The FAA has put forth a proposal to make wholesale changes to the avionics industry, and a major trade organization says those changes would have damaging and costly repercussions. The agency proposes to remove radio and instrument ratings and allow airframe-rated repair stations to work on radio and instrument components without qualifications or ratings. In addition, the proposal eliminates many of the currently utilized opportunities for mobile maintenance operations.
Under this proposal, the system of ratings would be reduced from eight ratings to five ratings. The ratings definitions would be revised to clearly indicate the type of work that a repair station is authorized to perform. This proposal would not require a capability list, but would revise the capability list recording requirements for those repair stations that choose to use one. This is a potentially marked change for repair stations with class ratings that do not currently have a capability list of the items they maintain.
A certificated repair station with an airframe rating is not required to obtain a separate component rating to maintain articles associated with its rating and capabilities. This provision would allow airframe-rated repair stations to repair and alter radios and instruments without any specific ratings or obvious qualifications.
Each certificated repair station must provide and maintain suitable permanent housing for the facilities, equipment, materials and personnel consistent with its ratings. It appears this provision would prohibit mobile operations. Currently, the regulations allow for a permanent "fixed location" but not permanent housing.
The Aircraft Electronics Association is thoroughly investigating the NPRM and will respond to all members with our commentary within the next two weeks. Since comments are due before the start of the AEA domestic Regional Meetings, the Association will be leveraging our normal communication mediums, as well as Web-based sessions. The membership should watch the AEA Wired e-newsletter and the AEA website for more communications and upcoming schedules.
Comments on the proposal are due to the FAA no later than Aug. 20, 2012.