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Backdoor Rulemaking

Jim Meade

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Cessna recently revised the POH for the C210, T210 and P210 adding airworthiness items that are mandatory by FAR without going through an FAA review or comment period.

See this discussion of a letter sent by Paul New and Mike Busch (both of whom I met while I owned a T210) asking the FAA to rule on the applicability of the revisions.




I don't know how AMTA docs are published or whether they are subject to the same question of review by the FAA. It does make one alert to the question of manual revisions and updates.


We should all be alert to, read, understand and follow manual revisions, updates and similar publications. One question raised is whether they are all mandatory (in the legal sense).


No special message - hopefully we all are keeping current on docs, anyway.


It will be interested to follow this legal question and see if or how it might apply to AMTA.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jim Meade,

It looks like the link you posted is for the 210 service manual, but it does not really matter where the requirement is located. Airworthiness Limitations are a part of the aircraft type design. I fully agree that Cessna should not be allowed to make this requirement stick. However, the relevant 91 and 43 regs. are pretty clear, so long as the section is actually approved (FAA signature). Legally, an "Airworthiness Limitations section" must be constructed in accordance with FAR 21.50.

I have fought a similar battle with an Airworthiness Limitations section on Cirrus aircraft. To me the fault lies DIRECTLY with the FAA, and specifically with the individual who approves the section. Once a design is certified, one cannot make these kinds of changes without going through the rule making process. The FAA should be made to un-approve airworthiness limitations that are not in compliance with FAR and the APA.

I have seen scenarios where the system has worked the way it is supposed to. My specific example is Lear 45 aircraft. On three separate occasions I am aware of, Learjet changed their airworthiness limitations section (ATA chapter 4) for the 45 aircraft. Concomitant to this change, the FAA issued and Airworthiness Directive to make these changes mandatory (literally, the AD said to incorporate XYZ changes into the aircraft maintenance program).

I believe that the FAA official who received this revision from Cessna, should have denied the approval. If Cessna wanted to incorporate these additional inspection requirements, they could legally do it as a maintenance manual revision without FAA approval, however they would not have the same legal force and effect on the field (similar to mandatory SBs etc).


Bottom line: In my opinion, this revision is mandatory based on my interpretation of FAR 91.403.

The FAA individual should held accountable for the mistake, the same as we are.


Doug Hereford

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