If trade associations earned awards for persistence, MARPA would need a 747-sized trophy case.
Today's Federal Register includes an airworthiness directive ordering Douglas DC-8 operators to check previously repaired skin splices. The rule also includes FAA's dissemination of MARPA's latest in an ever-growing list of comments on making certificate-holder service information referenced in an AD available to all.
The Modification and Replacement Parts Association—MARPA for short—has a simple argument: if service information is referenced in a public document, such as an FAA airworthiness directive, it loses its "private, protected status" and should be published as part of the rulemaking—not just referenced in the rulemaking.
Counters the FAA:
The Office of the Federal Register (OFR) requires that documents that are necessary to accomplish the requirements of the AD be incorporated by reference during the final rule phase of rulemaking. This final rule incorporates by reference the document necessary for the accomplishment of the requirements mandated by this AD. Further, we point out that while documents that are incorporated by reference do become public information, they do not lose their copyright protection. For that reason, we advise the public to contact the manufacturer to obtain copies of the referenced service information.
We are currently reviewing our practice of publishing proprietary service information. Once we have thoroughly examined all aspects of this issue, and have made a final determination, we will consider whether our current practice needs to be revised.
None of this is news to regular Federal Register readers. A quick DMS comments search turned up 156 comment submissions by MARPA in the last three years; most of them hit on the issues of making service information (including relevant OEM part numbers) available in airworthiness directives and draft rules.