In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) published today, the FAA is proposing to amend FAR 43.3 to allow pilots of aircraft operated under Parts 121, 125, 133, 135, and 137 (“certificated operations”) to update Nav-System databases. (Note that this NPRM does not apply to aircraft operated under FAR Part 91. Pilots operating aircraft under Part 91 are already allowed to update Nav-System databases).
Under the NPRM, “Nav-System databases” would include “self-contained, front-instrument panel- mounted and pedestal-mounted air traffic control (ATC) navigational system databases (excluding those of automatic flight control systems, transponders, and microwave frequency distance measuring equipment (DME), and any updates that affect system operating software)”. Currently, the task of updating a Nav-System on an aircraft engaged in certificated operations is categorized as preventive maintenance under Part 43, Appendix A, paragraph (c)(32) and must be performed by a certificated mechanic or repair station. Under the NPRM, pilots operating aircraft engaged in certificated operations would be allowed to upload the current database rather than transporting a certificated mechanic to the aircraft, or flying the aircraft to a repair station.
The FAA believes that the NPRM “would reduce workloads for pilots and ATC and reduce compliance-related operational costs” but, “it also may have a negative economic impact on certificated mechanics and repair stations that currently perform required updates for affected operations.” However, it then concludes that “there would be minimal costs imposed by the proposed rule.”
Comments to the NPRM are due on or before December 19, 2011. If you have technical questions regarding the NPRM, you may contact Chris Parfitt, Flight Standards Service, Aircraft Maintenance Division–Avionics Maintenance Branch, AFS-360, Federal [[Page 64860]] Aviation Administration, 950 L’Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, DC 20024; telephone (202) 385-6398; facsimile (202) 385-6474; e-mail email@example.com. For legal questions, contact Viola Pando, Office of the Chief Counsel, Regulations Division–Policy and Adjudication Branch, AGC-210, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 493-5293; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.