Managing Transport Canada's Amateur built inspection program is the most gratifying experience I have encountered in my 35 year association with aviation.
My experiences with the various share holders in each group of participants from Transport Canada HQ, Regional TC., Delegated inspectors, MD-RA staff and most important the builders has taught me many valued life experiences and has rewarded me a bonus to make life long friends in every Province and Territories of Canada.
Hello my name is Allan Mahon and I am the president and general manager of MD-RA Inspection Services (MD-RA). The following is an overview of the inspection operation and information to assist with understanding our functions and mandate.
I will first review how it all started. Many of you will recall when obtaining amateur built inspections directly from Transport Canada was sometimes a lengthy proposition. In response to builders needs, the late Howard Bexan spearheaded a negotiation process together with Transport Canada. Following many years of meetings and false starts, finally on May 31, 1995, the inspection program was granted official status by Order in Council. There are too many individuals to acknowledge in this correspondence for the eventual start up of the inspection program. Perhaps another time.
As of Jan. 1, 2010 MD-RA will commence its 16th year of providing inspection services on behalf of the Minister of Transport.
MD-RA Inspection Services has a total of 59 delegated inspectors located throughout Canada. Our numbers are regularly adjusted to meet the needs of the Amateur Builder/Importer.
In an average year MD-RA inspectors would issue approx 130 Special Certificate of Airworthiness, Amateur Built (C of A) through out the country. If you do the math you will realize our income is very limited and we at MD-RA must watch our expenditures closely.
MD-RA Inspection Services is not funded or topped up by Transport Canada. MD-RA must survive totally from the income generated from our established fee structure. (See www.md-ra.com)
Our work force of inspectors are volunteers and receive an honorarium for each inspection or job they perform. Note: Honorarium: is an "ex gratia" payment made to a person for their services in a volunteer capacity or for services for which fees are not traditionally required.
Inspectors receive between $50 to $60 for services provided. Additionally to honorariums inspectors are entitled to receive travel and expenses to attend an inspection. These expenses are collected by the inspector at the time of inspection.
It is MD-RA's responsibility to ensure every inspector attends a biannual Transport Canada approved training seminar. Each delegate must have first performed a minimum of inspections over the previous 24 months, secondly attend the prescribed training and finally, successfully pass a written examination so as to be issued a delegation of authority by Transport Canada.
MD-RA pays for all costs to sponsor these seminars as well as air fare, travel, meals and motel stays. This is all paid from the revenues received. The eastern Canada delegates training seminar was recently completed from Sept. 18 to 20 in London, Ont., and a second seminar will be held from Oct. 16-18 in Edmonton for the western delegates.
MD-RA delegates come with many different back grounds, professional aeronautical, electrical, mechanical and civil engineers, men who worked on the Avro Arrow program, high school teachers, retired military personnel, pilots from major airlines, AMEs with jet/turbine and helicopter endorsements, auto mechanics, business owners and amateur builder enthusiasts to name a few.
The pie chart below illustrates the distribution of expenditures in percentages for an average year for MD-RA Inspection Services. You will notice initial and recurrent training is the single largest expenditure we encounter.
When training costs and inspectors honorariums are totaled these two items account for 59 per cent of our total income. I would point out managers and executive positions receive no remuneration or wages for positions or duties performed.
Our web site www.md-ra.com contains access to all applicable documents and procedures that apply to Amateur Built aircraft in Canada. We continually add current up dates and information to our site to keep amateur builder enthusiast abreast of new and exiting changes within the amateur built sector.
All documents, forms and self help guides are easily viewed or can be downloaded from our site. You may also contact Gerry or Shirley in the MD-RA office on our toll free line 1-877-419-2111 or fax 1-877-800-6320 to make enquiries. Email firstname.lastname@example.org .
The MD-RA office is open daily, Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 5:00 PM EST except holidays.
On-Line filing of Letters of Intents and Inspection Request is temporarily not available to allow for up dates and security items to be included. I expect On-Line filing to be restored by November this year. I do apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
MD-RA application forms (ie: Letter of Intent and Inspection Request) are required to be completed by the builder and submitted to MD-RA Inspection Services for processing. When On-Line filing is restored you will be able to forward your request directly from our website. The documents forwarded to MD-RA by the builder, confirm and authorize MD-RA, the builder is aware of charges and allow us to complete the sale using the payment information and method supplied.
The builder's signature or forwarding of the application electronically verifies to MD-RA the builder is aware of the charges to be placed on their credit card and also gives authority for MD-RA to complete the sale and keep records of the transaction.
MD-RA is mandated to operate with in the policies and procedures set forth by Transport Canada.
We receive many requests to forward inspection packages via email or fax. This process is simply not permitted, as all inspection documents completed by a delegate inspector must be original documents and only filled in with permanent ink, such as a pen. No photo copies are allowed when referring to record of inspection documents.
If your project takes 15 years to complete, the Inspectors comments will be written or noted on the same document used 15 years earlier on the very first inspection.
MD-RA keeps all official documents in a storage area for every amateur built project that has filed a Letter of Intent. When an inspection is completed the inspector returns the project file to MD-RA for audit and safe keeping. Upon the aircraft receiving a Flight Authority the complete file is then forwarded to the appropriate Regional Transport Canada office.
MD-RA believes in continuous improvement, we are always looking to supply efficient and faster methods to expedite inspection files.
MD-RA applies our policies and procedures equally to all clients. Delegated inspectors are available subject to their personal and business commitments.
Please arrange your inspection needs well in advance with the MD-RA office to ensure you will not be disappointed.
I am available by phone and or email. My personal and business contacts are published on the MD-RA website. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.
Note: Allan Mahon holds a PPL and has been flying since 1976. He has built two amateur built aircraft, restored a Stearman and has owned many certified aircraft over the past 30 years. He has held the positions of President and General Manager of MD-RA Inspection Services since Dec. 1995.