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I came form an area of the industry that when you told a customer he needed something, he did it or as the DOM I approved it. This has been my first real experience in a Part 145 CRS maintaining Part 91 GA aircraft. I have known from past experience that the only requirement (for the most part) for these aircraft under 12,500 and or turbine powered aircraft was an Annual and AD compliance. With all the STC’s out there for avionics upgrades my question is this, does an operator have to comply with an STC ICA’s for equipment installed on his or her aircraft?

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Respectfully sir, you've missed the boat. Part 145 or not, ICA's specifically contained in an STC are mandatory for the airworthiness of that component and, in total, for the aircraft in which it's installed. The FAA started requiring ICA information on ANY 337 Form submitted in the late 90s. That ICA information becomes a permanent part of the aircraft's records and non-compliance is a violation. Specific avionics installs such as Garmin, Sandel and others have ICAs contained in the installation manuals and/or flight manual supplements.

Now to open another door, in my opinion (and this is where the fun begins) FAR Part 43.13 mandates all ICAs to be performed. And I quote from Performance rules (general).

"(a) Each person performing maintenance, alteration, or preventive maintenance on an aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliance shall use the methods, techniques, and practices prescribed in the current manufacturer's maintenance manual or Instructions for Continued Airworthiness prepared by its manufacturer, or other methods, techniques, and practices acceptable to the Administrator, except as noted in Sec. 43.16..."

This debate has been going on for many years now and, until the FAA picks a side, will continue to do so...

Thanks for your comments, unfortunately I'm driving the boat. I just can't get anybody else to get onboard, the customers or the maintenance side of the house. In all the previous entries for said aircraft, the signoff is I/A/W MFG Recommended Program. Well guess what one entry in a log book that states "Complied with Annual Inspection" I/A/W MFG Inspection Guide Ch 5 does not an Annual make.
FAR Part 43 App D is the most pathetic inspection guide I have every laid my eyes on. I really don't like these things flying over my house! This is just another aspect of GA that I'm not willing to put my name on. I'm tired of the fight, I think I'll go grow grapes in Missouri!

Sorry skipper! If you're running a CRS under Part 145 and you're using 43 Appendix D, I can see where you're frustrated! None the less you, as the boat driver, are responsible for the product you release. If you're not doing ICAs, get a good attorney cuz it's gonna bite you in the transom...

A saying my old flight instructor passed on to me may help you! He told me, I am my own quality control...

Where do find that ICAs are mandatory to be complied with for part 91 aircraft?

The fact that FAA requires STCs to contain ICAs does not make them mandatory in all cases.

As I understand the regulations, only the Airworthiness Limitations section of an ICA is mandatory if it contains one.

Inquiring minds would like to know the regulatory basis for your statement???

Respectfully sir, if you'll peruse FAR Part 43.13 Performance Rules (general) you'll see this: (a) Each person performing maintenance, alteration, or preventive maintenance on an aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliance shall use the methods, techniques, and practices prescribed in the current manufacturer's maintenance manual or Instructions for Continued Airworthiness prepared by its manufacturer, or other methods, techniques, and practices acceptable to the Administrator, except as noted in Sec. 43.16.

That tells you that if an ICA written by the manufacturer exists, you, as the technician performing maintenance on that article, must do it IAW, among other things, the ICA for that component.

That's in Part 43, the mechanics Bible. Others cite sections of Part 91 rules against compliance with ICAs but I disagree. Part 91 is flight rules and does not govern maintenance actions. It tells the owner/operator WHEN maintenance is required, it DOES NOT tell us HOW to perform it!

Correct, 43.13 also states: "or other methods, techniques, and practices acceptable to the administrator". Given that statement, it is not even required to follow the manufacturer's maintenance manual in all cases.

While I'm not saying that it is the best practice, I see no regulatory requirement fo comply with ICAs other than the airworthiness limitations sections.

A manufacturer cannot levy a requirement without going through the regulatory process (NPRM)

Following your interpretation, a manufacturer can issue an ICA at any time, for anything and we would be bound to comply. Sorry, not so.

You have badly misinterpreted the intent of that sentence "or other methods, techniques, and practices acceptable to the administrator". Those "other" options must be submitted and approved before they can be initiated and they MUST coincide with current regulations and may not be contrary to any current publications! There is no way the FAA will allow you to ignore, divert, omit or in any way amend technical information generated by the manufacturers!

Sorry Anonymous, but that does not allow you to circumvent ICAs!

Respectfully, I have yet to see you post any reference to your interpretation of 43.13.

You might want to familiarize yourself with FAA ORDER 8620_2A, APPLICABILITY AND ENFORCEMENT OF MANUFACTURER'S DATA.

"Information and guidance is also provided regarding OEM maintenance manual material, Service Letters (SL) and Service Bulletins (SB), and other maintenance or flight operations information including any material that has been identified or labeled by an OEM as “Mandatory.”

Section 43.13(a) states, in part, “Each person performing maintenance, alteration, or preventive maintenance on an aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliance shall use the methods, techniques, and practices prescribed in:
The current manufacturer’s maintenance manual or;
Instructions for Continued Airworthiness prepared by its manufacturer, or;
Other methods, techniques, and practices acceptable to the Administrator.”
The language of § 43.13(a) clearly provides a person with three permissible options when performing maintenance, alterations, or preventive maintenance on a product. Section 43.13(a) does not provide an order of precedence for these three options. Further, although § 43.13(a) does not specifically address SB’s or SL’s, an OEM may legitimately incorporate an SB or SL into one of its maintenance manuals by reference. If it does so, the data specified, and the method, technique, or practice contained therein, may be acceptable to the Administrator. However, unless any method, technique, or practice prescribed by an OEM in any of its documents is specifically mandated by a regulatory document, such as Airworthiness Directive (AD), or specific regulatory language such as that in § 43.15(b); those methods, techniques, or practices are not mandatory.

WOW! You, [anonymous] sir, obviously can't see the forest for the trees! You're correct, 43.13 does not provide an order of precedence for our options. You do not, however, have an option of 'to do' or 'not to do'. The technical data you reference, Service Bulletins, Service Letters and I'll add Service Instructions do constitute legitimate actions for performing maintenance. However, never did I say they were mandatory! The discussion is about ICAs and I do say THEY are mandatory!

When you read 43.13 you'll see the word "shall" not "may""will" or "could"... but "SHALL"! If you look up the definition of "Shall" you'll find: will have to - must: used to express a command or exhortation: used in laws, regulations, or directives to express what is mandatory. The 3rd definition, 'used in laws, regulations or directives' is pertinent here-mandatory.

FAR Parts 21.50, 43.16 and 91.403 also references ICAs as does FAA Orders 8110.50 and 8620.2a but Sec. 91.1501 Purpose and definition tells the owner/operator what must be done and I quote:

(a) This subpart requires operators to support the continued airworthiness of each airplane. These requirements may include, but are not limited to, revising the inspection program, incorporating design changes, and incorporating revisions to Instructions for Continued Airworthiness.

Common sense, which is in short supply nowadays, tells you the purpose of ICAs is to keep the aircraft airworthy! They provide documentation of necessary methods, inspections, processes, and procedures to do so. Why would ANY self-respecting aviation professional seek to circumvent procedures to keep their customers, clients, owners or operators and even friends and families from maintaining their equipment in the safest form possible?

Maintenance should not be sold to the lowest bidder but to the one with the goal of perfection. If you can't afford the maintenance, you can't afford the aircraft. To take ANY shortcuts in aviation maintenance is to play Russian roulette with an automatic weapon! After all, you can't pull to the side of a cloud and pop the cowl.

Debate, discuss, side step, rebuke or rebutt all you want. Any aviation technician with a modicum of self-respect will do the right thing by his or her customer! And the right thing is performing ICAs...

Nicely done Bob,

Why do the Repair Stations and Customers want to do "The Minimum" Everything I push out the door has to be able to carry my family. When people fly past their TBO, this inspection or that and to them it's no big deal. I don’t want to put my name on it. I keep hearing we are within the law and guidelines as set forth by the FAA. Nothing is ever a problem until a catastrophic event and no matter what you have done even if you did not directly cause it your work will be securitized, if you haven’t used due diligence you will be held liable. And then if you are found not at fault then it’s a civil matter and the family has a turn at you. Why take the chance?
I have never been involved in an incidents but I know several people at each facility where I have worked in the past have. Aviation is an inherently dangerous business and people want to compound that by doing as little as they can.
Take your silly little airplane and your shade tree mentality down the road.

And please, don't fly over my house anymore!

Amen Harvey! I applaude your safety record and I'll proudly share mine. I have been in aviation, both military and civilian, since 1969. During that time, I have NEVER had an accident or incident that was caused by any maintenance performed by me or anyone under my supervision where there was a loss of life, limb or even a broken finger nail. Like the 7-Up commercial used to say, never had, never will...

You are correct in citing Webster's definition of "shall", however you conveniently overlooked the word "or" as used in 43.13.

Again, YOU say STC ICAs are mandatory, however the FAA does not say that for all cases, only certain cases.

21.50 does indeed reference ICAs. nowhere does it state, or imply that STC ICAs are universally mandatory for mechanics to comply with.

43.16 references the AIRWORTHINESS LIMITATIONS section of an ICA. Yes, that section is universally mandatory. No argument there, see my earlier posts and don't confuse all ICAs with those that contain an AIRWORTHINESS LIMITATIONS section. Most don't contain one.

91.1501 is applicable to transport category aircraft operators only, no all operators however it still has no mandatory requirments for complying with ICAs.

No where did you provide an FAA reference that states ICA compliance is universally mandatory.

You seem to think that "common sense" and "I do say they are mandatory" make it so.

Sorry, while I don't disagree that compliance is a good idea, it cannot be said that ICA compliance is mandatory in all cases without exception, because there are exceptions despite your version of "common sense" and your opinion.

Respectfully, both of you self righteous, highly experienced gifts to the aviation maintenance community missed the point.

The original poster didn't ask "should" owners comply with ICAs, he asked a legal question. What he got from you two was a convoluted, confused misunderstanding of the regulations that morphed into a high and mighty pontification into the way things ought to be done. That is, after you realized you were incorrect in your FAR interpretation.

America is a wonderful country! It allows me to express my opinions freely without fear of retribution. Oh yeah, I could debate this subject anonymously too but I believe in what I say and I'm not embarrassed or ashamed to take a stand. I wonder what our anonymous posters are afraid of??? Come out, come out whoever you are and debate this man to man...

Hi; I am in the prebuy inspection and flight test business (AOPA Pilot Magazine articles 2/99 & 10/09 in turbine sections) . I enjoy you informative debates. But help me out here. What is the law? On my inspection report it refer to “ Comply with” and state the FAR number or other document. Sounds like the FAA should clarify these debated points. Better in a Advisory Circular then a FAA order. Any attorneys out there to help us! Don Sebastian A&P, ATP, CFII (910) 315-0099

Really, Don? You have an alphabet behind your name and you're asking that question? Perhaps you should drop the first two...

Amusing, I bet Bob and Harvey religiously comply with all SBs on the their cars, trucks, lawnmowers, water heaters, etc.

Or, do you two only suggest this when it costs other people money?

I'm really becoming annoyed by these geldings who post anonymously. These eunich individuals whose gonads sit in their wives purses while they ignorantly join in conversations they're so obviously NOT qualified for! I'll engage in this battle of witts cuz I'm fighting an unarmed man!

We're not talking about cars, truck, lawnmowers or water heaters here you illiterate buffoon! We're talking about aircraft. Those vessels lacking in the luxury to pull over and check the problem. A ship containing the sanctity of life, some devoid of intelligence like you but life none the less.

And we're not talking about Service Bulletins we're talking about INSTRUCTIONS FOR CONTINUED AIRWORTHINESS! Three multisyllabic words that tax your mental capabilities. Try for some help. Unlike you, I do not find this amusing. There's nothing funny about aviation safety!

And costs should never be a factor in performing maintenance. If you can't afford the maintenance, you can't afford the aircraft! My customers are real people, not Kamikaze, who put their trust in people like me and Harvey because we care. People with a name and a face who accept the seriousness of the responsibilities we undertake. My business card isn't a blank piece of paper but contact information for me, 24x7x365.

I don't make customer calls from a pay phone or leave notes on the back of a crumpled piece of paper on the PICs seat. I have frank, forthright, intelligent discussions about their options and ramifications so THEY can make educated decisions.

You see, ANONYMOUS, it isn't about me, it's about the lives that people entrust to me...

The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the search bar above.

Speaking of "educated" decisions,

do you have any data to suggest that non compliance with an STC ICA caused an accident/incicent, or has led to a loss of safety in any way?

I didn't think so.

Your capabilities impress me! You are correct [for once] and I apologize for the misspelling. However the word still applies, eunuch-a man or boy deprived of the testes or external genitals, one that lacks virility or power. Impress me again, grow a set and sign your name to your rantings...

As for your second part, " you have any data to suggest that non compliance with an STC ICA caused an accident/incicent, or has led to a loss of safety in any way?" I'm gonna answer that by sharing something my pappy told me many, many years ago. It's better to keep your mouth shut and let the world believe you're an idiot than to open it and remove all doubt! But I guess you already know that and it's why you won't sign your name!!!


Silly Bob, your Ad hominem personal attack simply relflects the weak basis of your position regarding the subject matter.

Now then, can you cite one, just one NTSB investigated incident where failure to comply with an STC ICA was a contributing factor?

Yep, I thought so, you can't.

I think I need to side with Bob P. Accidents from not following ICA is not the question on the table. Accidents or not (and I don't know if there are) the question is what is the rule and do you need to follow the rule. You have part 21.50 requiring ICA for TC & SRC and AC 33.4-1 backing it up. Then 91.C says the pilot can not operate an aircraft unless all ICA Airworthiness Limitations are complied with. Then there is 43.13 the requires the use of ICA by the mechanic. One controversy may be that the rule talks about "manufacturer" ICA and some people read that to mean only the OEM. If you look at the AC 33.4-1 or 21.50 it groups the TC OEM and STC holder and PMA as the ICA issuers.

Sigh. Again, the issue here is STC ICA compliance for a part 91 private operator. I don't dispute that airworthiness limitations sections of ICAs are always required. Few ICAs have an airworthiness limitations section. This is the only part of an ICA in which compliance is always mandatory.

Despite what some here have rendered as legal opinion, it simply isn't so.

If you want to discuss whether STC ICA compliance is a safety issue, or customer service issue, or a smart thing to do, then it is a different discussion.

Confused individuals should check with those chartered with rendering legal opinion in the subject matter, FAA Chief, or regional counsel.

People are confusing the regulations regarding ICA compliance with regulations that require compliance with the AIRWORTHINESS LIMITATIONS SECTION of an ICA.

Different animals altogether

Don't sigh... SIGN!!! The attack on your character [or lack thereof] is definitely personal because it's an affront to all the intelligent people who read these blogs AND SIGN THEIR NAMES when they respond! THAT, cur, is what makes an intelligent discussion.

You, on the other hand, emit inept, ineffectual blurbs on a subject you obviously know nothing about while I have the education, experience, industry reputation and a NAME to fortify my point. I would offer that it is you, in fact, who is weak and afraid to come out of the closet for fear of repercussions from peers who will see you as lacking in more than just education...

Here's a challenge... My name is Robert Joseph Pasch, my email is [email protected], I live in Frederick, MD. and my number is (240) 344-6586. What's yours?

Really? So you think ICAs apply differently depending on how the aircraft is operated? Is that your contention ANONYMOUS? You really need to voluntarily surrender whatever lisences you have, you obviously didn't earn them...

I have a King Air that's flown Part 135 with an ICA for a lead acid battery. Must I comply with the ICA?

So I take that same King Air off Part 135 ops and operate it strictly Part 91, now must I comply with the battery ICA?

I'll give you a hint... The answer is YES to both! There's absolutely nothing related to aircraft operations as a determination for performing ICAs! Your turn shadow...

Sorry Bob, your interpretation of the requirement is incorrect. Check with FAA Chief Counsel.

Flame away with personal attacks

Neither the FAA nor its Chief Counsel have set a position on this as of yet NO NAME! And if you're gonna refer to the 2003 memo put out by an assistant, it's been recinded for almost 6 years now. Maybe if you'd spend some time researching you'd know these things. Or do you spend all your time removing the name tags mommy put in your clothing so no one knows who you are? That's gotta be a tough job...

The original question is a legal one. Are an STC's ICA required by law. I believe as has been stated, that unless they are a part of an FAA approved airworthiness limitations section, then the ICA are not necessarily regulatory. ICA/maintenance manuals contain accepted methods, techniques, and practices. These are the how-to's of maintenance; Step-wise directions for performing a task. The performance rule requires the use of these. ICA contain many other things, like TBO's, parts replacement requirements or training requirements. These "requirements" are manufacturer requirements. They are not legal requirements, unless tied directly to regulatory language. Just because it is in the manufacturer's maintenance manual, or ICA prepared by the manufacturer, doesn't make it law. The use of accepted methods, techniques, and practices are required by law, specifically 14 CFR part 43.13(a) when maintenance is performed.
Part 43 applies with few exceptions, to all US airworthiness certificated aircraft regardless of which rule they are operated under.
I have heard the statement made that what's legal is not always safe. I think that I disagree with this, generally speaking. I have not personally experienced a situation where applying this interpretation has caused a safety issue. I do believe that the manufacturer is generally the most knowledgeable source for infomation on maintenance of their product, but I don't think it is a good idea to always assume this. In many cases, the use of accepted methods, techniques, and practices from the maintenance manual, or ICA is mandatory because no other accepted methods, techniques, and practices exist.
Are maintenance manuals/ICA legally required? No. Just because a manufacturer puts the words "maintenance manual", or "ICA" on a document, does not cause compliance with the entire document to be required by law.
It is good business for manufacturers help ensure that their products are properly maintained, but the FAA connot delegate its authority or responsibility to any individual. Manufacturers are profit motivated, and as such may be looking at things through a slightly different lens than the FAA (who represents "we the people").
I think it goes without saying that maintenance decisions should be based on safety, and one should never compromise on this principal to meet schedule or budget. But, ignoring these practical aspects is not good either. The FAA knows this. It's a 100 hr. inspection. It can be done every 50 hrs. and one might try to say that that enhances safety, but I don't see them being around for long. The engine has a 3600 Hr. manufacturer recommended TBO, but the rule says that as long as it passes its required inspections (Meets type design, and is in a condition for safe operation), overhaul is not required by law.
I definately don't know all there is to know about the rules, but from what I have seen, they are pretty good at keeping us safe by providing the necessary checks and balances in the system. The FAA expects me to follow the rules, and I expect them to also. When we discover weaknesses in our system, we should feel obligated to report them so that corrective actions can be put in place. It only benefits us all.

Begging your pardon Whiteface but your example of having to be in an FAA approved airworthiness limitations section has no relevance to an ICA contained in an STC! Apples & oranges. An STC is a Supplemental Type Certificate. It carries the same weight as a Type Certificate. ANY ICA contained in an STC MUST BE COMPLIED WITH as the instructions state. That's a fact...

ICA/maintenance manuals that exist as a required part of an STC have the same weight as those created as a part of a TC. The methods, techniques, and practices contained in them must be used when performing Mx. The other stuff is not (legally) mandatory.

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