ASA Members Confirm that Designee Oversight is Restarting

We have been communicating with senior FAA management about the issue of FAA designees whose privileges expire during the government shutdown.  While renewal is usually a straight-forward process, the shutdown has prevented the FAA from renewing designee privileges that are essential to the continued safe functioning of the aviation system.  Designee oversight is an important part of the FAA’s safety oversight system, and FAA has identified it as one of the important functions that should be conducted during the shutdown.

Yesterday, we reported that nearly 3000 additional FAA aviation safety staff had been ordered back to work. We are already seeing the results of this return.

Today, members began to confirm that the FAA was confirming renewal of designee privileges through their online system.  We know that some flight standards designees who were awaiting renewal have received their renewal notifications.

Aircraft certification designees should start enjoying the same oversight, as well.  The FAA has confirmed that some Aircraft Certification staff are among the safety personnel being recalled.

As of today the MIDO’s are nearly up to full strength. The FAA’s focus is on returning the MIDO employees to work, restructuring oversight plans, and starting surveillance up again.  This should be good news for DARs whose delegated privileges are issued via a MIDO.  FAA senior management has clarified that one of the focal areas for the returning aviation safety staff is designee oversight (including both ODAs and individual designees).  The FAA is also recalling a small number of Aircraft Certification engineers, who will be focused on continued airworthiness tasks, including designee oversight (e.g. DERs).

These returning FAA employees will continue to work without pay until the lapse in funding has ended. Congress passed a bi-partisan bill to ensure payment of back-pay to the federal employees, and that bill was signed by the President yesterday, so we know they will be paid, eventually. ASA continues to empathize with the FAA staff whose pay remains withheld, but we also remain proud of the dedicated FAA staff who are returning to their safety mission during the funding lapse.

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Renewing Delegated Privileges During the Shutdown

Delegated privileges for DARs, DERs and DMIRs need to be periodically renewed. Normally, the renewal period is annual (every twelve months).  This affects many people in the aircraft parts community, including the DARs who issue 8130-3 tags for aircraft parts.

Under current guidance, a designee that is not renewed by their expiration date will be automatically placed in expired status.  When a designee is placed in expired status, he or she is not permitted to exercise the delegated functions.

A designee in expired status has a 90 day window.   During that 90 day period, the managing office is expected to determine a follow-on action, that is, either reappointment or termination.  In the event no FAA action is taken, then the action defaults to termination.

This could be a real problem for those designees whose expiration arises during the current lapse in funding (aka the shutdown), because there is likely nobody in the local office who can renew their delegated privileges.

To remedy this, we have asked the FAA senior management to issue a memo that tolls the expiration date of DAR, DER and DMIR delegated privileges.  This would have the effect of freezing the privileges as they existed on December 21, and if they were scheduled to expire between that date and the resumption of funding, then the privileges  would continue in place through the tenth business day after funding resumes (to permit a window of time to process the backlog).

This is a proposal only – and it is likely that the FAA will be unable to issue this proposed memo during the shutdown.

After the 2013 shutdown, FAA issued extensions and deviations once the government was reopened – we expect that this is the approach that will be used again in 2019.  Although the precise nature of the extensions and deviations that will be issued after the shutdown cannot be predicted, we hope that ASA’s draft memo tolling the expiration date of expiring delegations will be used as a template to endorse DAR work performed during the shutdown.

DAR 56? Apply to Extend Your Credentials by September 30!

Do you have function code 56 privileges?  If you do, then you need to renew your credentials ASAP – the deadline for renewal is September 30.  Instructions and other guidance for renewal can be found in our earlier post about submitting your request for renewal.

Background on FC 56

FAA created a program (AIR-100-16-160-PM13) that allowed qualified distributor employees to issue 8130-3 tags as DARs exercising function code (FC) 56.

Many of the eligible new parts had been accepted under their previously acceptable documentation schemes, which were both known and recognized within the industry. ASA argued that under FAA policies (like FAA AC 20-62E), these documents were sufficient to identify a new part and to permit installation, so issuing an 8130-3 tag based on that evidence should be a mere ministerial task. The FAA agreed and created a Limited DAR program (“DAR 56”) in which individuals could obtain the DAR privilege of issuing 8130-3 for parts when the following conditions were met (this is only a partial list):

  1. Individual must work for an accredited distributor, and can only tag parts that were received by the distributor’s accredited system before a certain date (currently November 1, 2016)
  2. Individual must complete FAA training
  3. Part must either bear (1) part markings regulated under 14 C.F.R. § 45.14 [PMA, TSOA and critical parts], (2) a certificate from the manufacturer, confirming that the part was produced under a FAA production approval, or (3) a certificate from the manufacturer’s direct-ship authorized supplier, confirming that the part was produced under a FAA production approval.

The program was scheduled to end on September 30, 2017 but was extended by an additional policy memo (AIR-600-17-6F0-PM01) until 2018.

Discussion with the FAA About the Future of DAR 56

The FAA is considering converting all FC 56 DARs into FC 19 DARs (they will need to apply through normal channels, but the FAA would treat their distribution experience as relevant experience for obtaining Function Code 19 privileges).

If this program goes through, then many of the FC 56 limitations would ‘go away’ and the DARs would be able to use function code 19 to tags other sorts of new parts that have clear indicia of having been produced by US Production Approval Holders.  This could make it easier to handle expendables that have been difficult to get tagged because of their volume and low-cost (relative to the normal cost of obtaining an 8130-3).  It is likely that the converted DARs woud lneed to rely on their AC 00-56 systems as a condition of the exercise of their functions.

This is not yet subject to final approval by FAA management, so it could change!

Advice

If you currently hold Limited DAR credentials under the “DAR 56” program, then

  1. You need to apply to extend your credentials by September 30 – that deadline is coming up fast!! You can find more details here;
  2. Be sure to use your credentials to issue 8130-3 – activity is an important metric when seeking to renew or upgrade your credentials;
  3. We are working with the FAA to permit transfer of your credentials to a permanent DAR with function code 19 (able to issue 8130-3 tags for a wider class of demonstrably airworthy, new parts). We hope to have more news on this, soon!

Congress Working to Renew Business Tax Provisions

What do the following tax provisions all have in common?

  • Research and Development Tax Credit
  • Bonus Depreciation
  • Increased Expensing Limits

They are all business-friendly tax provisions that expired at the end of last year, and thus could be unavailable for businesses when they file their 2014 taxes.

These provisions have all been “temporary ” tax provisions that are regularly renewed.  The fact that they are regularly renewed means that businesses have come to rely on their regular renewal, and expect these provisions to be available.  This could be a real problem for American businesses if the provisions were not renewed; it would lead to unexpectedly high taxes for businesses.  In order to remedy the fact that these provisions are not yet renewed, Congress is still looking to reauthorize these provisions.

On December 3, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would extend these tax provisions by a year.  The measure passed by a vote of 378 – 46.  The bill is HR 5771.

The Senate is planning on taking this matter up, but wants to pass a two-year extender bill, to give businesses more confidence.

All of this needs to happen rapidly, because Congress will soon adjourn for the holidays.

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