Avionics News June 2019 - 15

The rules of debate require that "He who asserts must
prove." In order to establish an assertion, the individual must
support the assertion with enough evidence to support the
assertion, and the facts presented must be accurate.
When considering the "debate" regarding repair station
operations, there are three fundamental (regulatory) elements:
a repair station manual; a quality system; and a training (qualification) program.
Each of these sets the framework of the debate - all driven
by regulation.
The repair station manual is governed by 14 CFR Section
145.207. In this section each of the five requirements contains
the word "must." The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines
must as "be obligated to." As you can see in paragraph (a),
the repair station is "obligated to" prepare and follow a repair
station manual.
(a) A certificated repair station must prepare and follow a repair station manual acceptable to the FAA.
(b) A certificated repair station must maintain a current
repair station manual.
(c) A certificated repair station's current repair station
manual must be accessible for use by repair station
personnel required by subpart D of this part.
(d) A certificated repair station must provide to its certificate-holding district office the current repair station
manual in a format acceptable to the FAA.
(e) A certificated repair station must notify its certificate-holding district office of each revision of its repair
station manual in accordance with the procedures
required by § 145.209(j).
This debate should start with a simple yes or no; a pass or
fail. This debate should never start with "my data collection
tool requires this." Remember, the rules of debate require an
evidence-based discussion. 14 CFR Section 145.1 in part states,
"This part also contains the rules a certificated repair station
must follow related to its performance of maintenance ..."
CONTAINS THE RULES: Nowhere in Chapter 1 of
Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations have I ever found
the words data collection tool, safety assurance system, or
FAA orders (8900.1). This isn't to say any of them are bad
tools. On the contrary, they are excellent tools. However,
generally speaking, they are indicators, not evidence. The
guidance supports making subjective observations of repair
stations but seldom provides objective evidence of a regulatory failure.
Going back to the regulations governing the repair station
manual, § 145.209 specifies the repair station manual content.
Specifically, the regulation requires a repair station's manual
to include 11 clearly defined elements. The content of those

elements may be subjective based on the individual business;
however, the elements themselves are objective and clearly
defined.
The regulations are clear that a "repair station may perform maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations
in accordance with Part 43 on any article for which it is
rated and within the limitations in its operations specifications." (§ 145.201 (a)(1))
In my view, the most critical, safety-focused regulation
requires a repair station to establish and maintain a quality
control system that ensures the airworthiness of the articles
on which the repair station or any of its contractors performs
maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations. (§
145.211 (a)). The regulation defines the design and organizational elements that every repair station must provide: housing, facilities, equipment, materials, and data (§ 145.101) and
personnel (Part 145 Subpart D). But those are infrastructure
elements. It is the quality system that brings all of these parts
together to work in a cohesive process to ensure the airworthiness of the work the repair station performs.
The regulations are simple enough that a determination
of pass or fail is reasonably simple. But in today's "risk
management" philosophy, the indicators provided through
the SAS/DCT become increasingly more valuable. However,
contrary to straight regulatory oversight of the past, the
indicators must (yes, must) generate a discussion, a debate.
From the agency's perspective, the indicator shows a weakness: It is paramount that the operator understands the system well enough to debate the validity of the indicator.
A debate is a two-way discussion based on a thorough
understanding of the subject where the assessments are
supported by evidence. Both sides must have a clear understanding of the "why" of their position. Unfortunately,
the inspector's guidance has become so prescriptive over
the past decade that it fails to encourage the inspectors to
understand the foundational regulatory "why" inherent in
their policies and guidance.
Let's go back to the paper published by the University of
Albany (New York) that highlights the benefits of debates.
While the majority of benefits focus on the communication
skills, some of the broader benefits cited include:
*	 The ability to practice and demonstrate your critical
thinking skills.
*	 Debates can help you learn to discuss complicated
topics calmly, clearly and competently.
*	 Debates help deepen your understanding of topics
when you "actively" listen to opposing views.
Continued on page 51
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Avionics News June 2019

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