The FAA is proposing changes to the Part 21 manufacturing rules. A number of these will impact PMA holders. It will be important for the PMA community to provide comments to this NPRM.
The proposed changes include:
Require each production approval holder to identify an accountable manager who would be responsible for, and have authority over, their production operations and serve as the primary contact with the FAA;
- Require each production approval holder to provide the FAA with a document describing how its organization will ensure compliance;
Permit each production approval holder to issue authorized release documents (8130-3 tags) for aircraft engines, propellers, and articles;
Permit production certificate holders to manufacture and install interface components;
Require production approval holders to ensure that each supplier-provided product, article, or service conforms to the production approval holder’s requirements;
Establish a supplier-reporting process for products, articles, or services that have been released from or provided by the supplier and subsequently found not to conform to the production approval holder’s requirements; and
Remove the requirement that fixed-pitch wooden propellers be marked using an approved fireproof method.
With respect to the new permission for PMA holders to issue 8130-3 tags, the FAA confirms that the intent is to permit manufacturers to issue the 8130-3 tags, although the NPRM appears to be missing an explicit authority to issue such a release. Instead, the NPRM as drafted requires a procedure for managing the 8130-3 tags process; but subpart L continues to require application to the FAA for issue of an 8130-3 tag. This is something that will need to be changed if the FAA is to successfully implement this provision.
If the proposal becomes a regulation, the rules would include a requirement for supplier control and a parallel requirement for ensuring conformity of supplier products. This appears to suggest that supplier control must be supplemented with 100% conformity verification of incoming supply; but more importantly it would also mean that non-conforming supplier-provided-parts would represent a regulatory violation even when they are caught in the PMA holder’s incoming inspection! This seems to be inappropriate.
The proposed rule is scheduled to be issued in tomorrow’s Federal Register. An advance copy is available online today at https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2014-04330.pdf.