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Thu, Sep 21, 2006

ARSA To Assist FAA On Repair Station Human Factors Training

Representatives with the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) told ANN this week the group is prepared to work closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the agency's stated effort to mandate human factors training programs in aviation.

"The Association supports programs that ensure quality and efficiency," said ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod. "Recognizing the value of human factors programs and training ensures higher and better productivity, which benefits the individual repair station and, ultimately, the entire industry."

In a September 12 letter to ARSA, the FAA stated its intention to mandate human factors training for FAA-certificated repair stations by changing title 14 CFR part 145 -- the Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) that covers repair stations -- "to ensure human factors training is included." The agency noted that "not all repair stations will require the same level of training in human factors."

Human factors training focuses on human actions and reactions that can affect employees' abilities to perform efficiently. The Association will continue to run articles and offer classes on human factors, as it has since the requirement for repair stations to have FAA-approved training manuals became effective, and plans to increase its offerings to members in 2007.

The FAA's letter was in response to a July 27 request from ARSA, asking the agency to clarify the FAR requirements for human factors training in repair stations. The Association's letter was prompted by concerns with how the repair station training program requirements, which became effective in April, are being interpreted in the field.

ARSA learned from several members that FAA inspectors, referencing language in Advisory Circular (AC) 145-10 and related inspector guidance, were taking the position that repair stations are required to have human factors in their training programs. ARSA wrote to the FAA seeking a definitive clarification.

The FAA pledged to fix the guidance material. "The AC will be revised to remove the requirement that training programs must include human factors training elements," the agency wrote.

ARSA welcomed the agency's quick response.

"The Association stands for good government," said ARSA's MacLeod. "When regulations are performance-based, the agency cannot demand more than the required result. In the case of human factors training, the FAA's guidance was requiring elements beyond what is included in the relevant rule."

The Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) is the only trade association dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of aircraft maintenance and alteration facilities before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other government agencies in the US and abroad. Its 700 members perform maintenance and alterations on behalf of U.S. and foreign air carriers, as well as other aircraft owners and operators.

FMI: www.arsa.org, www.faa.gov

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