Airport certification

(L to R): John Wolfe, FAA principal maintenance inspector; Ken Carley; Mark Harden, FAA certification project manager; Todd McGuire; Robert Holdridge, FAA principal maintenance inspector

Photographer: Kevin Riddell

Airport certification

Mark Harden, FAA certification project manager, presents Todd McGuire with Air Agency Certificate, while Ken Carley looks on

Photographer: Kevin Riddell

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Airport receives FAA repair station certification

Change will lead to better customer service

Ohio University's Gordon K. Bush Airport recently became a Federal Aviation Administration certified aircraft repair station.

Three FAA officials from the Columbus Flight Standard District Office presented Airport administrators, Ken Carley and Todd McGuire, with its "Air Agency Certificate" on Tuesday morning in the C. David Snyder Terminal.

The Airport's repair station, which is now officially known as Ohio University Aircraft Services, provides the maintenance for the University's 12 aviation training aircraft and a host of privately owned aircraft.

Carley said the Airport's repair station has been maintaining aircraft for many years, but never had the FAA certification.

"What this means is that we will be held to a higher standard when it comes to aircraft maintenance and repairs," said Carley, director of airport operations. "The certificate clearly puts more control over the maintenance of the aircraft in management's hands."

Carley said becoming a certified aircraft repair station was a long and arduous three-year project that culminated with the official presentation ceremony. He gave credit to McGuire, who he said created the aircraft repair manual and developed the internal processes that ultimately lead to the FAA certification.

In the past, aircraft maintenance was done under the license of the individual aircraft mechanics. Now the repair station's three mechanics, McGuire, Bruce Sherrets and Kim White, will make the
repairs under the auspices of an FAA certified repair station.  

McGuire, who serves as the Airport's director of maintenance, said the certification process began in 2008.

The first steps were to fill out the proper application with the FAA and create a repair station manual that includes quality control procedures and a personnel training program. The manual is unique to the shop and was put together using various templates from the FAA and other industry sources. 

"The manual was the most challenging part of the process – it was scrutinized by me and the FAA numerous times," McGuire said. "We made many revisions before we agreed on a final edition. Among other things, the manual lays out our procedures for accepting an aircraft for repair and ultimately returning it to service and is often referred to as the 'bible'.

"It's the instruction booklet for operating our repair station and is the standard that the FAA will hold us to, along with the FAA regulations," McGuire said.

The final step in the certification process for the repair station was to demonstrate its capabilities in accordance with the manual as it is written. If everything goes according to plan, certification is granted by the FAA.

"We will have to follow more stringent rules and undergo many more FAA inspections as part of being certified," McGuire said. "That's more work for us, but it is a good thing overall because it will improve the quality of our work. The certification makes the gray areas more clear."

The certification ensures that maintenance personnel adhere to FAA regulations and the procedures in the repair station manual, refines the maintenance procedures and reduces the Airport's risk exposure.

McGuire said that even though being FAA certified requires more paperwork, the benefits outweigh the negatives.

"Overall, this is going to improve our service to customers," he said. "One of our long-term goals is to create more job opportunities at the Airport, so this is an important step in attracting more business and growing the operation."