On Nov. 21, 2014, the FAA issued Notice 8900.278, introducing operations specifications (OpSpecs) for aviation maintenance technician schools (ATMSs) certificated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 147. The notice requires the FAA issue OpSpecs to all part 147 AMTSs by July 21, 2015.
OpSpecs describe the authorizations, ratings, and limitations of an AMTS holding a part 147 certificate. The agency currently issues OpSpecs for many other certificate holders, including part 121 and 135 operators and part 145 repair stations. OpSpecs for a part 147 certificate will specifically provide the certificate holder’s--
· Contact information and location information
· Ratings held (airframe, powerplant, or both)
· Exemptions held, if any
· Management personnel and those authorized to receive and modify OpSpecs
· Affiliated Designated Mechanic Examiners (DME)
· Certificated instructors
· Recordkeeping system (i.e., references to operations manual and locations where records are held)
· Subjects that may be provided through distance learning
While the OpSpecs do not require an AMTS to provide any “new” information or make adjustments to its current curriculum (unless it wants to incorporate distance learning), the Notice was issued in preparation for a revision to part 147 that would remove curriculum requirements from the rule’s appendices. After that change, course topics will be provided in each individual AMTS’ OpSpecs (see 2008 recommendation issued by an AMTS Curriculum and Operating Requirements Working Group).
If your OpSpecs have not already been issued, help the process along by gathering all the required information. (ATEC has developed a template that members may use to assist in this endeavor, download here.)
The FAA’s web-based Operations Safety System (WebOPSS) allows certificate holders to initiate, maintain and revise their own OpSpecs online. The system simplifies and streamlines the process by allowing certificate holders to submit all required information and any future modifications for inspector “approval.” To receive access, industry users must either receive WebOPSS training through their local office or through the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City (See Course FAA21000063, cost for the two-day course is $988 per student plus travel expenses).
The decision whether to offer certificate holders access to WebOPSS is therefore made by your local office; while some offices are very proactive about training certificate holders on the system, others prefer to issue OpSpecs the “old fashioned way” (creating the documents and sending them via regular or electronic mail for signature). Because of the long-term efficiencies gained by utilizing the system, ATEC encourages all certificate holders and inspectors to “manage” OpSpecs through WebOPSS.
On Friday, Nov. 14, the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) submitted comments to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding draft Order 8900.2A “General Aviation Airman Designee Handbook.”
Specifically, the council objected to the removal of provisions that allowed designees to obtain waivers to give oral and/or practical (O&P) tests to two students at a time when there is a valid need. The comments raise concerns about the increased costs and time associated with the total prohibition on testing more than one student while acknowledging forthcoming changes to O&P testing procedures. ATEC requested that the FAA delay these provisions until the implementation of the new randomly-generated testing process, which seek to cut overall testing time in half.
Stay tuned for updates on everything ATEC members need to know as well as ways that you can help the council and the AMTS community.