The FAA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking covering aircraft with 10 or more passenger seats that will require much more comprehensive monitoring and record-keeping concerning contract maintenance. The new rule was mandated by the recent reauthorization of the FAA but the FAA seems to agree there's a need. "These changes are needed because contract maintenance has increased to over 70 percent of all air carrier maintenance, and numerous investigations have shown deficiencies in maintenance performed by contract maintenance providers," the NPRM says. Although the rule is aimed primarily at Part 121 operators, it will capture larger business jets and charter aircraft, too.
The FAA wants contract maintenance to be performed with the equivalent level of operator oversight as in-house maintenance. That means maintenance manuals have to be rewritten and operators have "to develop policies, procedures, methods, and instructions for performing contract maintenance that are acceptable to the FAA." Affected parties have until Feb. 13 to comment.