Recommendation R20020242

Recommendation issued to: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Recommendation details
Output No: R20020242
Date issued: 15 November 2002
Safety action status:

See ATSB report BS/20010005,

"Investigation into Ansett Australia maintenance safety deficiencies and the control of continuing airworthiness of Class A aircraft".

Output text

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the US Federal Aviation Administration ensure that the process for determining grace periods for aircraft to comply with airworthiness directives is both systematic and transparent. Information about the methodology and results used to determine grace periods, including those associated with the Airworthiness Limitations Structural Inspections for damage tolerance aircraft types, should be included in the relevant Notice of Proposed Rule Making.

Initial response
Date issued: 30 April 2003
Response from: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Action status: Open
Response text:

To establish compliance times and grace periods for Airworthiness Directives (AD) and Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), we rely on guidance set forth in FAA's Airworthiness Directives Manual. This guidance and other information about the FAA's AD process can be found on our website under Continued Operational Safety. With this guidance readily available, we do not consider it necessary to include it in NPRM's also. The AD manual specifies that compliance thresholds must be established based on engineering assessment of when action should be taken to detect or prevent the unsafe condition. For those products that have already exceeded the threshold, a grace period is established to preclude products from being grounded unnecessarily. To determine the appropriate grace period, the degree of urgency of the unsafe condition must be balanced against the amount of time necessary to accomplish the required actions, the availability of necessary replacement parts, operators' regular maintenance schedules, and other factors affecting the ability of operators to comply. Decisions made on inspection thresholds and repeat inspection intervals are based on the nature of the unsafe condition and rely on engineering judgment. States of Registry may, at their discretion, evaluate the requirements set forth in the AD/NPRM and either adopt them or develop their own requirements to ensure the continued airworthiness of aircraft on their register.

ATSB Note:

Based on the previous advice ATSB reclassifies the recommendation as Closed-Partially Accepted (31 March 2008).

Further correspondence
Response from: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Response status: Closed - Partially Accepted
Response text:
Last update 03 April 2012