The FAA has released two new advisory circulars that may affect the PMA community. Both advisory circulars are issued by the Transport Aircraft Directorate and apply to Part 25 aircraft (and parts thereof).
We would be interested in hearing from any MARPA member who is affected by one of these new advisory circulars.
Do your export 8130-3 tags have the right language on them? If they don’t then you run the risk that they may be rejected in Europe.
The Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) between the United States and the European Union specifies that the documentation that accompanies a PMA part bound for the European Union must include specific language in order to be acceptable to the European Union’s airworthiness authority, EASA.
The BASA Technical Implementation Procedures (TIP) direct that PMA parts being exported from the United States to the European Union bear appropriate language in block 12 (the remarks block) of the export 8130-3 tag. In order to meet this requirement properly, the export 8130-3 tag must identify the part as falling into one of these three categories (by using the authorized language):
1. For a PMA part which is not a critical component, the remarks block of the 8130-3 should state:
“This PMA part is not a critical component.”
But if the PMA part is a critical component, then there are two options for the language in the remarks block.
2. In the first option for critical components, if the PMA holder also holds an EASA STC design approval which incorporates the PMA part into an EASA certified or validated product, then the language should say:
“Produced by the holder of the EASA STC number [INSERT THE FULL REFERENCE OF THE EASA STC INCORPORATING THE PMA].”
3. In the second option, if the PMA holder holds a licensing agreement from the TC or STC holder (giving the PMA holder the rights to use the TC/STC design for the PMA parts), then the following statement should be written in the remarks block:
“Produced under licensing agreement from the holder of [INSERT TC or STC NUMBER].”
These options 2 and 3 are the only two options for exporting FAA-PMA critical components from the US to the EU.
The PMA “criticality statement” is something that is requested under the technical implementation procedures (TIPs) that accompany the US-EU bilateral aviation safety agreement (BASA).
Under the US-EU TIP, a “Critical Component” is defined as:
“a part identified as critical by the design approval holder during the product type validation process, or otherwise by the exporting authority. Typically, such components include parts for which a replacement time, inspection interval, or related procedure is specified in the Airworthiness Limitations section or certification maintenance requirements of the manufacturer’s maintenance manual or Instructions for Continued Airworthiness.”
The determination of whether a PMA part is critical is made by the design approval holder (the FAA-PMA holder) and confirmed as part of the FAA approval. Section 4.4(c) of Order 8130.21H states that “The determination of a PMA article’s criticality, as required to be entered in Block 12 when exported, can only be determined by the actual design approval holder (that is, the FAA-PMA holder).” This is important language because certain parties (foreign governments and competitors) have attempted to gainsay the FAA-approved “critical part” decisions of the FAA-PMA holders.
we have heard of DARs who thought that this language meant that only the PMA holder could obtain the export 8130-3 tag. This is not so. This language is not meant to prevent a designee issuing an export 8130-3 tag from making a PMA “criticality statement” on the 8130-3 tag that is consistent with the determination of the design approval holder. Thus, any designee issuing an export 8130-3 tag for any FAA-PMA part may rely on the (PMA) design approval holder’s determination as to whether the PMA part is a critical component.
This critical parts language generally does not appear to apply to most bilateral airworthiness agreements – it is a special nuance of the US-EU Agreement. Adding the “criticality” language does not hurt the 8130-3 tag (and may be useful if the end-user is not yet known), but the criticality language generally remains unnecessary unless the part is destined for Europe.
The FAA has released Notice 8110.116, which stresses the importance of writing clear notes in the Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS), and of ensuring that those notes are consistent with FAA policy. This new guidance can be very valuable to everyone in the industry. The value to TC applicants and holders (who create draft TCDS for FAA adoption) is obvious, but less obvious are the subtle and not-so-subtle admonitions against using the TCDS for anti-competitive effect.
One valuable element of this guidance is that it stresses certain things that should not appear in the TCDS. For example, in paragraph 6(a)(6), the guidance advises against language that limits work to a scope narrower than permitted by the regulations:
(6) Do not include requirement that is non-regulatory in the notes. For example: “This aircraft shall be maintained in accordance with the BHT-427 Maintenance manual.” This note implies that BHT-427 is the only source for maintaining the aircraft, and conflicts with 14 CFR 43.13(a) which states “Each person performing maintenance . . . shall use methods . . . or other methods acceptable to the administrator.”
This admonition is consistent with FAA guidance that has prohibited language limiting operators options in seeking repairs. E.g. PS-AIR-21.50-01: Type Design Approval Holder Inappropriate Restrictions on the Use and Availability of Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (March 23, 2012). In the past, there have been problems with manufacturer’s guidance that seeks to limit operators’ repair options, which in turn has had an adverse effect on independent repair stations who are qualified by the FAA to perform the same repairs. Other language in the guidance highlights the prohibition against anti-competitive statements by stating:
Avoid language promoting a TC holder or their suppliers as the sole source for maintenance or overhaul.
It is contrary to 14 CFR parts 43 and 21 to include a note that all repairs or modification schemes must be approved by the TC holder prior to FAA approval.
In a similar vein, the guidance also forbids use of notes that could be interpreted as statements of FAA General Policy. The obvious reason for this is because the TCDS should not be used as a vehicle for establishing FAA policy. The example that is given is useful in its own right, because this is clearly not a statement of FAA policy, despite the fact that some government prosecutors have tried to promote similar policies:
(8) Avoid notes that can be interpreted as FAA general policy. For example: “Reuse of parts and assemblies that have been involved in an accident is not permitted unless approved by FAA Engineering.”
In subsection 6(a)(10), the FAA advises against the use of brand names, but in subsection (11), the FAA requires that when a specific brand name is used, then the note must also advise of the possibility of using FAA-approved alternatives:
(11) If a specific brand name material needs to be listed, then you must state that an equivalent material is also may be approved. For example: “SOHIO BIOBOR JF biocide additive is approved for use in fuel at a concentration not exceeding 270 PPM. Use of other, equivalent material, may be approved by the FAA.”
Aviation is a competitive industry, but some companies have attempted to use FAA-approved and FAA-acceptable documents as levers to inhibit competition. The FAA has repeatedly asserted that its job is safety – not competition – and that it will not allow its approvals to be used as independent inhibitors of competition where no safety interest is served. While the main purpose of this new guidance is to standardize the layout of TCDSs, it also includes important admonitions that should help prevent anti-competitive behavior.
MARPA had a very good meeting today with Mark Bouyer and Ann Azevedo of the FAA’s Engine and Propeller Directorate (EPD).
The focus of the meeting was status on EPD policy that may affect PMA manufacturers.
Azevedo explained that she has responded to the comments on the Statistics Advisory Circular (AC), and hopes to have the final draft of that guidance available to the public by September. The Statistics AC is meant to address FAA concerns that have been recognized in practice, such as misusing statistical methods to show equivalence, and underestimating the appropriate sample sizes.
Bouyer expects the Materials AC to go out for public comment this month. The Materials AC will identify the essential data that is necessary when a PMA applicant is trying to replace the material used in the type design. MARPA members should watch for this one, and be prepared to offer their comments.
The FAA had published the Geometry AC for comment. This AC is meant to enhance awareness of how reverse engineering can introduce dimensional differences in replacement parts. MARPA Board members have expressed that the draft of this proposed guidance appeared to be very helpful to the industy.
The Burner Rig AC, which was also previously out for comment, is expected to be issued by September. It is expected to provide a method for establishing functional equivalence for certain degradation modes in parts such as oxidation, hot corrosion, erosion, etc. The AC is expected to identify existing technology as a means of compliance.
Finally, the FAA is internally reviewing AC 33.8 with a plan to update and clarify the AC. The updates are intended to make the AC easier to use.
The FAA has been very active and diligent in preparing guidance. In the immediate future (before the Conference), MARPA members should expect to see the release version of the Statistics AC and the Burner Rig AC, and they should expect to see the Materials AC go out for comment.
MARPA recently filed comments on the FAA Engine and Propeller Directorate’s draft Advisory Circular 33-Geometry, discussing geometry and dimensional considerations for comparative test and analysis for turbine engine and APU replacement parts. In a previous blog post we observed that AC identified a number dimensional and geometric factors that the FAA expects to be assessed in ensuring the integrity of dimensional characteristics for the purposes of showing similarity.
We requested feedback from our members describing to what extent the FAA’s expectations were reasonable and practicable, and identifying any issues with the proposed guidance on which MARPA should comment. We received several very helpful responses from our members that helped us shape our comments to the proposed AC. Among the issues members identified were:
Feedback from our members is both helpful and valuable to our comments, as it helps us to identify issues that directly affect members’ businesses, and helps us to better focus our resources on those matters that are important to the PMA community. The result is more detailed and on-point responses to the FAA to better help shape the guidance material that will ultimately be issued.
We greatly appreciate the feedback we received from our members on this Advisory Circular, and we hope that our members will continue to answers our requests for responses as additional guidance and rulemaking documents are issued. Together we can work with the FAA to develop the best possible guidance for our industry.
The FAA is currently seeking comments on its Draft Advisory Circular Engine Overtorque Test, Calibration Test, Endurance Test, and Teardown Inspection for Turbine Engine Certification (§§ 33.84, 33.85, 33.87, 33.93).
As the title suggests, the AC offers guidance on compliance with the engine overtorque, calibration, and endurance tests, and teardown inspection called out in Part 33 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Although the guidance is directed at engine manufacturers, foreign regulatory authorities, applicants for engine type design approval, and FAA designees, it also notes that parts manufacturer approvals “may require running certain endurance testing for compliance with § 33.87″ and refers to AC 33.87-2 for guidance on showing compliance by comparative test methods.
MARPA would like to know to what extent members anticipate this AC might effect them, and whether we should submit comments. If you plan on submitting comments, or have already done so, we would would like your feedback so that we can incorporate member concerns into our comments.
Comments on the Draft AC are due next week, so if you have feedback for us please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org soon!
Today, the FAA announced the issue of AC 21.3o3-4. The title of this AC will be “Application for Parts Manufacturer Approval Via Tests and Computations or Identicality.”
As of this time, the AC is not yet available to the public. When it is available to the public, it is expected to be posted online at this location:
Note: the issue date published on the FAA’s website is March 21, 2014; however the AC is not yet available through the FAA’s online advisory circulars, nor through the Regulatory and Guidance Library (RGL). The note on the FAA’s website states “This document‘s content is not currently available.”
The FAA Engine and Propeller Directorate has issued a new draft Advisory Circular that could have a significant effect on companies seeking PMAs, STCs, or approval of repair or alteration of turbine engine and APU parts. Draft AC 33-Geometry: Geometry and Dimensional Considerations for Comparative Test and Analysis for Turbine Engine and Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) Replacement, Redesign, and Repaired Parts is directed at applicants who use comparative techniques to reproduce dimensional characteristics of parts during the reverse engineering process.
The AC is intended to provide guidance to help PMA (and other) applicants assess their reverse engineering methods to identify possible causes of dimensional inaccuracies, as well as helping applicants develop adequate criteria for determining dimensional similarity between the PMA design and the sample. To that end, the draft AC identifies several dimensional and geometric factors that the FAA expects should be assessed in seeking to ensure the integrity of dimensional characteristics for the purposes of showing similarity. These factors range from geometric relationships to precision and accuracy to influence on critical parts.
The background section of the draft AC states that because reverse engineering methods vary in their measurement techniques, interpretation and combination of data, and in dimensioning systems, they do not typically produce a design with the exact same dimensional properties as the type design part. It further explains that because dimensional differences may exist, functional assessments–which may include both test and supplemental analytical data–will be necessary to safeguard type design functional properties, as well as capabilities of interfacing and higher level assemblies. Such explanations help to illuminate the FAA’s expectations of an applicant in making showings of dimensional similarity. MARPA would like feedback from our members describing to what extent such test data is currently available and practical within the industry.
Although this AC, like all Advisory Circulars, is neither mandatory nor regulatory, such guidance documents do sometimes become ingrained and relied upon in considering applications. It is therefore important to review the draft and offer comments to the FAA to ensure the guidance reflects the realities of our industry. MARPA will be closely reviewing the guidance and offering comments on behalf of the PMA community. If you identify any particular issues within the guidance, please bring them to our attention so we can incorporate them into our comments. Email your concerns to email@example.com. We also recommend that members who identify concerns file their own comments on the guidance. Comments are due July 3, 2014 and should be submitted to Mark Bouyer of the Engine and Propeller Directorate, at firstname.lastname@example.org
In recent weeks the FAA has released final versions of two important pieces of guidance. FAA Order 8110.42D – Parts Manufacturer Approval Procedures, which cancels revision C, was published on April 10, and FAA AC 21.303-2 – Application For Parts Manufacturer Approval Via Tests and Computations Or Identicality, was published on April 7. Both of these documents have a direct effect on PMA producers.
MARPA submitted comments addressing issues in these guidance documents in September, 2013. Among the issues MARPA noted was the intended use in Order 8110.42D of the FAA’s Risk Based Resource Targeting Tool (RBRT tool) to prioritize PMA projects. MARPA observed that the RBRT tool as intended relied on subjective assessments of project risk that could result in unfair treatment of certain PMA projects. The FAA agreed that the RBRT tool was not quite ready for prime time and has removed it from the Order. MARPA will remain vigilant, however, as guidance for use of the RBRT tool will be addressed in a future Order.
MARPA also worked with its members to offer comments and feedback to the FAA regarding AC 21.303-2. This new AC consists primarily of guidance to PMA applicants that formerly appeared in the now-cancelled Order 8110.42C. MARPA offered comments addressing the expected sample sizes needed for PMA applications based on test and computation, origins of samples, and discretion for establishing sample sizes. The FAA’s adoption of these comments should better help square the advisory guidance with the realities of industry sampling.
MARPA also commented that references to Order 8110.119 – Streamline Process for Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) should be included in both documents to encourage use of the Streamlined PMA process when applicable. We are pleased that the FAA agreed and adopted references to the Order in both guidance documents. We are hopeful that the inclusion of references to Order 8110.119 in both Order 8110.42D and AC 21.303-2 will further promote ACO acceptance and PMA applicant use of the Streamlined PMA process.
Both of these guidance documents are now active. Members should familiarize themselves with the guidance, as it will inform the nature of the application process and the relationship with the FAA and your ACOs. In reviewing the two documents, if you notice anything troubling or that seems out of place, please bring it to our attention so that we can work with the FAA to find a solution. Send your thoughts on Order 8110.42 revision D and AC 21.303-2 to email@example.com.
In January, we wrote in this space about two new FAA Policy Statement proposals aimed at increasing coordination between FAA offices in the cases of certain engine PMA and propeller PMA applications. MARPA is always on the lookout for those potential regulations and policies–whether large or small–that could effect our members. In an effort to best support the industry, MARPA solicits feedback from members and files comments addressing the concerns of the PMA community with the FAA. MARPA also works to support the FAA in order to provide industry’s perspective and needs in order to help develop the best rules, policy, and guidance possible.
Last week we filed comments on draft policy statements PS-ANE-33.3-05 and PS-ANE-35.15-02. These two statements were substantially similar in content, and therefore raised similar concerns. The policy statements are intended to create a uniform policy describing the engine and propeller PMA projects for which an ACO is required to use the national certification project notification (CPN) database to alert the Certification Management ACO (CMACO) and Engine and Propeller Directorate (EPD) about the project. The purpose is to enable the CMACO and EPD to provide relevant input when the PMA application is for a project the failure of which may result in a loss of thrust or power.
MARPA noted several possible issues with the proposed Policy Statements. First, our comments noted that the policy as proposed could run the risk of burdening PMA applicants by delaying response time, as each FAA office took the opportunity to review the project. MARPA also noted the risk that differences of opinion between offices could be hashed out using an individual PMA application as the mechanism. This could also result in undue burden to the applicant. Finally, MARPA noted that inquiries by FAA offices about certain PMA projects could inadvertently alert TC holders of possible competition in a particular part market, and give that TC holder the opportunity to lock up the market before the PMA package is ever approved; a clear unfair competitive advantage.
Finally, MARPA noted that a certain provision uniquely included in PS-ANE-33.3-05 (the engine-PMA Policy Statement) was needlessly critical of PMAs and potentially harmful to the PMA industry. The sentence in question reads “[f]ailure of some of these engine PMA parts has resulted in unsafe conditions and the issuance of airworthiness directives.” MARPA explained that this sentence was inappropriate for two reasons. First, it incorrectly implies that PMA parts are abnormally unsafe and that TC products do not have a history of resulting in ADs. Second, the sentence in no way advances the purpose of the Policy Statement, which is to establish uniform standards for use of the CPN database. For these reasons, MARPA recommended the deletion of the sentence.
MARPA will continue to work for its members to advise and cooperate with the FAA in crafting fair and effective policy. Members comments on these issues are always welcome.
You can read MARPA’s comments in their entirety on the MARPA website under the Government Affairs tab at http://www.pmaparts.org/government/.