to make sure that designees are not used to do things that FAA employees can’t do (by law)?  The be sure to take the time to offer comments to the FAA Designee Management Policy that is now out for comment.  The FAA has issued for public comment a draft change to the guidance document affecting designees.  Although only parts are changed, it is a potential opportunity to comment on the entire document.

The original guidance is called “Order 8000.95, Designee Management Policy.” It was first issued in April of 2014.

This guidance document provides a wide variety of guidance on how to manage FAA designees. It has not and does not appear to cancel FAA Order 8100.8 (Designee Management Handbook), although some of the guidance appears to address some of the same issues as that guidance (failure to cancel 8100.8 might have been an oversight).

As a practical matter, designees (who are the people most directly affected by this guidance) will not be able to write comments that are critical to this guidance. This is because designees can be terminated for cause or without cause, at the discretion of the FAA. So the FAA can terminate a designee for exercising his or her First Amendment freedoms (as long as they come up with any other pretext for the action, including a termination ‘not for cause’). Designees are well aware of this and they regularly self-censor their comments because of the chilling effect that the FAA’s discretionary termination power has had. In some cases, designees have contacted me because they know that I will protect their anonymity.

The real-world issue us that designees rely on their designation from the FAA to ply their trade. If they are terminated (for-cause or not-for-cause) then they cannot simply be a designee for someone else. They need to choose a entirely different career path. So the process for reviewing designee termination is very important. And both the current policy and the draft policy are woefully inadequate, because they offer no standards for review, so the FAA employees are able to rubber stamp any termination decision on review. Honest review depends 100% on the personal integrity of the reviewing personnel – and there is no formal training for the employees who act as reviewers in that process (by comparison, state court judges typically attend judicial training).

The FAA’s failure to have effective standards actually undermines the FAA’s own interests. One example arises in the context of designee termination. The lack of effective standards means that individual FAA employees can cause the termination of a designee for any reason, including a reason that would have been considered to be illegal if it was used to terminate an employee, as long as the party who initiates the termination offers a pretextual reason. There is no formal inquiry into such pretext – it is taken at face value – and the VERY short time period for presenting a defense means that it is tough to be effective in assembling a defense: the full appeal including all supporting evidence must be submitted within 15 days – while the designee is given the charges, he or she has no opportunity to review the FAA’s underlying evidence. In comparison, the appeals panel has 45 days to consider the appeal and then another 15 days to notify the designee of their decision for a total of 60 days. We have seen evidence that FAA inspectors will use this period to gather more evidence to refute the defense and bolster the ‘prosecution’ so clearly the FAA is not bound to any sort of deadline for presenting its own case.

There is plenty that could be improved in the designee management process.

This is a great opportunity to help the FAA to better manage the designee community using effective processes that ensure fairness for everyone. MARPA members should strongly consider reviewing and commenting on this draft guidance.

Comments are dues to the FAA by January 7. Please send comments to MARPA, as well, so we can sure that our comments reflect your concerns.

Comments Due: 01/07/2015
How to Comment: Deliver comments by mail or hand to:
Susan Hill
1625 K Street NW
Suite 300
Washington DC, 20006Email comments to: Susan.ctr.hill@faa.gov
Email CommentsFax comments to:
(202) 223-4615, Attn: Susan Hill

UPDATE:

My comment on the cancellation of FAA Order 8100.8 failed to take into account FAA Notice 8000.372.  That Notice directs all AIR manufacturing personnel who oversee designees to stop using Order 8100.8 and being using 8000.95 on a schedule.  The schedule reflects the implementation of the Designee Management System (DMS) in those offices.

Under that schedule, all MIDOs with designee management responsibilities should have transitioned to Order 8000.95 during the summer (of 2014).  So Order 8000.95 will have supplanted 8100.8 for MIDOS (but not necessarily for ACOs and FSDOs).  This means that DMIRs and DAR-Fs have transitioned.  But DERs should still be under 8100.8 until they are formally transitioned (at which time they will fall under the instructions of 8000.95).

Special thanks to William Denihan for pointing this out!

Be sure to Request the Referenced Service Bulletin in Airworthiness Directives!

Have you ever been frustrated to learn that an AD went out that references a service bulletin, and (too late!) you later learned that the service bulletin made disparaging remarks or provided inappropriate directions about your company or your parts?

How do you prevent this situation?  You need to get a copy of the service bulletin that is cross referenced by the AD, and review it before the AD rule becomes final.  But sometimes no one will provide the service bulletin to you!

That just shouldn’t be the case.  If an AD might indirectly affect you because of the cross referenced service bulletin, then you should be entitled to review the service bulletin before it becomes part of a regulation.

The U.S. government agrees!!

The U.S. Office of the Federal Register has published a new rule designed to make government rules more transparent.  It accomplishes this by addressing incorporation-by-reference.

What is Incorporation-by-Reference?

Incorporation-by-Reference (or IBR) is the term for regulations that make reference to some other document that is not published in the rule. Historically, incorporation-by-reference came about because it cost money to print the Federal Register, and wasting a lot of pages on a standard that could easily be obtained outside of the Federal Register. But today, most people access the regulations and the Federal Register on line, so there is not as much of a burden associated with publishing such documents. Incorporation-by-reference can be an issue for the public because when an incorporated document is merely technically available – but it is not really available – then this can make it difficult or impossible for an affected person to comply with the regulation (and can make it impossible for the affected person to even know that (s)he is subject to the regulation).

In short, unavailable-but-incorporated documents can reflect secret regulations that are impossible to comply with.

With this in mind, the Administrative Conference of the US began to study what could be done to update the rules to reflect modern technology. This ultimately led to the Office of the Federal Register looking into potential changes to the rules on incorporation-by-reference.

Some Problems with Incorporation-by-Reference

The aviation industry faces many challenges related to incorporation-by-reference. An issue that can be very important to MARPA’s members is the availability of referenced documents in Airworthiness Directives(ADs), like service bulletins.  Service bulletin language can affect PMA parts, and can even disparage PMA parts in ways that are inappropriate.

Timely availability to the PMA community of these service bulletins can be a serious issue.  It is typical for the FAA’s incorporation-by-reference statement to insist that the incorporated service bulletins be obtained either from the FAA office or from the OEM who published the document. In order to test this system, I emailed an FAA office and an OEM who were described as the sources of a service bulletin (the Federal Register listed the emails and listed this as an acceptable way to make contact). The FAA response was that I should go to the OEM. The OEM response was to ask me why I wanted the service bulletin. When I responded that the service bulletin was incorporated by reference in a proposed AD, and I wanted a copy of the service bulletin to determine whether the trade association needed to file comments on behalf of the membership, I received no further communication from the OEM.  They just stopped responding to me.

MARPA Action

MARPA filed comments on the Advance Notice for this proposal and offered a number of suggestions in 2012. MARPA also participated in face-to-face meetings with the government to discuss ways to improve the current system.

The result was a new rule that clarifies obligations related to regulations that incorporate standards by reference.

What Changes Should You Expect?

It is important that incorporated material be available in proposed rules so that the public can comment on the proposed rule with full knowledge fo the proposed rule’s impact. Under the new standards (1 C.F.R. 51.5(a)), the preamble to a proposed rule must :

  1. Discuss the agency’s efforts to make the IBR materials reasonably available to interested parties, and
  2. Summarize the material it proposes to incorporate by reference in the preamble.

When the agency is ready to publish a final rule with an IBR, the agency must do the following (1 C.F.R. 51.5(b)):

  1. Ask for permission from the Office of the Federal Register to accomplish an IBR,
  2. Explain in the preamble to the final rule how interested parties can get a copy of the IBRed materials (it must be “reasonably available”), and
  3. Ensure a copy of the IBRed publication is on file at the Office of the Federal Register.

An important feature of the regulations is the requirement to discuss availability to “interested parties.” This is an expansion of the traditional language, which merely required availability to “the class of persons affected by the publication.” Interested persons should include persons who are indirectly affected (like those whose PMA parts MIGHT be affected in the case of an airworthiness directive) in addition to class of persons directly affected by the publication (which is generally operators).

The regulations continue to explain that IBR is limited to the edition that is incorporated. So if a subsequent revision of a service bulletin comes out, only the version that was approved by the Office of the Federal Register is the version that is IBRed (and not subsequent versions). 1 C.F.R. 51.1(f).

One sad omission was that the new rule does not define “reasonably available.”  The Office of Federal Register was worried that a definition might be inappropriate, so they were hesitant to offer a definition, and instead they have left it to a case-by-case analysis as defined by each agency.  But it seems certain that if you make a reasonable effort to obtain an IBRed service bulletin using the mechanism in the Federal Register, and you are denied, then you may have a claim that the service bulletin was not reasonably available.

While we did not get every change we requested, this nonetheless represents a good start on the process of providing better transparency in the situations of incorporation-by-reference.

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