Gregory J. Reigel
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A site devoted to aviation law, safety and security.

April 14, 2017

What Is The Difference Between An "Inspection" And An "Overhaul"?

Do you know the difference between an "inspection" and an "overhaul"? Does it matter? Well, depending upon the type of operations you conduct (e.g. under Part 91, 121, 125 or 135), yes, it does. In fact, the difference between the two may determine whether you have to perform a certain item of maintenance or not. And that could either cost, or save, you money.

The FAA recently issued a National Policy (Order 8900.410) clarifying inspection and overhaul requirements under Part 91. If you aren't clear about the distinction between "inspection" and "overhaul", in addition to reading the FAA's Order, please read my latest article on the topic: What Is The Difference Between An "Inspection" And An "Overhaul"?.

Posted by Greg

April 01, 2017

What Happens if You Ignore the Terms of Your Aircraft Insurance Policy?

If you are involved in an aircraft accident or incident, you want to make sure you have insurance coverage if you need it. In order to make sure you will have coverage, you need to understand the terms of your aircraft insurance policy and comply with any conditions or limitations in the policy. If you don't, you may end up in a dispute with your insurer over whether it will cover any claims or losses in connection with the accident or incident.

Unfortunately, the estate of one aircraft owner found this out the hard way. You can read more about this case and why it is necessary to comply with the terms and conditions of your aircraft insurance policy in my latest article: Ignore the Terms of Your Aircraft Insurance Policy at Your Own Risk.

Posted by Greg

March 16, 2017

What Is The FAA's Regulatory Consistency Communications Board?

As you may know, the various FAA offices and inspectors within those offices routinely provide responses/guidance on issues that may be inconsistent with other FAA offices and even with other inspectors in the same office. In the past, the only way to really resolve the inconsistency was to request a formal legal interpretation from the FAA's Office of Chief Counsel. However, in 2012 the FAA Reauthorization created an FAA/Industry Committee, the “Consistency of Regulatory Interpretation Aviation Rulemaking Committee (CRI ARC)” to address this issue.

On November 28, 2012 the CRI ARC issued a Report that recommended that “the FAA establish a Regulatory Consistency Communication Board (RCCB) comprising representatives from AFS, AIR, and the Office of Chief Counsel (AGC) that would provide clarification to FAA personnel and certificate/approval holders and applicants on questions related to the application of regulations.” Based upon that recommendation, the FAA created its Regulatory Consistency Communications Board ("RCCB").

So, how does the RCCB work? Well, when one of these situations arises in which a stakeholder (e.g. a pilot, mechanic, air carrier, repair station etc.) is receiving inconsistent information from the FAA regarding application of the regulations, that stakeholder is able to submit the issue/question to the RCCB and request that it clarify application of the regulations at issue to remove/resolve the FAA's inconsistent application of those regulations. The members of the RCCB then convene and issue a resolution of the issue with each of AFS, AIR and AGC concurring in that resolution.

Although it has started slow, it appears that the RCCB is delivering as anticipated. So far it has issued at least two memorandums addressing issues presented to it by stakeholders. In one case the RCCB answered the question of whether the revision dates of maintenance manuals are required to be listed in the maintenance record entry required 14 CFR § 43.9. In another case it clarified that Type Certificate Data Sheets (TCDS) are regulatory and are included as part of the type design.

So, now if you find yourself in a situation in which you are receiving conflicting positions from the FAA regarding application of the regulations, you have two places you can go to try and get a definitive answer: the FAA's Office of Chief Counsel or the RCCB. And at some point in the future, hopefully, the FAA will also create a Master Source Guidance System, another recommendation from the CRI ARC. But it is unclear if, or when, that may happen.

Posted by Greg

February 28, 2017

How Does The FAA Calculate A Civil Penalty?

As you may have seen in the past, when the FAA wants to send a message or make a statement regarding its proposed assessment of a civil penalty, oftentimes it will issue a press release. In many instances these press releases announce proposed civil penalties in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars for alleged regulatory violations.

Have you ever wondered how the FAA comes up with those numbers? Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending upon your perspective, the FAA doesn't just pull a number out of a hat. Rather, the FAA has guidance it is required to use when it calculates a proposed civil penalty. For a discussion of this guidance and how the FAA is supposed to use it in determining the amount of a civil penalty, please read my latest article on the topic: How Does The FAA Calculate A Civil Penalty?.

Posted by Greg

February 14, 2017

Are You Running An Illegal Flight Department Company?

Many people own aircraft using corporations or LLCs. Usually liability and tax benefits drive the decision. However, many of these ownership structures do not take into consideration regulatory requirements and, in fact, are not in compliance with the regulations. For a discussion of the flight department company trap, please read my latest article on the subject: Are You Running An Illegal Flight Department Company.

Posted by Greg

January 31, 2017

What Do You Need To Document Maintenance Or An Inspection?

Most of us know that when a mechanic performs maintenance or an inspection on an aircraft he or she then needs to somehow document the work that was actually completed. But exactly how and where is the mechanic supposed to do that? For a discussion of the FAA's answer to those questions, please read my latest article on the subject: Documenting Maintenance and Inspection Records.

Posted by Greg

January 11, 2017

What Happens to a Certificate After it is Suspended or Revoked?

So, your certificate has been suspended or, worse yet, revoked. Whether the FAA issued an order and you didn't appeal, or you appealed and lost, you are still in the same position. But what, if anything, happens next, you might ask. Well for answers to this and other questions about this situation, please read my latest article on the subject: What Happens To A Certificate When The FAA Suspends Or Revokes It?

Posted by Greg

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