OpSpecs Not Required for Part 137 Operators
NAAA is still receiving questions from operators throughout the country about FAA Operations Specifications (OpSpecs). As NAAA has stated in newsletters, magazine articles, the PAASS program and convention sessions, FAA Headquarters has told us there are no OpSpecs for Part 137 operators. An article in Agricultural Aviation magazine explored this subject in depth.
The problem is a lack of communication between FAA Headquarters and the individual FSDOs. To summarize the problem, in the aftermath of the 9/11/01 disasters, the FAA realized it did not have a central database containing details on all Part 137 operators. The certificate information was held by the individual FSDOs having control of the operating certificates. FAA sought an existing database for this purpose and the most reasonable one was the OpSpecs database. Since the FAA was going to use the database for purposes other than OpSpecs, such as tracking ag operators and instances where a letter of authorization (LOA) was required for certain activities, it was renamed WebOPSS.
An operator’s information is put into this database simply as a means of keeping a record in a central, nationally accessible location. The confusion seems to come from the former use of the database to store OpSpecs and the similar manner in which information is inputted into templates. It is further complicated by unclear guidance material for the FSDO inspectors in Flight Standards Information Management Systems (FSIMS) 8900.1. This information was formerly found in inspector’s handbooks before it was consolidated and put online at http://fsims.faa.gov.