Avionics News July 2012 - 15

missing the trees for the forest – focusing on the big picture and missing the individuals. Currently, an avionics shop can have full radio authority with two ratings (radio and airframe) and full avionics ratings by adding a third rating (instrument). A March 2012 legal interpretation even questions the need for the airframe rating. But, for the sake of argument, we’ll include the airframe for now. With these three ratings and appropriate limitation on their operations specification, an avionics shop can install and maintain radios and instruments, both on-wing and on the bench. This is a very pro-business approach. The proposal, on the other hand, is a very anti-avionics business approach. The proposal transfers the lack of efficiency of the current full-service aircraft maintenance shops to the avionics industry by making the rating system illogical and inefficient. The proposal would require the current three-rating avionics shop to hold no less than six ratings: Category 1, 2 and 3 airframe as well as component ratings for radio, instrument and avionics. This is illogical and inefficient. In today’s digital age, there is no reason to make this shift. We need to retain the foundation we currently have in the avionics sector with some tune-ups. On the negative side, the modern integrated avionics suites are not clearly defined by the regulations, guidance or policy. I agree that the radio and instrument “classes” may not be the best definitions for modern equipment, but the legacy equipment still exists. I suspect the avionics industry could make some pretty sound recommendations for better definitions of modern classes while retaining the appropriate legacy classes, but the FAA never asked. Actually, in a roundabout way, the FAA argues that it did ask through the general “request for comments,” but only in the bigger rulemaking activity. As an example of the agency’s attempt to regulate business in its image, the FAA is proposing to define avionics. In the proposal, the agency defines avionics as “articles generally associated with the processing of digital electrical signals. Examples include: radios, navigation equipment, radar, data processors and cathode ray tubes.” What happened to the rest of the legacy equipment? Oh, and the instruments? In the agency’s defense, and perhaps explaining its logic, we have anecdotally included radios, instruments and flight control equipment in the overarching understanding of what avionics systems include. However, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines avionics as “electronics designed for use in aerospace vehicles.” And, Cambridge Dictionaries defines avionics as “the science and technology of the electronic devices used in aeronautics and astronautics.” I think the Cambridge definition is a bit more thorough. It takes a pretty good search before you can actually find an FAA document that includes instruments and flight control systems as part of avionics. I suggest this may be a practically correct definition of avionics. FAA publication FAA-P-8740-18 defines avionics as “a term used to describe electronics equipment in aircraft. It includes radios, instruments, and flight control equipment (i.e., autopilots) and all of the components required to make up each individual system.” I would suggest that avionics include electronic devices, such as radios, instruments and integrated systems, as well as mechanical

systems used to show visually or aurally the attitude, altitude or operation of an aircraft or aircraft part. And, for the government “shell game” – watch the hands; and let’s see where the “capability list” lands. According to the NPRM, the FAA received more than 150 public comment submissions to the 2006 NPRM. While there was general support for revising the repair station rules, several comments asked the FAA to withdraw the proposal. Many other comments expressed concerns related to the proposed ratings system (particularly the proposed avionics rating), capability list, quality system, letter of compliance, chief inspector, housing and facilities. Yes, but if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. The rating changes proposed in the 2006 NPRM generated many comments. Most of those comments expressed concern that the proposed system of ratings would require a repair station to get FAA approval before changing or adding to the proposed required capability list. This proposal would not require a capability list, but it would revise the capability list recording requirements for those repair stations that choose to use one. So, let’s make the “capability list” optional. The FAA proposes that “a certificated repair station may establish and maintain a capability list.” Notice the word “may.” It is optional, and the FAA is not mandating a capability list. But, you better watch those shells…. where is the capability list, and what shell is it under? Under the operations specifications shell (oops, proposal), we find: If the optional capability list provided for in § 145.1215 is not used, each certificate holder’s operations specifications must, within the rating categories authorized under § 145.1059, identify each airframe, powerplant, or propeller by manufacturer, model and series as applicable. For a component rating, the operations specifications must identify each component or appliance included in the rating by manufacturer, manufacturerdesignated nomenclature and basic part number. Clearly, the agency is trying to play a shell game with a repair station’s capabilities. A repair station’s capabilities will be required to be documented, either on a self-maintained capability list or an agencykept ops spec listing, but don’t be confused by the shell game. The FAA is once again proposing an administratively burdensome requirement for each repair station to document the repair station’s capabilities by manufacturer, model and series (for type certificated products) or manufacturer, manufacturer-designated nomenclature and basic part number (for components) of each item they are capable of maintaining. Then, add to that a proposal for a periodic review of the capability list, which must be accomplished at least every two years to determine if it is current. If the 2006 proposal was deemed to be too problematic, let’s shift the shells around, change the wording and hope the public is distracted. This is not the time to be distracted. Some of the proposal is solid and better business, but most of the proposal is detrimental to the avionics industry. And, in nearly all cases, the FAA is simply trying again. Remember, your comments are due on or before Aug. 20, 2012. q
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Avionics News July 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News July 2012

Point of Communication
AEA Now
The View From Washington
International News and Regulatory Updates
Going Glass
Member Profile
Extra Avionics
Member Profile
Glass Panel Upgrades
Aviation Aces
Business Basics
Member Profile
A Conversation With...
Making A Difference
Theory & Practice
Legal Ease
Meet the AEA Staff
What's New
Marketplace Classifies
Avionics News July 2012 - Cover1
Avionics News July 2012 - Cover2
Avionics News July 2012 - 1
Avionics News July 2012 - 2
Avionics News July 2012 - 3
Avionics News July 2012 - Point of Communication
Avionics News July 2012 - 5
Avionics News July 2012 - AEA Now
Avionics News July 2012 - 7
Avionics News July 2012 - 8
Avionics News July 2012 - 9
Avionics News July 2012 - 10
Avionics News July 2012 - 11
Avionics News July 2012 - 12
Avionics News July 2012 - 13
Avionics News July 2012 - The View From Washington
Avionics News July 2012 - 15
Avionics News July 2012 - International News and Regulatory Updates
Avionics News July 2012 - 17
Avionics News July 2012 - 18
Avionics News July 2012 - 19
Avionics News July 2012 - Going Glass
Avionics News July 2012 - 21
Avionics News July 2012 - 22
Avionics News July 2012 - 23
Avionics News July 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News July 2012 - 25
Avionics News July 2012 - 26
Avionics News July 2012 - 27
Avionics News July 2012 - Extra Avionics
Avionics News July 2012 - 29
Avionics News July 2012 - 30
Avionics News July 2012 - 31
Avionics News July 2012 - 32
Avionics News July 2012 - 33
Avionics News July 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News July 2012 - 35
Avionics News July 2012 - 36
Avionics News July 2012 - 37
Avionics News July 2012 - Glass Panel Upgrades
Avionics News July 2012 - 39
Avionics News July 2012 - 40
Avionics News July 2012 - 41
Avionics News July 2012 - 42
Avionics News July 2012 - 43
Avionics News July 2012 - Aviation Aces
Avionics News July 2012 - 45
Avionics News July 2012 - 46
Avionics News July 2012 - 47
Avionics News July 2012 - Business Basics
Avionics News July 2012 - 49
Avionics News July 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News July 2012 - 51
Avionics News July 2012 - 52
Avionics News July 2012 - 53
Avionics News July 2012 - A Conversation With...
Avionics News July 2012 - 55
Avionics News July 2012 - Making A Difference
Avionics News July 2012 - 57
Avionics News July 2012 - Theory & Practice
Avionics News July 2012 - 59
Avionics News July 2012 - Legal Ease
Avionics News July 2012 - 61
Avionics News July 2012 - Meet the AEA Staff
Avionics News July 2012 - 63
Avionics News July 2012 - 64
Avionics News July 2012 - 65
Avionics News July 2012 - What's New
Avionics News July 2012 - 67
Avionics News July 2012 - 68
Avionics News July 2012 - 69
Avionics News July 2012 - Marketplace Classifies
Avionics News July 2012 - 71
Avionics News July 2012 - 72
Avionics News July 2012 - Cover3
Avionics News July 2012 - Cover4
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