STC ICA's

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What part of OR don't you understand??? This is a futile discussion! You do it your way and I'll do it the RIGHT way...

We used to use Lycoming factory overhauls in many of the flight school airplanes that we maintained for a 141 flight school. When we received an engine back, I was performing some maintenance record research to confirm AD compliance.

Lycoming has an internal policy to comply with all of their mandatory SB, SL,and SI's, which they did do on this particular engine.
AD 98-02-08 is concerned with internal corrosion of the crankshaft forward bore on certain engines. It applied to this engine. The AD directs compliance IAW accomplishment instructions of the non-revision of SB530. Lycoming documented their compliance with rev. B (the latest revision).

When I questioned them on this, they boldly explained to me that compliance with the latest revision was mandatory, and that their service information is all incorporated into their ICA by reference. They cited 43.13 as their reference. And stated that the non-revision of this bulletin was obsolete, and no longer available anyway. When I explained that I believed their overhauled engine to be unairworthy, I was referred by them to their MIDO inspector so that he could set me straight on this issue. I reminded them that it was their idea to involve the FAA, not mine...........I was talking to Lycoming's head of QA.

After a fairly brief phone call with the local MIDO office (the inspector called me), the FAA said that Lycoming was obviously in the wrong, and the matter would get corrected. In a follow-up conversation with MIDO, Lycoming had to make major changes to their procedures in light of this issue. Additionally, the Rev B of SB 530 now has an amendment to allow AMOC compliance with the relevant AD using this rev. (This was all I wanted in the first place).

There is a critical difference between SB 530 original issue (which is referenced in the AD) and rev. B. After about six months, Lycoming finally received an AMCO authorizing AD compliance using either the original or rev B revisions.

In this case. AD compliance as written is IAW SB 530 non-revision. This non-revision SB would fall under the category of "OTHER accepted, methods and techniques" as 43.13(a) rightly allows.

For that six month period until the AMOC was issued, the particular engine (and countless others) were unairworthy.............Specifically because of compliance with MFG ICA.

Doug Hereford

PS. I have more examples.

When a major alteration is approved, either through STC or field approval, it is the "design change" that is actually getting the approval....................not ICA. While those ICA may be incorporated into the body of the STC, or block 8 of the 337, that does not make them Approved data, or a part of the alteration itself (except Airworthiness Limitation section).
Even the methods, techniques, and practices that may be spelled out in the STC or field approval to be used to perform the alteration, are merely accepted. "Other" versions of these could be used as allowed for in 43.14(a) to incorporate the approved alteration into the product being altered.

Doug Hereford

That is a great example Doug and there are many more similar ones.

I frequently find examples where an AD requires compliance with a specific revision of an SB and that SB may have been revised several times since the AD was issued. Many times it is difficult to locate the version of the SB that the AD requires compliance with.

Many times the most current version of the SB conflicts with the one that the AD specified, yet many fall for the "most current is bestest"
fallacy. There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding this in the industry.

Stache, thank you for your post and I do respect your opinion, but I am at a loss as to how you maintain that view in light of paragraph 2 of the legal opinion from the Chief Counsel. Can you please elaborate?

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudic...

Stache,
I would respectfully ask that before you submit a request to the chief counsel, would you make that request available for review on this forum.
Given that it does take so long to receive a reply, and that the quality of the question can effect the quality of the answer, it might make sense to get some input from others.
Just a suggestion, and my opinion only.

Doug Hereford

I can't help but draw an interesting comparison when I think about the nature of this issue, compared to several of the comments given.

There have been a number of respondents who seem preoccupied with credentials. Either to validate/discount someone else's response, or their own, or both. I have purposefully avoided giving my credentials (in spite of repeated requests), because I didn't feel that it pertained to the topic (still don't).

Since 14 (not 49) CFR part 43.13 (a) is at the forefront of this debate, I would make this observation....................... Two of the three options for accepted maintenance performance data come from a specific source, or a specifically qualified entity...............the Manufacturer.

The third (other) source is left to another less prestigious qualification.......................just say something that is correct. Otherwise, the rule does not concern itself with the third source's resume. So long as this OTHER data is acceptable, it can basically come from anyone.

My point is this..............A top-shelf resume is important, but being correct is MORE important in this business. This is not my opinion, it is what the rules require.

Doug Hereford

Lets not bring SB/AD discussions into this string, I have created a new topic for this discussion at
http://www.askbob.aero/content/what-sb-should-i-use-comply-ad

I have submitted a letter to the FAA through my district office that will be forwarded to legal requesting an interpretation on the ICA discussion. I did manage to find a similar FAA legal interpretation that I think does answer the question and it is based on sections 43.13 and 43.16, however I would like for FAA legal to answer the question that was originally ask and that is what I have sent forward. I will keep the group posted when I receive back an answer.

Stache,
Would you mind posting a link to the opinion that you did find ref. 43.13 and 43.16? Also a copy of the letter of request that you sent if possible.
Doug Hereford

I have the document in PDF format and it is 7 pages from 2011 as an FAA legal interpretation to Determine Inspection
Intervals and Replacement Times. This document speaks to ICA and a Beech product.

Here is a link on the FAA web sit:
http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudic...(2011)%20legal%20interpretation.pdf

After re-reading this several times I may be wrong on my interpretation of ICAs. But hope the FAA will clear it up this issue when they respond to my letter.

I have been going through all of the FAA legal interoperations for ICAs. Here is another good example from the FAA.
http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudic...(2009)%20legal%20interpretation.pdf

Stache,
I cut and pasted the link you provided into my address line. It took me to the Schultz 2009 opinion.

This opinion has been posted TWICE previous to you during this recent discussion thread. The last time it was posted, you were asked to explain your position as it relates to paragraph 2 of this opinion. As far as I know, you never answered.

What do you think?

In your post previous to this one, you seemed to indicate that you had found "another" opinion that you thought answered the question on ICAs, but you never provided a link to it. Is it the Schultz opinion, or is it actually another one, and what is the answer that you feel it provided?

I gotta admit that I am more than a little confused at this point.

Doug Hereford

First, let me say thanks Doug you have always kept me honest and challenged me for miss speaking. The more I research this subject the more confusing it is becoming for us mechanics.

Paragraph 2 in the Schultz letter is interesting in what it says “not mandatory”, dated 2009, I did reference this letter in my letter to the FAA legal office and requested they expand on this statement. I did post another hyper-link, but it did not take dated April 22, 2011 by Mr. MacMillan. I will wait and see if it pops up before reposting it.

Just my opinion…I know what the rules state in part 43, but now that I am back on the other side of the fence, I am taking a second look. The way section 43.13 and 43.16 explain it kind of sounds mandatory, but I am thinking it may not be. After all in court cases the judges decides if it is mandatory and they will take the preamble and see what it says. I am researching the NTSB “Legal Matters” court cases trying to find a decision that may explain this. I would very much like to have a NTSB law judge opinion on this issue since they would be the ones making the final call.

I really thing everyone is right about ICAs being mandatory per part 21 Type Design and others cases they are not mandatory. This puts us mechanics in the middle to make a decision that may or may not be correct, this is why I want to hold my opinion until I have something in hand from the FAA legal to say I am on firm ground.

Stache,
My confusion is due to your replies. My position on this subject is 100% unchanged.
You have been given very high marks by Pasche, Buddy, and Ask Bob. My advise is...............Do more research.
There is a fundamental misunderstanding of 43.13 and 43.16 in my opinion. I don't mean to be disparaging. But the two of us on the non-mandatory side of this issue have listened to too much ad hominem.

You recommended that aircraft be recalled for reinspection..........I hope there have been no aircraft owners unnecessarily burdened over the years by FAA officials who have managed to misapply the rules. Same goes for IA's who blindly follow someone's advice taken from an IA meeting or on-line forum.

We all know that ICA creation is mandatory for design approval holders (to include STC and field approval holders) by way of part 21. This is a Red Herring to this discussion, and has no place here.

ICA (AWL section and rotorcraft 43.15 excepted) are NOT mandatory for operator/mechanic, and for many good reasons........................not least of which is Safety!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doug Hereford

The 2011 Macmillan letter;

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudic...

This is another example of Chief Counsel establishing the FAA position that only the AIRWORTHINESS LIMITATIONS section of an ICA is FAA approved and therefore, the only section that is considered mandatory.

Doug at the end of the day we can sit down as friends and have a cold beer over this knowing we are both trying to keep the industry safe. Helicopters are a different world than fixed wing and that is where my heart is. I will have to admit being at accident sites picking though parts and bodies has made a believer out of me to be the best I can be. My last accident investigation in Oakland change me watching a man die on site and nothing I could do would help. I am of the opinion we mechanics should do our best each time we perform maintenance, I know some ICAs are not mandatory, but safety is. I have decided for myself to not accept any risk when a ICA is in question, but just perform it. If an owner does not want it completed that is fine, but find another mechanic as I will not put my name in the aircraft records.

At all accident sites I know all the aircraft records are gone through with a fine tooth comb, I used to do this as well. I just want mechanics to know the risk involved in not doing an ICA, it could really come back to them from a law suit. For this reason I want the FAA legal department to weigh in and give us mechanics a reassurance when ICA is required. what category, and when it is not. My job as an FAA inspector was to keep the mechanic and pilots out of trouble. I can see here a mechanic and owner could step into something thinking they are right and may not be if they are hauled into a court case.

To be fair I have asked this question before to FAA legal department when I was in the agency and never did get a response I could hang my hat on. I like black and white questions and answers and I hope to get one this time from the legal department this time.

Stache,
I don't pretend to make any assumptions about what tragedies other people may have seen or not seen. I would hope that on this............a forum of professional aviators, we could dispense with the notion that anyone would knowingly put any agenda ahead of safety.
Where we apparently differ is that I believe that "What is Legal is also safe".
The comment was made that this not an industry of "Just Enough". To me this is over-stating the obvious. What is unsaid here is that the "fuzzy-puppy" notion that "More is Better", can be just as bad.

If the repair calls for .040 sheet-metal, using .060 is not better. It could be disastrous. If the procedure calls for 60 ft./lb. of torque. 65 ft. lb. is not better. It is worse. If the IPC calls for a 100 watt lamp, a 250 watt lamp is not better. If ICA call for a certain requirement, and Airworthiness requirements call for something else, following ICA is not better.

Again, I am going to consciously avoid promoting my personal resume. It is irrelevant to this discussion. I would be glad to sit down with you and drink a beer. Then we could mull over experiences. Hopefully my resume would measure-up.

Doug Hereford

More Chief Counsel opinions:

Ref. last paragraph on page 2.

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudic...(2009)%20legal%20interpretation.pdf

This one speaks to A.C. 43.13.

www.faa.gov/.../data/interps/2010/inter%20ac%2043-13-1b%20-%20(20...

This one speaks directly to the term "current" as used in 43.13(a), but make several points about ICA in general.

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudic...(2010)%20legal%20interpretation.pdf

There may be a few more on the FAA chief counsel web page.

Doug Hereford

Good links Doug, thanks for posting. Two of these dispel the commonly held, although mistaken belief that "other methods and techniques acceptable to the administrator" must be documented as accepted by the administrator prior to using them.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The burden is on the administrator to demonstrate that a particular method, or technique is NOT acceptable if either are ever called into question by the administrator.

I agree. Thankfully, the regulation is flexible enough to foresee the inevitability of manual revisions by MFGs. Were it not for this foresight, aircraft could conceivably be unairworthy every time a manual revision was published.

The "other" option for accepted method, techniques and practices" is probably employed much more often than people realize when aircraft maintenance is performed. Of course, each time this happens, it is done in non-compliance with current MFG ICA.............perfectly legal and safe.

Doug Hereford

Here is a real time example:
I just received via e-mail, a Mandatory Service Letter from Cessna regarding Horizontal Stab Actuator Bolt Inspection.

They have legitimately incorporated this SL into their ICA for the aircraft.

It states (in pertinent part............... ) A Five hour repositioning flight is permitted, and then this SL must be accomplished before further flight. Inspect the stab actuator attach bolt for torque.............etc.

To me , this SL moves to the top of the list of things to do, however. I have no plans to interrupt corporate flight schedules for tomorrow on the basis of this SL. This document is an example of MFG ICA that is not regulatory.

In contrast..........had this same requirement come in the form of a Priority Letter (emergency AD) from the FAA. The aircraft in question would be grounded as required by regulation.

Doug Hereford

Ask Bob,
IMO, this is an example of how SB, SL, SI documents are relevant to this ICA discussion (did not require an new thread).

Doug Hereford

Wow, I am absolutely blown away. Just a few threads above you state “dispense with the notion that anyone would knowingly put any agenda ahead of safety.” And then you say “I have no plans to interrupt corporate flight schedules …on the basis of this SL”.

Obviously, I can’t speak to the culture of but one manufacture of which I was employed for several years. But they despised having to publish any SL with a “Before Further Flight” as it broadcasted “We have a major deficiency with our product” to the entire aviation community. Simultaneously they would begin lobbing the FAA to convert this SL into an A.D.. Not because they assumed people would not comply with the SL, but because the AD provided a completely separate means of notification.

For a manufacturer to say “Before Further Flight” means in my limited experience they have acquired several substantiations of occurrence in a potentially flight critical area that leaves them no other option.

While employed at this manufacturer I had the privilege to work in their destruction laboratory where parts were taken to finite life. The design engineers were extremely confident through testing they could design parts with next to no risk factor of failing. Their concerns of failure lied in the “Hook em Up” ie the hardware:

Incorrect or inconsistent manufacturing process
Incorrect Installation practices

At the end of the day I don’t fault you for your position on interpretation, I fault the FAA for the ambiguity they have designed into this system. We should NOT be having this conversation, nor the one does an engine get an annual inspection, or the many others. This is a blatant failure on the part of the FAA to eliminate any and all ambiguity.

For me your SL is a no-brainer, comply. The thought of even possibly subjecting the aircrew or passengers to a known hazardous condition over the laurels of defending a legal position is again, a no-brainer to me, eliminate the risk and move on.

But then again, it may be the different cultures of airplanes vs helicopters:

I’ve heard the airplane mechanics say “hell it flew in didn’t it” and the helicopter mechanics say “I wonder what’s broke now?”

Yes Doug, SB and other service information can impact ICA. This string was mostly focused on what is required for ICAs so I thought a question on SBs and ADs would be best in its' own topic. All comments on ICA are welcome here. Just trying to keep order.

And yet you let Pasch drone on with personal attacks...............for years. Interesting. Simply no excuse.

Buddy,
Take a hard look at our aviation system. Trust that I question myself much more than you purport to question me.

The thirtieth human factor may very well be........Arrogance.

Doug Hereford

Doug, the service letter is now part of the manufacture’s ICA and may not be mandatory since it was not issued by the FAA as part of an AD. However, if it is part of the require manufactures manual and tied to an air operators maintenance program on OPSpec it may be mandatory for the operator. I would check the air operators approved maintenance manual and OPSpec procedures to see if you can let it go.

Second, now that the operator has been informed by the manufacture of a potential issue in the form of a service letter required by law, this puts the operator on the hook for insurance liability in case something should happen. And if something would happen the operator would be at great risk.

This is a situation where the maintenance department may want to advise the operator of the risk and let them make the call. Just saying.

Buddy, I don't think anyone here has the attitude of disregarding service info, or any other maintenance guidance for the sake of convenience, or money. Safety is always paramount, but let's dispense withl the myth that "safety is first". Safety is not first, the mission is first, safety supports the mission.

I appreciate your sharing of experience with manufacturing, but you and I know that all manufacturers are not like that. We also know that the legal department is a prime driver in the release of a lot of these manual revisions, sb's etc. Akin to medical professionals practicing "defensive medicine.

We also know that manufacturer's publications, maintenance and parts manuals,etc., are riddled with errors, some of which can be a huge problem for a poor mechanic attempting to follow them and can induce unintended collateral damage, maintenance induced errors.

You and others consistently assert that adherence to all of these publications is the safest approach.

I don't think consideration is given to collateral damage, maintenance induced errors.

The point is, a savvy maintainer should know the legal aspect as to what are the basic requirements, familiarize themselves with all available service information and decide how it should be applied/carried out with consideration given to safety, economics, schedule, etc.

Denny,
Your points are noted. In this case, the operator is part 91 only, so no ops specs or approved maintenance program exist. The air crews receive the same notifications of service info that we in maintenance receive, so they are immediately aware of the situations as they arise.

The simple question that is always asked of me is......are we "airworthy"? Once that question is answered, then other considerations are addressed.

Your point about insurance is also valid in my opinion. We have discussed this at length with our carrier. Their position is the same........Aircraft must be maintained IAW the regulations and be airworthy when operated to be covered. They have no exclusions for service information.

I am DOM for two 135 operations. Neither of these Ops specs require compliance with all MFG service info. Where compliance is specified, it is specifically (specific document) noted with in the Ops spec section. In my case, these documents deal with TBOs and inspections of emergency equipment only. As you correctly point out, these documents (ICA) are now mandatory due to their inclusion in the FAA Approved Ops Specs.

I mentioned the example of the SL to illustrate how non-mandatory ICA can be handled differently than regulatory ones. As has been stated over and over, I was not suggesting that MFG data be disregarded, or not carefully considered.

Doug Hereford

Is there a way I can attach a PDF file in a thread? I have three FAA legal interpretations in PDF format that would help answer a lot of questions for some, but I do not know how to attach them. I have one PDF file I just received from August 9, 2012 I think would really help.

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