The changing face of aircraft maintenance

Change is inevitable, but it’s not automatic. Change has to be initiated by someone or something. As the face of aircraft maintenance changes, the regulations that govern the world of aircraft maintenance should be dynamic enough to keep pace with this changing world. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and more specifically the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) should be viewed as a “living” document. Offering up changes to these regulations, as maintainers of aircraft, can and should be initiated by the very people who are most intimately affected by them. Title 14 CFR, Part 11, Section 11.61 is the regulation that allows anyone the avenue to make such changes.

A Maintenance Safety Tip Notice Number: NOTC2494 has been issued by the FAA Safety Team (FAAST) that states the following:

Bad Regulation—You Can Initiate Change

As a professional maintenance technician, you no doubt have been involved in conversations with a fellow mechanic when you discovered an FAA regulation that appeared outdated, did not make sense, should be changed, or maybe even removed? In many cases, those conversations end in frustration and the feeling that the regulation is just not connected to reality and you can not do anything about it. But it doesn’t have to end that way because you do have a means to do something about it. Title 14 CFR, Part 11, Section 11.61 provides that you may ask the FAA to adopt, amend, repeal a regulation, or grant relief from the requirements of a current regulation.

Using a petition for rulemaking, you may ask the FAA to add a new regulation or amend or repeal a current regulation. Additionally, using a petition for exemption, you may ask the FAA to grant you relief from a current regulation. Consequently, if you are ever involved in a conversation like that again, write down your thoughts and send them to the FAA in accordance with CFR 11. You may be surprised that you can have an affect in changing FAA regulations and improve safety.

To read additional information regarding changing regulations from the late Bill O'Brien, a national resource specialist for the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C. click here.

Aircraft mechanics should get actively involved in helping to bring the FARs into the 21st century. By doing so, mechanics can take advantage of this “feedback-feed forward” system to promote the profession and enhance aviation safety.