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PMA Parts Continue to Be Acceptable in Europe

One of our members recently expressed some concern about use of PMAs on assemblies subject to dual-use 8130-3 tags (those that are subject to both U.S. FAA and E.C. EASA regulations).

The member had been told that their company’s repair station could not legally use a PMA part in an assembly and then approve it for return to service with an 8130-3 tag signed under both U.S. and E.C. rules.  This was not accurate.

The fact is that U.S. PMA parts can generally be used as replacement parts under EASA regulations (and thus they can be used on components that will be released with a dual release 8130-3 naming EASA as the other jurisdiction).

The member had been told that the “MAG” did not permit this.  The “MAG” is the Maintenance Annex Guidance that was published to help understand the bilateral agreement between the U.S. and the E.C. (it was published jointly by the FAA and EASA).  The MAG states that “PMA parts may only be accepted as detailed in EASA Part-21 or in Annex 1 of the Agreement.”

So the question is, when do EASA Part-21 or Annex 1 of the Bilateral Agreement permit use of PMA parts.

Annex 1 of the Bilateral Agreement permits use of PMAs as defined under the Technical Implementation Procedures.  The Technical Implementation Procedures permit PMA parts under the same terms that have become standard in Europe for the past decade.  These are the terms that were memorialized in the 2007 PMA Directive, which does a good job of summarizing the PMA acceptance protocols in Europe that have been in place since the JAA.

In summary, if the PMA part is not a critical part, then it can be used under the EASA system.  If the PMA part is a critical part that was made under licensing agreement with the TC holder, then it can be used under the EASA system.  But if the PMA part is a critical part that was developed independently (design was not derived from TC license), then it needs a European design approval in the form of an STC in order to permit usage under the EASA system.

The current bilateral agreement with the E.C. also permits European acceptance of PMA. The terms are substantially similar to those of the older directive.

There are legal technicalities concerning the basis for acceptance (older PMAs are actually accepted under the terms of the prior agreements, because the Directive is contingent on the bilateral agreement that permits acceptance of PMA remaining in force and post-May-5-2011 PMAs are accepted under the new bilateral) but these are distinctions that only lawyers care about; the basic standards remain the same.

It is always possible that there are specific facts that cause someone to say that in this particular case you cannot use PMA parts because of a fact-specific issue (for example, the PMA parts might be critical parts that do not meet the requirements), but PMA parts are generally acceptable within the bounds established by existing policy.

Members who plan to be in Las Vegas for the MARPA Annual Conference, and who have questions about this, should feel free to catch me during the Conference to get answers.

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About Jason Dickstein

Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. He represents several aviation trade associations, including the Aviation Suppliers Association, the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association.

Discussion

3 thoughts on “PMA Parts Continue to Be Acceptable in Europe

  1. Jason, nicely written and very timely (for us, at least!). Although, I am still a bit confused as to whether parts repaired by PMA/PAH will fit neatly into this “acceptability” criteria. The company I work for manfactures and sells several proprietary STC’d devices for large transport aircraft (B737, B757, etc). These devices also have EASA STC approval and are flying on European based airplanes.

    We have PMA and PAH status to maintain, rebuild and or provide alterations to our product. We are not (yet) a part 145 repair facility; however, Section 2 of Order 8130.21 allows a PAH (without part 145 Repair status) to use form 8130-3 for approval for return to service … at least in the US. Does the bi-lateral agreement with EASA extend this Section 2 rule to repaired parts from a (non-part 145) PAH on EASA regulated airplanes?

    Thanks in advance,
    Adrian Alting-Mees

    Posted by Adrian Alting-Mees (@am_embed) | October 5, 2012, 2:44 pm
    • Thanks for your comment, Adrian.

      A review of the US-EC BASA MAG and BASA TIP will show that the EC acceptance of US rebuilds is largely focused on engines; however, the answer to your question turns on a number of facts that are not stated, so it is impossible to give you a precise answer.

      If you need a legal opinion on acceptability, then you and I should talk about having the law firm (Washington Aviation Group) address your concerns. Usually, the best way to approach a client concern is NOT to ask “does my fact pattern fit a particular solution.” I usually like to talk to potential clients about their end goal(s), and then try to find the law and policy that supports their desired end-state. This avoids the technically correct but less useful answers that state that one cannot do something, without explaining alternatives ways to accomplish exactly what the client wants to accomplish (and can accomplish using a different approach).

      If you want to pursue a discussion of your potential options, then please feel to give me a call or email me.

      Posted by Jason Dickstein | October 8, 2012, 10:58 am

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