The FAA says it wants to change the way it evaluates applications for inspector authorizations, imposing what the NBAA called "a significant change" to the long-established practices for IA qualifications. In a "notice of proposed policy" published earlier this month, the FAA said it wants to clarify the term "actively engaged" for the purpose of reviewing applications and renewals for inspector authorization. The current rules require that an applicant must have been "actively engaged" for at least two years in maintaining aircraft in accordance with FAA regulations. The proposed policy would establish that "actively engaged" means "employed full-time in inspecting, overhauling, repairing, preserving, or replacing parts on aircraft." Anyone who does that kind of work only part-time or occasionally would be evaluated on an individual basis.
The NBAA said that in the past, FAA officials allowed IAs who don't work directly with aircraft to renew their authorization after complying with an annual eight-hour training requirement, which does not seem to be allowed in the new proposal. The Aircraft Electronics Association also expressed concern about the proposed change, saying it is a "flawed policy." The proposal would affect those who are in senior management positions with corporate flight departments, repair stations and air carriers who are not exercising their A&P privileges on a regular basis, the AEA said. The AEA also noted that the proposal would exempt FAA employees. If the proposal becomes policy, it will take effect in March 2011.