DAR Privileges, During the Shutdown

We have been receiving queries about what the Government Shutdown means for DARs who issue 8130-3 tags.  The Government Shutdown began Friday night after midnight, when the appropriations continuing resolution expired.

Some people have received notification that their DAR needs pre-approval from their FAA Advisor before doing any DAR work; in the absence of working FAA employees, such pre-approval may be impossible. This means that those DARs may be unable to function during the shutdown because of the absence of FAA employees to issue such pre-approval.

But this does not mean that all DARs are inhibited in this way.  In fact, many DARs should be able to issue 8130-3 tags during the government shutdown.

What is the Legal Effect of the Shutdown?

The U.S. Constitution limits the ability of the government to use funds by stating that money can only be spent if it is permitted under an “Appropriation.”

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time. U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 9, Clause 7

The government is shut down because the government no longer has the authority to spend funds (because the appropriated funding from the most recent continuing resolution ran out on Friday, January 19).

The continuing resolutions that have been discussed in the press have appropriated funds for temporary periods, in order to keep the government functioning at its prior appropriated levels during the temporary funding period. Congress did not pass any sort of extension by the deadline, so the U.S. Government no longer has authority to spend money.

The government shutdown does not mean that the government can’t function – it means that the government can’t spend money.  DARs do not draw any appropriated funds from the U.S. Treasury for their DAR activities, and thus their activities are not curtailed merely as a consequence of the government shutdown.

What Rules Apply to DARs?

There are other rules that apply to DARs that might curtail their activities, or some of their activities, depending on the specific written authority that they’ve been granted.

FAA guidance explains that:

“DARs may perform authorized functions only within the limits of their authority.” FAA Order 8100.8D – Designee Management Handbook ¶ 1410(b).

DARs cannot perform functions outside the authority.  So if you couldn’t perform a function before the shutdown, you still cannot do it during the shutdown.  This also means that if the DAR’s written instructions required him or her to obtain FAA-Advisor approval before beginning a project, that the government shutdown may inhibit that DAR from starting new projects (due to lack of pre-approval).  Similarly if the DAR received appropriate approval before the shutdown (e.g. on Friday the 19th), then the DAR would still be eligible ,

The same FAA guidance also explains that the FAA needs to obtain authorization before accepting “certification or inspection activity.”

“DARs must contact their managing office for authorization BEFORE accepting any certification or inspection activity requested by an applicant and obtain any special directions or instructions deemed necessary.” FAA Order 8100.8D – Designee Management Handbook ¶ 1410(c).

This means that DARs need be authorized to perform DAR work before they start it.  For projects involving complete aircraft, this can mean going back to the FAA Advisor for each aircraft, which permits the FAA Advisor to review any special conditions applicable to that aircraft.  But typically, DARs are provided with general authorization to issue 8130-3 tags for articles, and the DAR’s instructions will be issued with that general authorization.  It would be extremely impractical for DARs to go back to their FAA advisors for form-by-form instructions for each 8130-3 tag that they issue.  It is not unusual for the FAA to insist on annual or quarterly activity reports showing the 8130-3 tags issued (thus permitting review of the use of the authority as it has been exercised).

DAR Advice

What does this mean for DARs who issue 8130-3 tags for articles?  It means that they should go back to their authorizing documents and ensure that they do not have any restrictions that would forbid exercise of authority during the shutdown.  As long as there is no limitation/prohibition, and as long as the DAR has general authority to issue 8130-3 tags, it should be acceptable for the DAR to continue issuing 8130-3 tags during the government shutdown in the same manner that the DAR did before the shutdown.

For DARs who are exercising authority under the FAA’s policy memos, be sure that you are operating under the authority of the appropriate FAA guidance, including the policy memos, which impose additional limits beyond those in the FAA Orders.  For more on this authority, see our past articles:

And also be sure to review the FAA’s policy memo guidance and remain in compliance with the terms and conditions found therein:

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