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Sun, May 25, 2003

FAA Releases Updated Field Approval Policy

Inspectors Must Now Know Something About The Stuff They Inspect

This week the FAA issued a revised set of instructions (Change 16 to Order 8300.10) to FAA inspectors for the approval of major repairs and alterations to aircraft. These instructions replace those issued in September 2002.

Pain Relief

The revision was due to significant problems for aircraft owners and mechanics attempting to obtain approval for such changes. Some local FAA Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) simply refused to process many of the applications for repairs and alterations and used what is commonly referred to as field approvals, or 337s. Aircraft operators in Alaska were so greatly affected that the FAA agreed to temporarily rescind the implementation of the new policy in the Alaska Region. The revised instructions clarify to FSDO inspectors what major repairs and alterations they can approve and what resources are available to assist them in making their determination.

Another issue: if the inspector was not "thoroughly familiar with all aspects of the alteration or repair" he or she could not provide the approval. This language led to the denial of several applications when the policy was first released. The revised instructions added the following statement:

"The lack of ASI qualifications does not mean the FSDO should deny a field approval and tell the applicant that they need an STC. The ASI can seek assistance from another ASI or FSDO, as appropriate."

And because some applicants do not have an in-depth knowledge of all the information needed and the manner it should be presented, the new instructions provide for that situation. They also allow applicants to make changes to the application in order to prevent denial and the need for a complete new application.

FMI: www2.faa.gov/avr/afs/faa/8300/8300_vol2/2_001_00.pdf

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