What SB should I use to comply with a AD.

11 posts / 0 new
Last post
What SB should I use to comply with a AD.

The following comment was posted on another discussion and I thought it would be best in its' own discussion.

"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."  Anyoneofus

I reckon the relevant question for Bob and ATP, is; Does ATP provide the SB revision specified in the AD, or does ATP incorporate the most current revision of the SB regardless of the SB version specified in the AD?

Great question and important to know how we handle these. ATP offers a number of libraries. We have both regulatory and maintenance products. In our regulatory products we include the ADs and what we call Associated Service Information (ASI). The ASI is the Service Bulletins incorporated by reference and we use the specific issued called out by the AD. The SB link in the AD as well as the ASI folder in other access points are for the version and date called out by the AD.
Now to the maintenance library content. In our maintenance libraries we use the latest version of all documents including the latest SB revision which is located in the Service Information (SI) folders.
So the content is based on the library and we use different folder names to aid in understanding what the content is. If you have a regulatory library you have ASI and the version incorporated in the AD. If you have a maintenance library you have the latest SB in the SI folder. If you have both products you have both folders and both versions available.
Hope this helps

Comply with Airworthiness Directives (ADs) as it is written, unless an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) can be, or has been previously, granted by the FAA.

This is an area where I feel like manufacturers are typically not the experts on aircraft maintenance. If you ask any manufacturer what revision level to their ICA should be used (Service Bulletins, Letters, Instructions ETC........... are commonly, and legitimately incorporated into ICA most of the time), they will unilaterally say...............the most current (up to date) revision.

An AD is published as a codified rule amendment under 14 CFR part 39 to correct an unsafe condition. And, since Airworthiness is predicated on a product meeting type design and being in a condition for safe operation, a product having an applicable overdue AD, or an AD that has been improperly complied with, would render the product or part thereof, "unairworthy".

This thread specifically speaks to MFG SB, SL service information, but an AD could just as easily specify a certain revision of maintenance manual or ICA procedure as well. This could again set up a scenario where using MFG ICA data exclusively would actually be contrary to regulation for both pilot and mechanic. The King Air wing spar recurring AD 89-25-10 is one example of this. The AD requires compliance IAW a specific 1987 revision to the SIRM. This manual has been revised numerous times since 1987, but the use of any of the later revisions or the most "up to date" revision would be contrary to the AD, and thus render the aircraft "Unairworthy".

In my experience, ADs are not written with open-ended compliance options. To say it another way. If for example, an AD allowed for the use of the "most up-to-date version" of any referenced data like MFG ICA or service info, the FAA would essentially be granting to a private third party, (the MFG in this case) a "blank check" to impose new rules. The MFG could simply revise the referenced AD data at any time for their own purposes. This would not be in compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act. Since the FAA does not have the power to delegate its rule-making authority, this cannot happen.

Doug Hereford

Excellent points Doug, but I would interpret the requirements as allowing the flexibility for the owner/operator and by default, the maintainer to choose which version of the SB they wish to comply with. This would primarily apply to Part 91 operations and maintenance. Air carriers and 145 repair stations may have ops specs and/or other governing requirements that do not allow for this.

I reference the 13 August 2010 FAA Chief Counsel definition of "current".

I certainly see your point regarding manufacturer's adding additional, possibly onerous requirements in subsequent revisions of an SB and have seen many examples of this. Of course it bypasses the regulatory (NPRM) process and is not legally binding.

Sometimes they actually lesson the onerous requirements of the original, or prior version of the SB in later revisions and I have several examples where complying with a later SB revision is a better option, from both safety and economic standpoints.

I think you are right, that most of the time, later revs. to ICA/service info. improve the procedures and overall requirements, but as we know, when it comes to AD compliance, this fact is probably irrelevant.

Doug Hereford

I was trained that there is no flexibility on what SB to use. The core as I understand it is the AD along with the incorporated bulletin is federal law and if a OEM could revise the SB then the OEM is writing law. To use a newer revision one must get a AMOC from the FAA approving the newer revision, simply being published by the OEM does not make it usable for AD compliance.

There is a FAA Order that is the guideline for issuing ADs - FAA-IR-M-8040.1C. In the section on service information it says:

“Incorporate the service information by reference. In the AD text, provide complete service information identification and do not simply say, “Do the service bulletin.” If we incorporate service information into an AD by reference, do not use the phrase “or later FAA-approved revision” when referring to the service information. This phrase violates OFR policies for approving materials that are incorporated by reference. Service information that we incorporate by reference in an AD is often revised after we issue the AD. We can approve later revisions of service information as an AMOC.”

Basically everything I said in my first post.

One more important aspect of SBs incorporated into ADs: The AD my specify compliance with a portion of the SB only. One must carefully read the AD to confirm this.

Doug Hereford

Yes Doug, I agree with what you said and was trying to reinforce your points. Of course the FAA is known for its consistency so each AD must be reviewed in detail as you also pointed out.

Doug is totally correct on this point and I would go one step further. In cases where there is an issue with a SB or change to the manuals at the bottom of every AD is the contact information for the FAA engineer that wrote the AD. When I worked for the agency my IAs would contact me for guidance and I would telephone the engineer directly go get documents or guidance and make a “Memo of Record”.

If any mechanic contacts the local FSDO for guidance in such a matter I would recommend you make a “Memo of Record” what was asked and what was provided. FAA ASI’s are not allowed to provide legal interpretations only the FAA legal office can do that, however ASIs can provide guidance or data in many cases. I used to do this often and always prepared a Memo of Record indicating what I provided.

Complying with ADs with outdated SBs is an issue and it is best to have something in writing to CYA or request an AMOC from the FAA engineering office that issued the AD.

Thanks Stache. Can you provide some more detail of the "memo of record"
Is this an internal FAA process?
Where and for how long is it retained?

Log in or register to post comments