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.