Fayetteville’s Thom Duncan Avionics, an aircraft FAA Part 145 repair station, overcame a grueling assessment process and a government shutdown to obtain the sought-after Air Agency Certification from the US Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration in December.
The Air Agency Certification allows the Fayetteville business to be federally certified to complete aircraft repairs. The certification for Fayetteville’s avionics business will increase overall business endeavors for the airport.
The milestone is considered difficult to obtain. Thom Duncan, owner of Thom Duncan Avionics, had an unusually difficult path to certification. Duncan was faced with a governmental shutdown on top of the multi-phase process, and in late November, the FAA still did not have federal funding authorized, leaving the Fayetteville business certification uncertain.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, “Certification is how the FAA manages risk through safety assurance. It provides the FAA confidence that a proposed product or operation will meet FAA safety expectations to protect the public. Certification affirms that FAA requirements have been met.”
On top of the lack of governmental funding, the process to obtain the certification is extensive and time-consuming. The process can take years to complete, according to FAA.gov, but Duncan was able to complete all five phases of the process in just six months after starting, even with the threat of the lack of governmental funding looming.
On Dec. 22, 2018, the federal government shut down until Jan. 25, 2019, the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The budget for the federal funding of the FAA was cut in November of 2018, leaving Duncan’s hope of bringing the Air Agency Certification for his Fayetteville business to a screeching halt.
Because the FAA is not “top-priority” in the eyes of essential governmental agencies to be funded, it made the certification process difficult for Duncan. While the government eventually opened, it didn’t mean that everything, like the FAA, for example, was immediately funded.
In December of this past year, Thom Duncan Avionics was officially certified to be an aircraft repair station, bringing an impactful business to the Fayetteville economy.
“I had to keep at it to make sure we stayed on their radar,” Duncan said. “This is not an easy thing to obtain. I’m proud to be living the dream.”