[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 214 (Friday, November 5, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 68249-68251]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-27834]



Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 65

[Docket No.: FAA-2010-1060]

Policy Clarifying Definition of ``Actively Engaged'' for Purposes 
of Inspector Authorization

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of Proposed Policy.


SUMMARY: This action proposes to clarify the term ``actively engaged'' 
for the purposes of application for and renewal of an inspection 
authorization. This proposal would amend the Flight Standards 
Management System Order 8900.1.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before December 6, 2010.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments identified by docket number FAA-2010-
1060 using any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your 
comments electronically.
     Mail: Send Comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. 
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West 
Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, 
Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room 
W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, 
SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.
     Fax: (202) 493-2251.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ed Hall, Aircraft Maintenance General 
Aviation Branch, AFS-350, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (804) 222-
7494 ext. 240; e-mail: [email protected].


Comments Invited

    The FAA invites interested persons to submit written comments, 
data, or views concerning this proposal. The most helpful comments 
reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for 
any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the 
docket does not contain duplicate comments, please send only one copy 
of written comments, or if you are filing comments electronically, 
please submit your comments only one time.
    The FAA will file in the docket all comments received, as well as a 
report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel 
concerning this proposal. Before acting on this proposal, the FAA will 
consider all comments received on or before the closing date for 
comments and any late-filed comments if it is possible to do so without 
incurring expense or delay. The FAA may change this proposal in light 
of comments received.

Availability of This Proposed Policy

    You can get an electronic copy using the Internet by--
    (1) Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);
    (2) Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/; or
    (3) Accessing the Government Printing Office's Web page at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html.
    You can also get a copy by sending a request to the Federal 
Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking,

[[Page 68250]]

ARM-1, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by 
calling (202) 267-9680. Make sure to identify the docket number or 
notice number of this proposal.


    Section 65.91(c) of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
sets forth the eligibility requirements for obtaining an inspection 
authorization (IA). Among other requirements not related to this 
proposal, an applicant must ``have been actively engaged, for at least 
the two-year period before the date he applies, in maintaining aircraft 
certificated and maintained in accordance with [FAA regulations].'' 
Section 65.93(a) sets forth the eligibility requirements for renewing 
an IA and incorporates the requirements for obtaining one under Sec.  
65.91(c)(1)-(4). Accordingly, an individual must be actively engaged, 
for at least the prior two-year period, in maintaining aircraft to be 
eligible to either obtain or renew an IA.
    The FAA provides guidance concerning the issuance of IAs in the 
Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS), FAA Order 
8900.1, Volume 5, Chapter 5, Sections 7 and 8. These sections assist 
aviation safety inspectors (ASIs) in evaluating an initial application 
for an IA or an application for renewing an IA as well as allow a 
prospective applicant to determine his or her eligibility. IAs are 
issued for two years and expire on March 31 of odd-numbered years. 
March 31, 2011, is the next expiration date.
    The definition of the term ``actively engaged'' has caused 
confusion among ASIs and aircraft maintenance personnel. The term is 
not defined in 14 CFR, and its definition in agency guidance materials 
has varied over time. Prior to 1988, the FAA considered persons 
exercising their mechanic certificate when employed full-time in 
aircraft maintenance to be actively engaged, and those employed on a 
part-time basis were individually evaluated by an FAA inspector. In 
1988, the FAA issued new guidance tightening the definition of actively 
engaged to include only those individuals employed full time in 
inspecting, supervising, overhauling, repairing, preserving, or 
replacing parts on certificated aircraft. In April 2010, the FAA 
retracted the 1988 policy, largely because it had been applied 
inconsistently, and began the process of clarifying actively engaged 
through agency guidance. This proposal is the result of that process.
    Generally, amendments to the FSIMS are made directly by the FAA's 
Flight Standards Service. However, because of the widespread confusion 
and inconsistent interpretation of actively engaged, the FAA is 
publishing this proposed FSIMS amendment and inviting public comment on 

Discussion of the Proposal

    It is a longstanding FAA requirement that an applicant for an IA or 
for renewal of an IA be actively engaged (i.e., an active, working 
airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic exercising the privileges of the 
mechanic certificate). An applicant can demonstrate that he or she is 
an active, working A&P mechanic in a number of ways.
    An applicant who is employed full-time in inspecting, overhauling, 
repairing, preserving, or replacing parts on aircraft consistently has 
been considered actively engaged. An applicant who is employed part-
time in those maintenance activities may be actively engaged. An 
applicant who participates in (regardless of employment status) those 
maintenance activities part time or occasionally may be actively 
    Whether that part-time or occasional employment or participation 
constitutes actively engaged depends on the circumstances. For that 
reason, those determinations must be made by the ASI reviewing the 
application. To make the determination, the ASI should consider the 
type of maintenance activity performed, considering any special 
expertise required, and the quantity of maintenance activity. In some 
cases, such as a mechanic performing maintenance in geographical area 
that has limited access to some special expertise or a retired mechanic 
who occasionally performs maintenance as needed, the type of 
maintenance activity may be the determining factor even when its 
quantity is relatively insignificant. Because the ASI's determination 
is unique to each applicant, the ASI would use documentation or other 
evidence provided by the applicant detailing the maintenance activity. 
Accordingly, the FAA proposes to define in FAA Order 8900.1 the factors 
an ASI should consider when reviewing an application for an IA or for 
renewal of an IA.
    Additionally, FAA Order 8900.1 restricts the types of maintenance 
that ASIs can perform because of ethical concerns. The FAA does not 
intend for ASIs to lose their IAs because of these limitations. 
Accordingly, the FAA proposes a carve-out for ASIs who also hold an IA.
    The FAA intends this policy statement to clarify rather than change 
the definition of ``actively engaged'' and provide clear guidance to 
ASIs that can be applied consistently. The FAA intends for this 
clarification to be in effect for the next IA renewal cycle in March 

Proposed Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation 
Administration proposes to amend FAA Order 8900.1, Volume 5, Chapter 5 
as follows:
    1. Amend Section 7, Paragraph 5-1279 by adding a Note after 
subparagraph A to read: 5-1279 ELIGIBILITY. The ASI must establish the 
applicant's eligibility before allowing the applicant to test. None of 
the requirements of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 
CFR) part 65, Sec.  65.91 can be waived by the ASI.
    A. The applicant must hold a current mechanic's certificate, with 
both airframe and powerplant ratings, that has been in effect for at 
least 3 years. The applicant must have been actively engaged in 
maintaining certificated aircraft for at least the 2-year period before 

    Note: Actively engaged means exercising the privileges of an 
airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate in the maintenance of 
civil aircraft. Applicants who are employed full-time in inspecting, 
overhauling, repairing, preserving, or replacing parts on aircraft 
are considered to be actively engaged. Applicants who are employed 
or participate in inspecting, overhauling, repairing, preserving, or 
replacing parts on aircraft on a part-time or occasional basis will 
be evaluated by the ASI to determine whether the applicant is 
actively engaged. The ASI will evaluate the scope of part-time or 
occasional activity based on the type of maintenance activity, 
including any special expertise required, and the quantity of 
maintenance activity performed. To evaluate the scope of the part-
time or occasional maintenance activity, the ASI will use evidence 
or documentation provided by the applicant showing inspection, 
overhauling, repairing, preserving, or replacing parts on aircraft.

    B. There must be a fixed base of operation at which the applicant 
can be located in person or by telephone. This base need not be the 
place where the applicant will exercise the inspection authority.
    C. The applicant must have available the equipment, facilities, and 
inspection data necessary to conduct proper inspection of airframes, 
powerplants, propellers, or any related part or appliance. This data 
must be current.
    D. The applicant must pass the IA knowledge test, testing the 
ability to inspect according to safety standards for approval for 
return to service of an aircraft, related part, or appliance after 
major repairs or major alterations, and

[[Page 68251]]

annual or progressive inspections performed under part 43. There is no 
practical test required for an IA.

    Note: The ASI should see paragraph 5-1285 for instructions on 
determining an applicant's eligibility.

    2. Amend Section 8, Paragraph 5-1309 by adding a Note after 
subparagraph (A)(1) to read: 5-1309 RENEWAL OF INSPECTION 
    A. Application Requirements. Application for renewal may be 
required to comply with the following:
    (1) Show evidence the applicant still meets the requirements of 
Sec.  65.91(c)(1) through (4).

    Note: Refer to Paragraph 5-1279(A)-(C) of this document for 
information on meeting Sec.  65.91(c)(1) through (4) requirements. 
Because volume 1, chapter 3, section 2 of this Order limits the type 
of maintenance that ASIs can perform, an ASI may renew an IA 
regardless of volume of maintenance work performed.

    (2) Complete Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Form 8610-1, 
Mechanic's Application for Inspection Authorization, in duplicate.
    (3) Show evidence the applicant meets the requirements of Sec.  
65.93(a) for both the first and second year in the form of an activity 
sheet or log, training certificates, and/or oral test results, as 

    Issued in Washington, DC, on October 29, 2010.
John McGraw,
Deputy Director, Flight Standards Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-27834 Filed 11-4-10; 8:45 am]