IA Renewal Time

FSDO inquiry gets revocation threat

Keep in mind that a single incident of regulatory noncompliance may compel that the certificate holder lacks the qualification to hold the certificate. Further, a violation that involves your qualification to hold the certificate will result in an emergency revocation every time. However, on the other side of the coin, in order to relate the violation to the qualification issue, the facts must amount to something described by the NTSB as “a gross indifference to the requirements of air safety.”

The judge in this case decided that there must be some confusion on the point of contention between technicians and inspectors in the field. After all, the inspector himself was not sure of the rule and its application. He could have read 65.92b by itself and concluded that the IA certificate was valid since a valid A&P was not included in the 65.92b.

The law judge found that the violation of FAR 62.92a was unintentional and the FAA didn’t dispute this finding. However, the FAA still held out for revocation even though the violation was unintentional. Still, the FAA had no authority to support this sanction under the circumstances. A single, inadvertent and unintentional violation of the FAR does not warrant such a severe sanction as revocation.

The decision
The FAA maintained that revocation was required because the man deliberately performed an annual inspection knowing that there might be a question as to the validity of his IA certificate. The judge did not agree. He simply stated that “It is deliberate violations, not deliberate actions that should raise questions about qualifications.” The judge said further that there was no support for the contention by the FAA that ignorance of the regulation amounts to contempt or disdain for the regulations sufficient to revoke a certificate.

The other observation that was interesting about this case was that the 30-day suspension of the man’s A&P certificate that caused the problem in the first place did not specifically include the suspension of his IA authorization. He said that one might conclude, as the technician in this case did, that his competency to exercise the IA privilege was not an issue in this case and therefore he could continue to exercise this privilege.

It was argued that the man simply assumed, quite reasonably, that because his A&P suspension order did not mention his IA, he could continue to use it. There is little doubt that if the FAA had added IA suspension to the A&P order of suspension, this case would never have come up.

It’s important to understand that revocation of a certificate is mandated in all cases where, for example, an airman operates an aircraft when his certificate is suspended. Likewise, if the man in this example had exercised the privileges of his A&P during the suspension period, he would have been subjected to summary revocation. All cases involving revocations include willful violations of the regulations. Revocations are painful results of flagrant conduct and they are tough to deal with, much less defend.

Fortunately, in this case described, the judge had the insight to apply common sense and a simple solution to what, in fact, was only a minor infraction. The man had his A&P and his IA suspended for an additional 60 days — a far cry from revocation.

Lost proof of attendance – failure to renew on time
Another common mistake in regard to IA renewal is the matter of not hanging onto seminar attendance proof or failing to file renewal application on time.

The two-year IA renewal cycle just expired on March 31 — and if you did not renew, you have a problem. Those of us who use the annual inspection training seminar option to renew our authorization must, of course, show proof of attendance with our application to renew. The technician I talked with after the March date had passed said that he had attended a renewal seminar for the first year and had his attendance signed off on a form, but he had misplaced the form and had neglected to submit any application along with the forms before the passage of the March 31 deadline. What happens now?

He, of course, had several other mechanics state that they had attended also and could attest to the fact that the man was there. This might have sufficed to get over the matter of the attendance problem, but he did not submit his application until several months had passed beyond the March 31 renewal date. He said he just forgot about it. The FAA said “sorry, but you dropped the ball on two points.” The conclusion: take the IA exam over again! Yes, that’s what happened.

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