What Wasn't Written....

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Buddy
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What Wasn't Written....

I have employed a rather exhausting campaign over the years to read and understand the regulations. Why, early in my career one of my mentors asked me if I had read and understood FAR 43? I responded “NO”. He replied back, “how does it feel to be dumber than an FAA Inspector?” Well, I couldn’t stand for that, so I dove into the regulations. Not only did my knowledge base expand, but my career really took off as well. Aside from all the finite details and legal jargon, I realized I was reading the “Book of Safety”. Regardless if the regulations perfectly or logically hit the nail on the head, the global intent is SAFETY. I also accepted the fact I am in this industry of free will. And although I may not always agree with the regulations, I am committed to compliance, because again, I know the intent is SAFETY.

As I continued my research, analysis, and understanding of the regulations it dawned on me, sometimes it’s not what the FAA said in the regulations that matters; it’s what they chose NOT to say that bears the greatest insight. Allow me to share a few examples where the intentional lack of detail actually provides clear and concise definition.

FAR 65.77 A&P Experience Requirements. Notice in this regulation there is no speak to being in the United States, or working on United States Registered aircraft. Because this requirement intentionally lacks the detail or limitations, one could gain their experience on foreign soil and on foreign military aircraft and still meet this requirement.

For the Inspection Authorization Individuals. Reference FAR 65.93 where it talks to renewal requirements. Specifically 65.93 (a) (2). The number of Major Repairs and Major Alterations required to renew you IA. Take note of the very first word “Performed”, not “Approved”. Accident, absolutely not, as they use the same exact language in paragraph (1) in reference to the number of Annual Inspections required to renew your IA. So, if I “performed” 4 annual inspection but did not “Approve” the aircraft for return to service I could still count this activity for the basis of renewing my I/A? The answer is clearly YES, you could. Considering the FAA Form 337 has two blocks one titled “Approved” and the other titled “Rejected”. If I “Rejected” 8 FAA Forms 337 for Major Repairs or Major Alterations I could use this activity as a basis for renewing my I/A? The answer is clearly YES. Could this be an oversight, I think not, because in paragraph (3) of the same regulation they are talking about Progressive inspections, they use the word “Approved”. Again, not accidental, but intentional. Ever consider renewing your I/A based on 8 rejected 337's?

Care for one more? Is installing radio or navigation equipment in aircraft a Major Alteration? Let’s allow the regulations to guide us, reference FAR 43, Appendix A, Airframe Major Alterations. Anywhere in the list of what qualifies as a Major Airframe Alteration do you see the word Radio or Navigation Equipment? NO, you do not. Maybe the FAA simply forgot about Radio and Navigation equipment, I think NOT considering they very clearly used it in Appliance Major Alterations. This tells me the omittance of Radio and Navigation equipment listed in Airframe Major Alterations was NOT accidental, but articulately intentional. FAR 1 definition of Major Alteration advises me it is a Major Alteration if NOT accomplished to accepted practices. Please reference AC 43.13-2B, title page under PURPOSE: “This data generally pertains to minor alterations”…. Chapter 2 in AC 43.13-2b is all about installing radios, and Chapter 3 is all about installing antennas.

The objective here is NOT to foster a band of renegades trying to expand the rules, but to further enlighten our understanding and appreciation there might be a specific reasons something was NOT written.

The discussed concept may be broadened when reading the accomplishment documented on an 8130-3 for an overhaul. In the “Here is What We/I did” block on the 8130-3 if it only said “Overhauled In Accordance with Current Manufacturers Overhaul Instructions”, should we simply ASSUME they conducted an A.D. research on the major component and its sub-assemblies? If your statement of work only requested an Overhaul, the overhaul facility may assume you have either accomplished the A.D. research, or you will accomplish it when you get the component back. I have never seen in any OEM’s overhaul instructions the requirement to conduct an A.D. research, have you? Is it possible to be holding a fresh 8130-3 serviceable tag with a 0.0 hrs since Overhaul, and the component have an open A.D. against it? You tell me…..

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whitefaced
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Buddy,
I think you make a very good point with regard to "overhaul". To me, this is one of the primary practical reasons that overhauls never substitute for required inspections.
43.15 makes mandatory, the inspection for all items of airworthiness. AD's and type design issues must be confirmed here. As you state, overhaul instructions do not include these requirements, nor does the overhaul definition in part 43.2.

Doug Hereford

As a retired FAA ASI I still keep going back to Part 43 and rereading it to have a clear understanding and this is why the preamble of each regulation is so important. As for any overhaul, we must include:
§43.15 Additional performance rules for inspections.
(a) General. Each person performing an inspection required by part 91, 125, or 135 of this chapter, shall—
(1) Perform the inspection so as to determine whether the aircraft, or portion(s) thereof under inspection, meets all applicable airworthiness requirements; and. (this would mean ADs)

In addition for any alteration we have to consider §43.13 Performance rules (general).
(b) Each person maintaining or altering, or performing preventive maintenance, shall do that work in such a manner and use materials of such a quality, that the condition of the aircraft, airframe, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance worked on will be at least equal to its original or properly altered condition (with regard to aerodynamic function, structural strength, resistance to vibration and deterioration, and other qualities affecting airworthiness).

What §43.13 (b) says anything better than or less than is an major alteration, but it has to be equal to its original or properly altered condition.

I have to have a written test on Part 43 I give out during my IA renewal course and it is an eye opener for the A&Ps and IAs that take the test. Maybe I should post it as it tags along with your article you wrote

Very good article.

Buddy
Buddy's picture

As always Denny you are spot on; however, it is surprising to know the volume of overhauls being performed without having an A.D. research. As we all know an A.D. could be issued the day after the component leaves the overhaul facility. So if the item is in the owner’s inventory for any length of time, the component could still have an open A.D. on a 0.0 hours since overhaul.

I like to address the limitations by the author of the 8130-3 tag, because there some folks that think just because they have a fresh 8130-3, they are good to go, and this is NOT always the case. If I am conducting an overhaul on a component, and it requires NDT on a particular item, I may sub that work out because I don’t have the capability to perform the NDT. If the item is determined serviceable after NDT, it only means no cracks identified. This does NOT indicate the NDT facility performed the dimensional checks on the item, only the NDT, and nothing more. Again, the intention is to highlight the only thing returned to service is limited to the text in the “Here is What I Did” block of the 8130-3.

This year marks my 18th year conducting IA renewal seminars. I attempt to identify potential weaknesses or assumptions within our industry and bring them to light.

This June, I will have 40 years in aircraft maintenance, I only have one desire, all I want to do is prevent just one accident, nothing more.

Thanks for your kind words, you’re an asset to our industry.

Buddy
Buddy's picture

Doug, I agree completely, 43.2 would have been the perfect location to add the requirement to ensure all A.D.’s are complied with after the overhaul, but before the Return to Service.

whitefaced
whitefaced's picture

Buddy,
I haven't really sorted through my position on a requirement for AD research in conjunction with overhaul. Off hand, I think I disagree with a mandate for an overhauler to be required to perform AD research and/or compliance.
I like the idea that this responsibility falls on the aircraft owner, and the inspector.
From a business prospective however, I feel like is it very necessary for an overhauler to consider/recommend any ADs that apply as a consequence of overhaul, or that make practical sense to comply with during overhaul. Even still, the owner should have made his or herself aware of these requirements prior to overhaul, and contracted with the overhauler to have those items complied with as needed.
Of course you are correct that any part can sit "on the shelf" and become the subject of an AD after an overhaul, but before being put into service. I see no way to hold a third party overhauler responsible in this case however.
If I ever overhauled a component, and the owner elected not to comply with an applicable AD related to the component's overhaul, I would be very detailed in my records to that effect.

Doug Hereford

Buddy
Buddy's picture

Doug, I have heard arguments on both sides of the coin and find rational in both arguments with respect to who should be responsible. As it stands today 100% responsibility of A.D. research and compliance is in the hands of the installer. The basic point I was trying to highlight was the fact the Return to Service is strictly limited to the text of what was accomplished and nothing more. As I am sure you know, there are individuals that might believe a fresh 0.0 hr. since overhaul on an 8130-3 coming from a Certified Repair Station dropped right out of “Aviation Heaven”, and this is the green light to install as necessary.

I find a GAP between what has been delivered, and what some might assume has been delivered. I’ve always thought it might be interesting to poll the recipients of a 0.0 hrs since overhauled 8130-3 and ask them the questions: Did the Overhaul Facility perform an A.D. research on the component before they executed the Return to Service? I would expect the vast majority to respond: “Well Yea, of course they did.” While simultaneously asking the overhauler’s if they performed an A.D. research on the component and sub-assemblies before executing the Return to Service. As I would expect their response to be “Not required too, it wasn’t on the statement of work received from the customer, we do what we are contracted to do.” In lies the GAP I was trying to highlight.

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