ATEC Weighs in on Congressional Part 147 Directive
Update: The FAA responded to ATEC's Feb. 25 letter (discussed below), stating that the FAA "is in the process of developing the appropriate course of action that best aligns with the [part 147 directive's] requirements and intent," and that more information would be published in the 2021 Department of Transportation's semi-annual regulatory agenda, expected to be published in the spring. The status of the part 147 rulemaking is set forth on the Office of Management and Budget website, according to the published timetable, a final rule is expected in April.
In a Feb. 25 letter to FAA officials, ATEC went on record setting forth its interpretation of the recent congressional mandate directing FAA to remove and replace the current part 147 with community-drafted language by March 27.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law 116-260) directs the FAA to repeal Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations part 147 and issue interim final regulations, meaning the agency would promulgate the language as written, initially bypassing Administrative Procedures Act notice and comment requirements.
"We would therefore expect and support the agency’s determination that the part 147 interim rule become effective immediately upon publication, with the stipulation that it be subsequently subject to public notice and comment," said the council in its letter. "We also understand that the agency could thereafter make adjustment to the rule if warranted by public comment or notify the public through publication of a final rule that no changes were made to the interim rule."
The letter also addressed the law's directive that part 147 certificate holders align curriculum with emerging airman certification standards (ACS), and maintains that general reference to that standard should not invoke any additional administrative requirements that would further delay ACS publication (see related story) or subject the ACS to APA rulemaking procedures.