ASA Files Formal Comments with the FAA on the Instructions for Completing the 8130-3 Tag

The rules for completing the 8130-3 tag are being revised.  Draft Order 8130.21H (the instructions for completing the 8130-3) was recently released for comment, and ASA filed substantial comments on the new draft in order to help improve it.

The guidance for completion of the FAA Form 8130-3 tag makes some substantive changes in an effort to align with the results of ongoing harmonization efforts between the United States and the European Union, as well as the completion of the Technical Implementation Procedures that correspond to the U.S.-EU bilateral agreement that went into effect May 1, 2011.  We offered our comments on three issues we identified in hopes of clarifying issues that have become, or may become, stumbling blocks to the documentation and traceability system.

Some participants in the aviation industry have been running into problems with obtaining export approvals on products also granted domestic airworthiness approval.  We observed and commented that the guidance for obtaining domestic airworthiness approval had transitioned, without explanation, from a permissive rule requiring additional steps to ensure export approval, to a rigid forbidding of export approval.  We commented that such a reading was improper, and that although a domestic airworthiness approval did not by itself constitute an export approval, neither did it preclude the possibility of obtaining export approval, as some had interpreted.

We also commented that with the implementation of the U.S.-EU bilateral, the requirement that an exporter comply with a “specific country’s special import requirements” had become misleading.  This is because under the Bilateral, EASA assumes oversight over the EU Member States’ import requirements.  This has the effect of both improving uniformity and harmonization, but also of rendering specific countries’ import requirements illusory.  We recommended clarifying this by adding an “agency’s” special requirements are satisfied.

Finally, we commented that the new classification of Rebuilt Engines as a manufacturing practice instead of a maintenance release not only swept an issue of zero-timing rebuilds under the rug, but also worked a disadvantage against small businesses by encouraging European customers to seek out only major manufacturers—the only ones allowed to do rebuilds—at the expense of smaller businesses providing equally effective overhauls.  Most importantly, the proposal ignores the existing regulatory authority for rebuilding, which is derived from Part 43 (the maintenance regulations) and not from Part 21 (the manufacturing instructions).  Our comments were designed to avoid a mismatch between the guidance and the regulations.

About Jason Dickstein
Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. He represents several aviation trade associations, including the Aviation Suppliers Association, the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association.

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