ICA Guidance Open for Comment

The FAA has released for comment two guidance documents pertaining to Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA): Draft FAA Order 8110.54B and Draft Advisory Circular 20-ICA. ICA availability is an issue that has a direct effect on repair stations and distributors, and ASA has done a significant amount of work to ensure that ICA are available and accurate in accordance with the Federal Aviation Regulations.

Draft Order 8110.54B is guidance directed at FAA personnel and persons responsible for administering the requirements for ICA.  Among other changes, the draft reorganizes the Order to reflect material moved to AC 20-ICA (below), and importantly incorporates guidance implementing the FAA’s Policy Statement PS-AIR-21.50.01, Type Design Approval Holder Inappropriate Restrictions on the Use and Availability of Instructions for Continued Airworthiness.  ASA has been supportive of the FAA in the adoption that Policy Statement that is intended to protect the industry from anti-competitive ICA restrictions.

Draft AC 20-ICA is a new Advisory Circular that removes industry-specific guidance from the internal FAA Order and places it in a stand-alone AC.  This effort is similar to the FAA’s actions in revising other Orders, which are directed to FAA employees, and removing guidance that is actually intended to be directed outward toward industry and properly placing it in an Advisory Circular.  Like Draft Order 8110.54B, the draft AC implements the FAA policy on ICA established in the Policy Statement.  The proposed AC provides guidance to design approval holders (DAH) and design approval applicants for developing and distributing ICA.

Not only does the availability of ICA directly effect repair stations, the availability of parts lists that are included as a part of the ICA is an important issue for the supplier community.

After a preliminary review these documents appear to offer very positive guidance for the aviation maintenance and distribution industries.  ASA will be reviewing both of these documents closely and offering comments and support for these policies to the FAA.  We encourage repair stations and distributors to review both documents as well.

Comments on both guidance documents must be submitted by October 6, 2015, and may be submitted to the FAA via email to 9-AVS-ICA@faa.gov.  If you have comments or observations that you feel ASA should include in its comments to the FAA, email them to Ryan Aggergaard at ryan@washingtonaviation.com so the we can include them.

Advertisements

ASA Supports FAA ICA Policy

More than ever, it is important for the aircraft parts distribution community that repair vendors have access to the latest maintenance instructions for rotable parts. ASA members are ferquently relying on repair stations to overhaul parts that will be made available to the aviation industry to support safe flight. Today, ASA filed comments on the Proposed FAA ICA Policy (Policy Statement, PS-AIR-21.50-01: Inappropriate DAH Restrictions on the Use and Availability of ICA). ASA’s comments supported the policy, but requested that the FAA policy better reflect the new need for Commercial Parts Lists to be made available. ASA’s comments will be made available on ASA’s website.

The FAA policy was written in response to the growing practice of manufacturers licensing their manuals on the condition that the licensee repair station or air carrier/operator pledge to refrain from using competitive products like DER repairs or PMA parts. This can make it more difficult for ASA members to find qualified repair stations to overhaul aircraft parts, and it increases the total cost of obtaining repairs by creating a monopolistic environment that permits the manufacturer to charge monopolistic prices for parts and technologies that are needed for repairs. This undermines competition, innovation and safety.

The FAA retains the power to influence the method of distribution for ICAs, because the regulatory appendices that describe the minimum standards for such ICAs require the ICA-publisher to have a mechanism for distributing the ICAs and their amendments, and to submit that mechanism to the FAA. This permits the FAA to establish standards for what will be considered acceptable or unacceptable among such distribution mechanisms.

The FAA policy makes it clear that it is not acceptable for manufacturers to license their ICAs using restrictive licenses that preclude competition. For example, an engine manufacturer may not license its ICAs on the condition that the licensee agree not to purchase PMA parts for the engines.

ASA supports practices that make it easier for repair stations to ensure tha their repairs reflect the latest technologies, and methods for achieving safety.  Thus, ASA is very supportive of the FAA policy.

ASA exhorts the entire aviation community to file comments with the FAA supporting the FAA ICA Policy Memo. Comments may be filed by sending an email to John.Cerra@FAA.gov.

%d bloggers like this: