INDEPENDENT REPAIR STATIONS PROVIDE VALUABLE SAFETY COMPETENCE AND CAPACITY TO AVIATION

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It is de rigueur these days to attack Part 145 facilities; allegations are made that the employees, standards and procedures are sub standard. Those false allegations are code for “cheaper”; most of the independent repair stations are not unionized. ARSA’s testimony defended its industry and for good reasons.

Having visited Part 145 facilities with full to limited airframe, powerplant and avionics ratings and having watched the work of the dedicated professionals who sit at the work benches and work hard on the hangar floors, these organizations perform to the same standards and work product and quality as the equivalent airline and OEM shops. Because these companies maintain the aircraft, engines and instruments for different airlines, they must follow and comply with their client’s maintenance requirements and procedures as specified in the client’s maintenance manuals. As result their skills and knowledge are constantly improving and there have been instances when the cross-customer and cross-product experience resulted in the Part 145 staff sharing a best practice with another customer.

Part 145 staffs receive the same training as their Part 121 and 135 counterparts. Their scrutiny is multiples over their airline counterparts:

  • they receive standard audits from the FAA;
  • they under Coordinating Agency Supplier Evaluation (CASE) audits
  • many also hold authority from EASA and that organization surveils them assiduously;
  • each carrier, as a predict to utilizing these facilities, must conduct a prescreening check and when the work is returned to the Part 121/135 customer, there is an inspection
  • finally, many do work for the military and the DoD auditors scrutinize the facilities’ standards, records, training, equipment and work product.

Another important contribution of the Part 145 industry is capacity. The airline business is extraordinarily cyclical; airplanes are put on the ramp and then as the economy returns, those airframes and engines provide a “bow wave” of work. Frequently, the airline does not have the facilities and/or manpower to return them to service. The independent repair stations are a reserve capacity to meet such demand when needed.

ARSA’s Senior Vice President Gary Fortner is spot on when he says:

“For repair stations, good safety is good business, Aviation safety does not begin and end with the Federal Aviation Administration or any other regulatory body. It is the primary responsibility of every aviation maintenance employee performing work on behalf of an owner or operator, a certificated repair station, air carrier, or other aviation business.”

We heartily concur.

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