Avionics News September 2019 - 15

Fortunately, for the professionals, they recognize why the
regulations say what they do and value the safety implications
of the regulations. They don't cut corners because no one is
watching; they realize that, while the authority may not be
watching, they (themselves) are always watching.

propeller, appliance, or component part for return to service,"
and, as in section 43.3, it continues the limitations "as provided
in Part 65 of this chapter."
What is the rest of the story? Part 65.
14 CFR Part 65, subpart D defines the eligibility
requirements, defines the ratings, and defines the basic
knowledge, experience and skills requirements. Included
are a few limitations to a mechanic's authority to perform
maintenance. There are two specific items that a mechanic has
a distinct regulatory limitation and one overarching general
limitation. A certificated mechanic is not permitted to perform
(1) major repairs to, and major alterations of, propellers;
and, especially important to the avionics industry, they are
not permitted to perform (2) any repair to, or alteration of,
instruments. (The definition of instruments can be found in
Part 1.) In addition to the specific maintenance limitations,
the regulations further define a general limitation in that a
"certificated mechanic may not exercise the privileges of
his certificate and rating unless he understands the current
instructions of the manufacturer, and the maintenance manuals,
for the specific operation concerned." (14 CFR 65.81 (b))
As we look at section 43.7, the authority for return to service
following maintenance, there is one general restriction that
should be considered for every maintenance action. Section
65.81 (a) states that the mechanic "may not supervise the
maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alteration of, or
approve and return to service, any aircraft or appliance, or part
unless they have satisfactorily performed the work concerned at
an earlier date."
While section 43.3 allows a certificated mechanic to
perform maintenance without prior experience, they cannot
supervise other people performing that specific task. And more
importantly, they do not have section 43.7 return to service
authority. A certificated mechanic must be qualified to approve
for return to service an aircraft following maintenance.

This is where the professionalism kicks in. As we all know,
there aren't enough authority inspectors, anywhere in the
world, to provide 24/7 oversight of this industry, which was
the basis of the author's out-of-sight, therefore-the-rules-don'tapply mindset. And I don't want to ignore the fact that there
are technicians who operate in the Wild West and push the
envelope until they get caught. Using the FAA's own language,
the risk (of getting caught) is pretty low, and therefore, the rules
effectively don't exist.
Fortunately, for the professionals, they recognize why the
regulations say what they do and value the safety implications
of the regulations. They don't cut corners because no one is
watching; they realize that, while the authority may not be
watching, they (themselves) are always watching. They have to
answer to themselves and their customers, and the customers'
safety is always paramount.
Remember the definition of professionalism? The conduct,
aims, or qualities that characterize a professional person.
As I was talking about the proposed Part 43 regulation
in Australia, an AEA member shop expressed concern that
eliminating the regulatory requirement for avionics work
to be done only by an avionics certificated maintenance
organization was going to have a significant detrimental
effect on the Australian industry. The proposal follows the
Federal Aviation Administration's system in the United States
by allowing independent mechanics to perform certain radio
maintenance functions. I explained that the Australia proposal
was not significantly different than the long-standing processes
contained within the U.S. regulations. But the most important
part of the conversation was that the U.S. avionics industry
learned long ago that rather than rely solely on a certificate,
professional technicians must sell their knowledge, skills and
abilities, and their investment in materials, tools, test equipment,
Continued on page 49
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september

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Avionics News September 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News September 2019

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Avionics News September 2019 - No label
Avionics News September 2019 - Cover1
Avionics News September 2019 - Cover2
Avionics News September 2019 - 1
Avionics News September 2019 - 2
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Avionics News September 2019 - Cover3
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