Inside the Beltway

Inside the Beltway

By Stan Mackiewicz

July 1999

Stan Mackiewicz

New FSAW kills AC43.13.1a Change 3
A new Flight Standards Information Bulletin for Airworthiness (FSAW) sets the last date the old AC 43.13.1a can be used for field approval of Major Repairs as May 10, 2000. FAA Airworthiness Safety Inspectors (ASI) may accept data from the older AC if it is the same as the data in the new AC, but it is a determination the individual ASI must make. Save some time and postage on rejections by quoting the new AC.

FAA maintenance management
Mirroring the industry shortage of a stable technical workforce, changes at FAA Headquarters with maintenance personnel who are responsible for maintenance policy and standards is causing concern. As this goes to press Ava Mims, manager of the Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Division has been kicked upstairs to the position of AFS 2, deputy to AFS1 Director of Flight Standards Service. She is leaving her position in the hands of her former deputy, Carol Giles (AFS 301) as the new acting manager to be augmented by a new acting manager, Steven Douglas. A key position below that is the manager of the General Aviation Maintenance Branch, currently headed by Wayne Nutsch, is also in an acting position. To sum up for Washington insiders, AFS 2 new, AFS300 Acting, AFS 301 Acting, AFS 340 Acting.

If this were a business, someone would ask if they pay enough.

Part 66, Part 65, whatever...
Discussions are ongoing within the FAA about what to do about the industry's general rejection of the proposed rule and negative comments that came back from the NPRM. The general word is that Part 66 is "dead." However, the 12-year FAA rulemaking activity must bear some fruit. Too much work, study (read that money), and ARAC activity has been spent to drop all the proposed changes. Look for revisions to come to Part 65 instead. Nobody is taking book on which changes, where, when, or how. But, a little bird tells us recurrent and refresher training is near the top of the FAA wish list.

User fees
It appears that the possibility of user fees this year is on the wane. Reports by AvWeb and others indicate that the idea is dead. Individual aviation maintenance technicians would be affected by fees through the trickle-down effect that they would have from increasing the costs of flying. We hope the FAA has learned a lesson not to factor in possible user fees in their budget as they did last year. Such budgeting based on speculation caused the postponement of many major programs and the killing of the Alerts Bulletin as a free subscription.

Chew on this one
National Public Radio reported that the East Coast was closing beaches due to a shortage of lifeguards, while the West Coast did not suffer the same problem. It seems that the West Coast's starting pay is $18.00 per hour. One wonders if pay is the sole reason rather than the slightly better West Coast weather and bathing attire.

It occurs to us that although seasonal, lifeguarding has some similarities to the job of the aviation maintenance technician. Both involve outside work, require technical skills, as well as the ability to move heavy objects. And, uniforms are generally provided. Also, the airlines might consider shopping on the beaches at the end of the season for new A&P's to find those who were attracted by the higher starting pay.

AMT awards
The AMT Awards program is growing by leaps and bounds. Next year will see double the number of sponsors and an equivalent increase in the number of prizes. Over 16,000 AMTs participated last year and this year over 25,000 are expected. The program awards prizes to mechanics that take maintenance or regulation type training. What makes the contest so interesting is that all the training is voluntary.

Airlines have begun to support the program in larger numbers. Delta was first, then Frontier and Southwest came onboard. United Airlines is showing interest.

This program started in the Southern Region and was so successful, it has gone national. Management of the program is now being picked up by FAA Headquarters in Washington and is expected to go through some modification. There may be four programs instead of one limited to AMTs. Others expected are programs tailored to repair stations, Part 147 schools, and air carriers, as well as the original program aimed at GA AMTs.

Visit www.faa.gov/fsdo/awsp, the FSDO web site for more information.

Internet
One popular technical seminar conducted by the FAA at PAMA 99 was about maintenance products on the Web. Some very interesting material can be found on www.faa.gov/avr/afs/300/ afs300a.html. Click to "Hot Links to Safety Critical Information" for a list. Try FAQ's, ADs, FARs, or Handbook and Information Bulletins for some good reference material. Back arrow, and select "Our Branches and National Resource Specialists" and then "Other Sport Aviation Activities" to find Power Point training presentations or Bill O'Brien's AMT articles.

While you are surfing, try out the new Flight Standards District Office Airworthiness Program home page at www.faa.gov/fsdo/awsp. It lists 95 FSDOs and 9 Regions.

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