The system works just fine as is

Dear Joe,

As usual the Administrator is trying to “cut his own throat,” and ours with it. Having just read with great interest the comments by Gary Frederickson and Tim Begeot in the “Readers Speak” section of the April issue of D.O.M.

magazine, I would like to point out to everyone three overlooked points:

1. When the Administrator first began requiring annual IA renewal, he inserted the term “actively engaged “ in order to allow yearly renewal by IAs who DO NOT perform annual inspections, such as airline inspectors, repair station inspectors, engine shop inspectors and others. He did not intend the term to be used as a hatchet by the new “modern” FAA to rescind inspection authorizations based on a certain number of hours of maintenance activity each week. 

2. In case the FAA folks haven’t realized it yet, there’s a severe recession in progress. In essence, almost ALL of us are, for the time being, part timers, and will be until the financial situation improves. 

3. In most parts of the country, winter always brings a slow down to the industry, putting almost all of us on part-time or on-call status until late Spring, when the flying picks up.     

I know very few I.A.s who work 40 hours per week, and none who work 52 weeks per year. If the Administrator succeeds in legally defining the term “actively engaged” as working 2,080 hours per year (that’s 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year), then he will rescind most of the Inspection Authorizations in the country, and will have also succeeded in “flushing” what little is left of light general aviation  down the proverbial “toilet.” Then there will be no light general aviation left for him to administer. 

To me, this sounds like the age-old rub between pilots and mechanics. Unfortunately, there are many more pilots than mechanics in the FAA. When things get slow and they get bored, they start dreaming up new rules, mainly for us mechanics and inspectors. We need them to stop. The system works just fine as is. Commercial pilots don’t have to meet any minimum hourly requirements, and neither should we inspectors.

Don Whitlock, A&P/IA 

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