In another thread, a question arose about how the AOPA got wind of a Cirrus service issue. I responded with the following post (which is somewhat edited here) which describes a process in which COPA is notified and given an opportunity to provide input. I am posting the response here for wider circulation so our members (and nonmembers) may gain some insight.
The AOPA has worked with the FAA to establish a venue for typeclubs and other interested parties to be notified in advance of potential ADs and an opportunity to respond prior to the announcement of the proposed rulemaking or before an emergency AD is published. The theory is that we may have insight or solutions not thought up by the manufacturer or FAA.
COPA is part of this network, and AOPA administers it. So when there is a Cirrus issue (Regardless of where it is discovered and how it is reported to the FAA), the FAA, directly or indirectly, notifies us, the EAA, the AOPA, and if there are any other relevant type clubs, them too.
When we get notified, we review the data, discuss it with our technical liaisons, experts or the closest we can find, Cirrus, and the AOPA. Then we submit our reply with what we feel is in the best interests of our members and all owners. We believe that safety is first, but we balance it against cost and inconveniences.
To date since most issues have been covered under warranty, it hasn’t been a big deal supporting the repairs. We haven’t had any potential ADs which would require long groundings or big expenses for owners, yet. Cirrus, in fact, has been a big supporter of issuing the ADs as well. IMHO, it is because they forces owners to get the fixes done. Even though it is at Cirrus’s expense, they want to have a safer fleet.
Cirrus Design has also supported our efforts in responding. They have openly answered our questions and never given us any pressure to change things when we disagree. On the CAPS AD, one which Cirrus strongly pushed for, we requested more time and no immediate grounding so that our members could complete trips and have time to take the planes to the repair shops of their choice.