Maintenance, employee shortages head agenda as NATA, PAMA meet
By Lindsay M. Hitch, Assistant Editor
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA) discuss aviation issues in conjunction with the upcoming AS3 show in Long Beach including employee shortages; maintenance regulations; ergonomics standards; curriculum and training; legal representation; NATA’s AAAI; and drug testing.
With shortages in aviation maintenance professionals and flight instructors and the expected rewrite of Part 65, NATA and PAMA members are sharing more this year than just a trade show.
REWRITING PART 65
After a barrage of opposing comments, the NPRM of Part 66 has been withdrawn and will not be reissued.
"Part 66, the NPRM, is a classic study on how rulemaking is supposed to work," says Ric Peri, technical services manager for NATA. "We were very pleased that the comments from the public asked the right questions, pointed out the deficits of the proposal, and caused the FAA to go back and reevaluate things."
Much of the trouble with the Part 65 rewrite is trying to correct too many things at once, says Peri. In addition to gender neutrality, the rewrite may contain a mechanic/technician terminology change and an attempt at reregistration. PAMA’s Macnair and NATA’s Peri agree that they expect to see requirements for continuing education included in the rewrite.
According to Macnair, FAA’s work on Part 65 is being done in harmony with Part 147. Many people within the industry would like to see FAA regulate training requirements under Part 147. NATA and PAMA agree, however, that a government regulation is not the place for training standards.
Macnair explains, "PAMA thinks the curriculum should be moved into an industry standard in much the same way that the medical and legal professions are trained to industry standards."
Peri adds that "the majority of maintenance technicians out there get recurrent training. We’re constantly learning. We learn over a cup of coffee. We learn at the PAMA convention. We learn at industry meetings. We learn at FAA IA-renewal sessions."
PAMA has begun work with the Aircraft Electronics Association to set up a Center of Excellence through funding from the National Science Foundation. AEA received a grant to begin work on this training body which will establish training and standards for avionics and maintenance professionals. The program is in its infant stages, but Macnair hopes it will grow to be embraced by the industry as a whole.
RESPONSIBILITY FORLIFE-LIMITED PARTS
There is a debate in the industry, however, as to who should be responsible for the disposition of expired parts.
The current proposal places the responsibility for disposition on the person who removes the part. Proper disposition means segregating, marking, destroying, or locking up parts that have reached their life limits. Currently the person who removed the part responsible if it ever ends up on another airplane, even if it had been properly marked or segregated.
"We want life-limited parts to be segregated; at least we want life-limited parts that have reached their life limits to be segregated," Macnair says. "But it has to rest on the owner/operators’ shoulders. This goes back to the basic premise that owner/operators are responsible for the airworthiness of their aircraft."
The proposal requires the segregation of all life-limited parts including those that have not reached their life limits. PAMA feels there is no reason to disposition parts within their life limits.
"In other words, if the part is airworthy, as long as we transfer the life-status, there is no reason why we have to segregate that part from all others -- it is still airworthy," says Doug Macnair. "It’s only after they reach their life limit that we care that they don’t make it back into that parts stream."
PAMA feels that it should be the responsibility of technicians to alert owner/operators of parts that have reached their life limits, but that the disposition of those parts should rest on the owner/operator, that the decision to remove and segregate or destroy a part should be the responsibility of the owner/operator of the aircraft.
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