Maintenance Makes It Work

 We have all heard people tell us that “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Why, after all, would you mess with something that is seemingly going or doing well?

While this may hold merit in certain situations in life, we also know that if it can go wrong, it eventually will unless we keep checks and balances in place. Your car may run fine now, but failing to have the oil changed or to top off its fluids may find your trusty steed stranded on the side of the road.

In the aviation maintenance world, there is very little room for what-can-or-might-happen. Aviation maintenance technicians (AMTs) work countless hours to ensure that the world’s general aviation fleet is safe to fly. Repair stations work over-time to ensure that before returning an aircraft to service it meets or exceeds the most stringent safety requirements. It is important that we recognize the tremendous work these individuals and organizations perform.

In support of the maintenance community, here are two things of which to be aware:

– NATA recently submitted comments on the inspector authorization (IA) “Actively Engaged” proposed policy language to the Department of Transportation

– The NATA Aviation Maintenance Technician Employer Recognition Program application deadline was extended by a week to February 4. This new award program was established by NATA to show the association’s continued support to the advancement of training within the aviation maintenance community.

IAs, Important for the Industry

Last week, NATA submitted comments regarding the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) “actively engaged” policy clarification as it pertains to IAs.

The policy, which is intended to help the agency’s aviation safety inspectors (ASIs) better determine whether someone is “actively engaged,” has initiated a sizeable number of comments from the maintenance community. While it is a policy change, many in the industry appeared to have viewed it as a new rule. This assumption is not without merit as the agency’s regulations and its employees’ interpretations of them do not always correspond. Empower an inspector by leaving the policy too open ended, and you give him too much freedom; write the policy too restrictively, and you take too much of it away. There is something to be said for both, depending on what interpretation benefits us most and hurts us the least.

Many aviation mechanics share a valid concern that they risk losing their IA certification if ASIs are given the tools they need to deny their renewal requests. In the proposed policy preamble, the FAA points to a 1998 memo that sought to clarify “actively engaged” as being the same as “full time” (35 hours by Department of Labor standards). We sincerely hope that the FAA will continue to respect the hard work that goes into reaching IA status and the people and organizations that rely on the expertise of those who attained it.

For those seeking IA training, has put together a great list of renewal opportunities in 2011:

NATA’s AMT Employer Award Deadline Now Set for February 4

It’s not too late for your organization to participate in the 2011 NATA Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Employer Recognition Program.

In response to many requests, we have extended this award program’s application deadline to Friday, February 4. Participating in the program is easy; simply download and complete the short application form and submit it to NATA via fax or e-mail.

We have received a great deal of interest in the program and applications continue to come in. Your commitment to the training of your employees is a vital component in maintaining the excellent safety standards we enjoy in our industry. The NATA Aviation Maintenance Technician Employer Recognition Program awards aviation maintenance organizations that encourage and support AMT training.

This award program is open to any full-time aircraft, components maintenance, Part 91, 121, 125, 127, 129, 133, 135, 137; 141 145 or 147 entity that conducts aviation maintenance. Award recipient selection is based on the percentage of AMTs employed (directly or indirectly) by a maintenance organization that participates in qualified training events.

For a detailed program description, go to

The application and list of qualified training/technicians may be submitted via fax to 703-845-8176 or completed and submitted online by e-mail to (preferred). Please ensure that you provide valid contact information so we may notify you with up-to-date program information.

By Dennis van de Laar, NATA Manager of Regulatory Affairs

Visit or return to NATA site:

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