Fri, Jan 07, 2005
Handbook Bulletin Implementation Put Off Until Summer's
The National Air Transportation
Association (NATA) has successfully convinced the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) to extend the implementation of a costly
Handbook Bulletin affecting aircraft maintenance programs to August
At issue is a recent revision to the Handbook Bulletin for
Airworthiness, 04-06D, which was originally issued in August 2004
and addresses aircraft configuration and maintenance programs for
aircraft operated under Part 135. The original deadline of
September 30, 2004, had been incrementally extended until February
28, 2005. In a call this week with NATA staff and members of the
association’s Aircraft Maintenance and System Technology
Committee, FAA officials explained that the additional delay was to
allow more time to review comments submitted by NATA and to
evaluate alternative solutions.
Many operators, in order to meet a nine or fewer passenger-seat
configuration standard, have placarded or otherwise blocked certain
seats to make them unusable. These aircraft are then generally
maintained under 135.411(a)(1) requirements. The new guidance in
HBAW 04-06 would require the physical removal of these seats or a
switch to the 134.411(a)(2) maintenance program.
Most operators would be required to
obtain a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the seat removal.
Using a placard to make a seat unusable by passengers, even if
previously approved by the FAA, would not be acceptable under this
NATA staff and members of the association's Air Charter and
Aircraft Maintenance and System Technology committees have met
extensively with the FAA to voice concerns with the agency's course
Compliance with the bulletin would have a staggering economic
impact on the air charter industry, costing thousands of dollars
per aircraft to obtain the STC. The overall impact on the industry
could be several million dollars.
"We are pleased that our excellent working relationship with the
FAA has proven to them that we are committed to finding common
sense solutions to problems facing our industry," said Eric R.
Byer, NATA Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs. "We
applaud the FAA’s willingness to work with us to help sustain
a valuable sector of our economy."
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