U.S. Department
of Transportation

Federal Aviation

St. Louis
Flight Standards District Office

10801 Pear Tree Lane
Suite 200
St. Ann, Missouri 63074


April 2004 




Thought for the month..... I hope you’re not this year’s April Fool!

April 1st is also otherwise known as April Fools Day. If you hold inspection authorization (IA) you know the significance of that day. If you haven’t already submitted your renewal application to the FAA by the time you read this, it’s too late. The joke, unfortunately, is on you. It’s even too late to request renewal by the dreaded oral test administered by the FAA.

The various options that mechanics with inspection authorization have to renew their authorization, are still a mystery to some IA’s. The most prevalent means of renewing is by work activity. The regulations are written in such a way that a person who holds inspection authorization can renew if they do a predetermined number of annual inspections, or major repair or major alteration inspections. The number of inspections is subject to the length of time that the mechanic has held the inspection authorization.

The next most used method to renew is to annually attend at least 8 hours of training that is acceptable to the FAA. In the past just about any technical training course that covered aviation maintenance was automatically accepted. Attending technical training is still an acceptable method to renew inspection authorization today, but there are qualifiers to the acceptability of the training.

In 1995 the FAA issued guidelines for industry training that was considered acceptable. In that year the FAA also started to issue approved course numbers for training courses that were submitted for review. Some restrictions were put on the courses to prevent them from becoming an advertising venue for a product manufacturer, however, the FAA does permit a manufacturer to give training on his product as long as it is real technical training.

Just about every Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) plans and holds some kind of IA training event in either February or March to give IA’s who haven’t performed enough inspections to renew by activity, the opportunity to do so by training. Many of those FSDO’s plan a full day of seminar presentations. I came to the St. Louis District Office from the Windsor Locks, CT FSDO in 1995. The renewal training offered by each office was identical in format. All attendees were herded like cattle into a large auditorium for 50 minute periods and all listened to the same speaker. When eight hours of this “stuff” had transpired, all those who attended had satisfied one of the options to renew. Many inspectors actually looked forward to this day even though they could renew by inspection activity, because it was their day to network with their peers.

Since 2000, the planning and presentation of annual training for IA’s in the St. Louis district has been presented by the St. Louis Aviation Maintenance Safety Counselors. The St. Louis FSDO does not plan or hold annual training seminars anymore. These safety counselors are volunteers in the FAA’s aviation safety program. They are not employees of the FAA but rather aviation maintenance industry people who volunteer their time to continually work to improve the maintenance profession.

They have taken the annual training event and made it a two day symposium that consists of a myriad of subjects. Inspectors who attend are now offered a buffet style of training topics to choose from. Because of the variety of subjects, the symposium has become a hit for all those attending, even those who don’t have inspection authorization, because of the opportunity to continue their training and gain knowledge in their chosen profession. In addition, a number of venders now attend the two-day seminar and the pilot population is invited to participate on the second day, not only see what the vendors have to offer, but sit-in on maintenance related seminars.

The St. Louis Aviation Maintenance Counselors can be proud that the St. Louis Aviation Maintenance Symposium is highly recognized within the industry as one of the top symposiums in the Midwest. Positive comments and accolades have come from both mechanics who have attended other area maintenance seminars, and from the product vendors who return each year to display their products and provide valuable training presentations. The St. Louis Flight Standards District Office believes that, thanks to the maintenance counselors volunteers, the aviation community in the St. Louis District is well served. As stated by one vendor who plans his return year after year, “ I cover the Midwest for my employer. This symposium is, without a doubt, as good as I have seen anywhere and I’ve been to them all.”

Upcoming Events

April 27
Florissant Valley College
AOPA Air Safety Foundation
Maneuvering Flight
7 to 9 P.M.

May 13
Maryland Heights Centre
2344 McKelvey Rd
Maryland Heights, MO 63034
Working CFI Seminar
8:30 A.M. to 1:30 P.M.

Jun 5
Southwest Illinois College (SWIC)
2500 Carlyle Ave
Belleville, IL 62221
The Successful Cross Country
9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.

June 9 & 10
Embassy Suites Hotel
11237 Lone Eagle Dr
Bridgeton, MO 63044
Recurrent Pilot Examiner Standardization Seminar.

Steven Long
Airworthiness Safety Program Manager
St. Louis Flight Standards District Office
1-800-322-8876 ext. 4830