Return to business as usual, but before you crank it up
Check your most valuable asset: YOUR FAA PART 145 certificate
List of things needing meticulous scrutiny BEFORE you open the doors
Look around your FAA certificated Part 145 repair station and find the most valuable asset in the room. Yes, it is that 8” x 10” frame with your authority in it. The big machine, that is used in the processes, cost millions, but in accounting/economic terms the frame’s worth is greater. The FAA certificate is the regulatory key to the work, but for its currency and validity, all that expensive equipment is worthless.
For the past year or so, your operations may have been diminished or closed. Your regulatory health needs a post pandemic check-up.
Below is a quick checklist of questions you might ask:
- Is your certificate current or is it up for renewal? (remember that renewal must be requested 30 days before the 1 year anniversary of the issue date.)
- Did any financing to keep the organization together change the ownership?
- Are your premises unchanged? Did you downsize to a different location or did you save real estate costs by reducing your shop size?
- Did the accountable manager, inspection staff, those authorized to issue maintenance releases, or any other key employees stay, or have you designated someone else? Have the appropriate recordations of any changes been completed?
- Remember: Within 5 business days of the change, the rosters required by this section must reflect changes caused by termination, reassignment, change in duties or scope of assignment, or addition of personnel. If you did not meet this requirement because of a full or partial shutdown, a waiver might work.
- Are all of your safety-related staff current on their Drug Abatement and Haz Mat training?
- Do all of your supervisory personnel trained in or thoroughly familiar with the methods, techniques, practices, aids, equipment, and tools used to perform the maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations? Same question as to a sufficient number of employees to ensure all work is performed in accordance with part 43?
- Are all test and inspection equipment and tools used to make airworthiness determinations on articles calibrated under your currency rules?
- How are your manuals? Did any ADs or other regulatory guidance establish new standards? Were you able to review and process all FAA directives during the pandemic?
- Did you use the down time to add new equipment and/or design new procedures? The FAA need be informed before using either. New Rating?
This is not a complete list and given the unique aspects of your work, there may be more sophisticated, less visible issues. Clearly, whatever the pandemic meant to your facility, your current primary focus must be in making revenue. The good news is that your customers have likely deferred maintenance (perhaps work that otherwise would have been done inhouse, but now must be sent to you) and demand will be high!!!
The easy answer is to drive over to the office holding your certificates and talk to your principal. When you get to the receptionist to access the bullpen, you will be asked whether you would like an appointment in August or September? No good. The FAA post pandemic schedule is heavy, too!
It may be that everyone in your organization that is able to make such an internal audit is BUSY!!! Given the immense value of your certificate, it would not be wise to reinitiate full bore without being 100% sure of your regulatory foundation. There are SMEs (link) who have the experience and expertise to insure the health of your ticket.
– May 5, 2021, 10:39 AM
The aviation maintenance industry is showing signs of a post-pandemic recovery while concerns about a technician shortage are renewed, according to results of an Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) survey. The February-March survey of 116 U.S. companies representing 196 FAA repair stations showed a 15.6 percent year-over-year decline in workers, from 22,952 in January 2020 to 19,360 in January 2021.
An economic slowdown caused by Covid-19 prompted 56 percent of ARSA members to seek government assistance through forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans. Another 14.6 percent received Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans and 7.6 percent received aid through the Air Carrier Payroll Support Program.
But looking ahead, 59.2 percent of respondents plan to add workers this year while 33 percent expect employment to remain flat. Less than 2 percent expect layoffs. Additionally, more than half—55.3 percent—of the companies surveyed anticipate revenue and market growth this year, with 25.2 percent expecting business activity to remain flat. Less than 7 percent expect contraction and 12 percent were uncertain about business activity this year.
Despite the optimism, 52.5 percent of surveyed companies reported “difficulty finding/retaining technical talent” as a major threat to their companies going forward, according to the survey. During the period, 907 technical positions went unfilled, the survey noted.
Share this article: