Wednesday, 12 November 2014

FAA rule on repair stations becomes effective

On 10 November 2014 the new FAA rule on repair stations became effective. The rule changes mainly the certification requirements of the repair stations and the related application process (14 CFR 145). The changes were deemed necessary to harmonize the rules on the repair stations with other parts of the FAA’s regulations, mainly these on air carriers (Parts 121 and 135).

The main purpose of the new provisions is to reduce the number of individuals in the repair station industry who commit intentional and serious violations of the regulations or who demonstrate they are otherwise unqualified to hold repair stations certificates.

The new rule allows the FAA to deny an application for a new repair station certificate, if the applicant or certain associated key individuals had materially contributed to the circumstances that led the FAA to revoke a previous repair station certificate. Furthermore, new provisions are added to deter applicants from intentionally inserting false entries or omitting to mention material facts in any application, record, or report made under the repair station rules: such violations will incur a civil penalty and impact on the validity of the certificate issued.

These provisions follow a 2004 NTSB recommendation issued after investigating the crash of a Beech 95 aircraft that caused the death of the pilot and serious property damages. The crash was due to improper overhaul of the aircraft propellers. The investigation showed that the repair station having overhauled the propellers had overhauled improperly at least two more propellers from other aircraft. Furthermore, the owner of the repair station had been previously the chief inspector at another repair station, from which the certificate had been revoked for employing questionable repair and overhaul procedures. The FAA rules on repair stations were not providing for mechanisms to prevent such individuals from continuing to operate through a new repair station.

Finally, shortly before the new rule became effective, the FAA issued a correction to the final text of the rule upon request of various aviation industry groups.

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