Fri, Jun 16, 2006
Says NTSB Decision Gives SBs Same Force Of Law As ADs
A recent decision by the National
Transportation Safety Board could prove very expensive for aircraft
That's the word from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association,
which is questioning a recent ruling against a mechanic that seems
to say aircraft manufacturers can make service bulletins
mandatory... essentially giving them the same force of law as an
FAA airworthiness directive.
AOPA says if the NTSB interpretation stands, the cost to
aircraft owners could be substantial, as there are usually far more
SBs issued by the manufacturer than ADs approved by the FAA.
"That is neither AOPA's nor the FAA's interpretation of the
regulations," said Luis Gutierrez, AOPA director of regulatory and
certification policy. "Service bulletins are considered advisory,
not mandatory, for Part 91 operators."
For that matter, AOPA says the FAA has already spoken... saying
in 2001 that "small airplane design approval holders cannot
unilaterally impose mandatory compliance with manufacturers' SBs,"
as long as those planes aren't used commercially.
"We've asked our legal counsel to thoroughly research this issue
so that we have all the ammunition to reinforce the longstanding
rulings that SBs are recommendations, not mandates, for Part 91
operators," said Gutierrez. "We will always strive to keep general
aviation aircraft safe and affordable. The AD process ensures that
we do what's needed to fix safety problems but not spend more than
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