FAA To Reconsider Air Tour Operator Maintenance
The FAA has issued a Notice of New Task Assignment for the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) to develop maintenance requirements for aircraft used in commercial air-tour operations as covered in 14 CFR Part 136–Commercial Air Tours and National Parks Air Tour Management. The FAA has published the notice to solicit membership for a new Commercial Air Tour Maintenance Working Group to support the ARAC on the new task. The initiative is in response to NTSB recommendations. Current FAA regulations require that air carrier air-tour operators under Parts 121 and 135 (with aircraft certified for a passenger seating configuration, excluding any pilot seat, of 10 seats or more) are required to have a maintenance quality assurance system, a maintenance training program and a required inspection program. Similar requirements do not exist for aircraft operated under Parts 91 and 135 (with nine or fewer passenger seats), and that is the target of the working group. The NTSB recommended implementation of a safety system to monitor and analyze the inspection and maintenance procedures and provide model specific helicopter maintenance training to mechanics through a formal training program.