Fine Print: March Surprise!

Bill's take on the two-year IA renewal.

For IAs, this March Inspection Authorization (IA) meeting held a little bureaucratic surprise. The local FSDO inspectors notified you that your little buff colored IA, 8310-5 card is now being signed off for a two-year renewal period, instead of one. This is because FAR section 65.93 that governs IA renewal was revised on Jan. 30, 2007 and made effective on March 1, 2007. So now an applicant for IA renewal is required to renew at the FSDO in the month of March of each odd-number year. At which time the applicant must submit evidence that he or she still meets the requirements of sections 65.93(c)(1)(5) for each of the two preceding 12 calendar month periods since the last renewal.

To keep confusion to a minimum when I say 12 calendar months or calendar year in this article I am referring to the 12-month period that starts on April 1 and ends on March 31. These are the months that form the IA calendar year in which the IA must meet the requirement of section 65.93.

After reading the first two paragraphs I can almost hear you thinking: OK, what is really happening here? What's really changed and how much is it going to cost me? First, let me assure you the only thing that was changed was the FAA went from one-year to two-year IA renewal period. That's it! Everything else stays the same. The IA application for renewal form stays the same, the IA card stays the same, and your annual renewal requirements stay the same. However, perhaps the biggest surprise is the new rule may save you a little money.

Let me try to fill in the blanks. Just like, every other IA renewal since June 17, 1956 when the CAA passed CAR 24.43-1, that created the IA authorization rule, each IA calendar year you will still have to get your four annuals or do eight FAA major repairs or major alterations, or do one progressive inspection, or get eight hours of FAA accepted training, or exercise everyone's favorite option, and take an oral exam by an FAA inspector to renew. The new rule made no changes to these time-honored annual IA renewal requirements.

Remember, the only big change is in the IA renewal paperwork process itself. The next time you have to renew at the FSDO will be in March 2009 instead of March of 2008. In that odd-numbered year you will have to fill out the FAA 8610-1 Mechanic Application for Inspection Authorization just like always, except instead of paying attention only to marking the proper yes/no blocks on the form, this time around you will have to show that you met the requirements for the preceding two IA calendar years instead of just one. So if you are smart, put the IA certificates of training or list of annuals or Form 337s you have accomplished for each IA calendar year in a safe place so in March of 2009 you have the information for renewal at your fingertips. If everything is copasetic with the next renewal then your IA card will be signed off for March 2011.

Now, let me see if I can answer some of your burning questions.

The first question is always; why? Why change renewal from one to two years? To be blunt, the new rule change will save the FAA a lot of time and money renewing 14,000 plus IAs every year. By changing the renewal period from one year to two it will reduce FAA administrative costs by half and get the IA renewal period in line with other two-year FAA renewal periods like flight instructors, DMEs, DARs, and DERs.

Furthermore, it will not impact the current level of safety or pass on any additional costs to the IA. It will not impact the local FSDO annual eight-hour IA renewal seminars or hurt trade shows or conventions. Both of which do a great job providing FAA accepted IA renewal training each year. All you have to remember about this rule change is the IA calendar year requirements for renewal remain the same, only the FAA paperwork has been cut in half!

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