The U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) will host a National Aerospace Foreign Direct Investment Exposition (FDI Expo), October 26-28, in Los Angeles. This is right before the 2015 MARPA Conference in Las Vegas (and it is just a short flight from LAX to LAS).
This ITA event is designed to highlight opportunities in the U.S. aerospace manufacturing sector for foreign investment. Foreign investors will attend in order to learn about aerospace manufacturing investment opportunities.
The FDI Expo will be focused on offering resources to prospective investors, in an effort to entice them to establish or expand their presence in the United States. The event will feature one-on-one meetings with state and local economic development organizations. MARPA members seeking investment capital may wish to attend the ITA event before they join us at the MARPA Conference, in order to network with prospective investors.
I think many foreign investors would be surprised at just how good an investment the PMA industry can be.
For more information, see ITA’s Press Release.
This week, MARPA is at the MRO Latin America show to promote PMA. The meeting is being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Aerolineas is the flag carrier of Argentina. The carrier was formed in 1950 from the merger of four other air carriers. Today they have 69 aircraft. They expect to reach 73 soon with an expected delivery of four new A330s.
Forecasts continue to show Latin America as a leading growth area for aviation MRO. Latin America is expected to grow from 2226 aircraft to 4911 aircraft (commercial passenger and cargo) from 2010 to 2030, according to ICAO. This will reflect a growth from 10% of the global totals to 12% of the global totals.
Argentina has 119 Argentine MROs and another 52 foreign MROs certificated by Arentine Civil Aviation National Administration. 74 of the domestic MROs are in Buenos Aires and 6 of them focus on commercial aviation with the other 68 focused on General Aviation.
Aerolineas has a significant labor force focused on MRO. They have 1600 maintenance personnel working for the air carrier and their sister airline, Austral, has 520 maintenance personnel.
Aerolineas wants to generate partnerships with other air carriers, MROs and training organizations. They are building a new hanger in Buenos Aires and plan to expand their capabilities to support their fleet. The new hangar will have enough space to house an A380.
Aerolineos has been working to focus their fleet. Older types have been retired in favor of a more narrow fleet. The new fleet is focused on just four major types: A340-200/300, A330-200/300, B 737-700/800, and E190. They are retaining capabilities for other types, though, because they perform MRO services for other operators, including Tame, BahamasAir, and the Argentine President.
Fleet standardization means that there is less time spent on training for the maintenance personnel, which helps to Ake their team more efficient.
Today, the Aerolineas MRO is certified by ANAC, FAA and the Argentine military. As such, they seem like a prime target for PMA!
Don’t forget that the 2015 MARPA Winter Meeting will be held February 9, 2015. This is our annual “open Board meeting,” to which MARPA members are invited in order to participate in MARPA strategic planning.
EVENT: MARPA Winter Meeting
DATE: February 9, 2015
TIME: 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM
PLACE: 2233 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
COST: Free for MARPA Members
WHAT IS IT: The MARPA Winter Meeting is a strategic planning meeting attended by the Board and other members. We also typically meet with government officials from the FAA and other agencies.
WHO: Any MARPA member is welcome to attend. Please RSVP to Katt Brigham at (202) 628-6777 OR by using the response form, below. We have limited space, so please RSVP by January 26th so we can make appropriate plans for attendance.
WordPress.com has prepared statistical information about the MARPA blog …. click below for the 2014 annual report for this blog.
Interested in helping us produce content for the blog? We are always interested in additional writers with an interest in PMA. Contact us if you would like access to the blog in order to share useful information that benefits the MARPA community.
PMA manufacturers who are exporting their parts from the U.S. need to ensure that they remain in compliance with the U.S. export regulations. In addition to the BIS and DDTC regulations that apply to aircraft parts, exporters also need to remain in compliance with Treasury Department regulations.
Some of those Treasury Department regulations include lists of people and entities that you ought not to do business with. Every agency has multiple lists that you need to examine, but Treasury is doing something to consolidate its lists and make it easier to review them. This consolidation should make it easier to search to ensure compliance, whether you are searching on line or using a computer program to automatically research your business partners.
The Treasury Department office with jurisdiction over export programs is the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). OFAC has a list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) as well as other (non-SDN) sanctions lists. OFAC is now offering all of its non-SDN sanctions lists in a consolidated set of data files called the Consolidated Sanctions List. This consolidated list will include the following:
OFAC announced that it plans to discontinue some of these lists as separate lists, so they will only be available as part of the consolidated list.
Persons seeking to check whether there are OFAC sanctions that might apply to their transaction should be sure to check their export business partners (by personal name and company name) against the Specially Designated Nationals List and the Consolidated Sanctions List.
One can also use the Sanctions List Search which consolidates both lists into a single searchable database. This tool is useful because it can automatically search for names that are close (bot not exact matches) and can be set to find matches with different levels of confidence (which will then be reviewed by a human to assess whether they actually match).
Exporters should also check the details of their transaction (including destination country) against the Sanctions Programs and Country Information page, which list sanctions programs based on country and on certain other criteria.
Do you rely on a Designated Engineering Representative (DER) to approve data for your business? Do you use DMIRs for issuing 8130-3 tags? If you do, then you know how critical designees can be to the parts approval process. Often, though, designees are required by the FAA to do things that the FAA employees themselves are not permitted to do, like require paperwork that is not required by law or regulation (this can be a violation of the Paperwork Reduction Act), or impose standards of conduct that are not required by law or regulation (this can be a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act). When this happens, the designee has no choice but to obey the instructions from the FAA-Advisor … even if they would be illegal if undertaken by the FAA’s employees.
Want to make sure that designees are not used to do things that FAA employees can’t do (by law)? The be sure to take the time to offer comments to the FAA Designee Management Policy that is now out for comment. The FAA has issued for public comment a draft change to the guidance document affecting designees. Although only parts are changed, it is a potential opportunity to comment on the entire document.
The original guidance is called “Order 8000.95, Designee Management Policy.” It was first issued in April of 2014.
This guidance document provides a wide variety of guidance on how to manage FAA designees. It has not and does not appear to cancel FAA Order 8100.8 (Designee Management Handbook), although some of the guidance appears to address some of the same issues as that guidance (failure to cancel 8100.8 might have been an oversight).
As a practical matter, designees (who are the people most directly affected by this guidance) will not be able to write comments that are critical to this guidance. This is because designees can be terminated for cause or without cause, at the discretion of the FAA. So the FAA can terminate a designee for exercising his or her First Amendment freedoms (as long as they come up with any other pretext for the action, including a termination ‘not for cause’). Designees are well aware of this and they regularly self-censor their comments because of the chilling effect that the FAA’s discretionary termination power has had. In some cases, designees have contacted me because they know that I will protect their anonymity.
The real-world issue us that designees rely on their designation from the FAA to ply their trade. If they are terminated (for-cause or not-for-cause) then they cannot simply be a designee for someone else. They need to choose a entirely different career path. So the process for reviewing designee termination is very important. And both the current policy and the draft policy are woefully inadequate, because they offer no standards for review, so the FAA employees are able to rubber stamp any termination decision on review. Honest review depends 100% on the personal integrity of the reviewing personnel – and there is no formal training for the employees who act as reviewers in that process (by comparison, state court judges typically attend judicial training).
The FAA’s failure to have effective standards actually undermines the FAA’s own interests. One example arises in the context of designee termination. The lack of effective standards means that individual FAA employees can cause the termination of a designee for any reason, including a reason that would have been considered to be illegal if it was used to terminate an employee, as long as the party who initiates the termination offers a pretextual reason. There is no formal inquiry into such pretext – it is taken at face value – and the VERY short time period for presenting a defense means that it is tough to be effective in assembling a defense: the full appeal including all supporting evidence must be submitted within 15 days – while the designee is given the charges, he or she has no opportunity to review the FAA’s underlying evidence. In comparison, the appeals panel has 45 days to consider the appeal and then another 15 days to notify the designee of their decision for a total of 60 days. We have seen evidence that FAA inspectors will use this period to gather more evidence to refute the defense and bolster the ‘prosecution’ so clearly the FAA is not bound to any sort of deadline for presenting its own case.
There is plenty that could be improved in the designee management process.
This is a great opportunity to help the FAA to better manage the designee community using effective processes that ensure fairness for everyone. MARPA members should strongly consider reviewing and commenting on this draft guidance.
Comments are dues to the FAA by January 7. Please send comments to MARPA, as well, so we can sure that our comments reflect your concerns.
|How to Comment:||Deliver comments by mail or hand to:
1625 K Street NW
Washington DC, 20006Email comments to: Susan.email@example.com
Email CommentsFax comments to:
(202) 223-4615, Attn: Susan Hill
My comment on the cancellation of FAA Order 8100.8 failed to take into account FAA Notice 8000.372. That Notice directs all AIR manufacturing personnel who oversee designees to stop using Order 8100.8 and being using 8000.95 on a schedule. The schedule reflects the implementation of the Designee Management System (DMS) in those offices.
Under that schedule, all MIDOs with designee management responsibilities should have transitioned to Order 8000.95 during the summer (of 2014). So Order 8000.95 will have supplanted 8100.8 for MIDOS (but not necessarily for ACOs and FSDOs). This means that DMIRs and DAR-Fs have transitioned. But DERs should still be under 8100.8 until they are formally transitioned (at which time they will fall under the instructions of 8000.95).
Special thanks to William Denihan for pointing this out!
Have you ever been frustrated to learn that an AD went out that references a service bulletin, and (too late!) you later learned that the service bulletin made disparaging remarks or provided inappropriate directions about your company or your parts?
How do you prevent this situation? You need to get a copy of the service bulletin that is cross referenced by the AD, and review it before the AD rule becomes final. But sometimes no one will provide the service bulletin to you!
That just shouldn’t be the case. If an AD might indirectly affect you because of the cross referenced service bulletin, then you should be entitled to review the service bulletin before it becomes part of a regulation.
The U.S. government agrees!!
The U.S. Office of the Federal Register has published a new rule designed to make government rules more transparent. It accomplishes this by addressing incorporation-by-reference.
Incorporation-by-Reference (or IBR) is the term for regulations that make reference to some other document that is not published in the rule. Historically, incorporation-by-reference came about because it cost money to print the Federal Register, and wasting a lot of pages on a standard that could easily be obtained outside of the Federal Register. But today, most people access the regulations and the Federal Register on line, so there is not as much of a burden associated with publishing such documents. Incorporation-by-reference can be an issue for the public because when an incorporated document is merely technically available – but it is not really available – then this can make it difficult or impossible for an affected person to comply with the regulation (and can make it impossible for the affected person to even know that (s)he is subject to the regulation).
In short, unavailable-but-incorporated documents can reflect secret regulations that are impossible to comply with.
With this in mind, the Administrative Conference of the US began to study what could be done to update the rules to reflect modern technology. This ultimately led to the Office of the Federal Register looking into potential changes to the rules on incorporation-by-reference.
The aviation industry faces many challenges related to incorporation-by-reference. An issue that can be very important to MARPA’s members is the availability of referenced documents in Airworthiness Directives(ADs), like service bulletins. Service bulletin language can affect PMA parts, and can even disparage PMA parts in ways that are inappropriate.
Timely availability to the PMA community of these service bulletins can be a serious issue. It is typical for the FAA’s incorporation-by-reference statement to insist that the incorporated service bulletins be obtained either from the FAA office or from the OEM who published the document. In order to test this system, I emailed an FAA office and an OEM who were described as the sources of a service bulletin (the Federal Register listed the emails and listed this as an acceptable way to make contact). The FAA response was that I should go to the OEM. The OEM response was to ask me why I wanted the service bulletin. When I responded that the service bulletin was incorporated by reference in a proposed AD, and I wanted a copy of the service bulletin to determine whether the trade association needed to file comments on behalf of the membership, I received no further communication from the OEM. They just stopped responding to me.
MARPA filed comments on the Advance Notice for this proposal and offered a number of suggestions in 2012. MARPA also participated in face-to-face meetings with the government to discuss ways to improve the current system.
The result was a new rule that clarifies obligations related to regulations that incorporate standards by reference.
It is important that incorporated material be available in proposed rules so that the public can comment on the proposed rule with full knowledge fo the proposed rule’s impact. Under the new standards (1 C.F.R. 51.5(a)), the preamble to a proposed rule must :
When the agency is ready to publish a final rule with an IBR, the agency must do the following (1 C.F.R. 51.5(b)):
An important feature of the regulations is the requirement to discuss availability to “interested parties.” This is an expansion of the traditional language, which merely required availability to “the class of persons affected by the publication.” Interested persons should include persons who are indirectly affected (like those whose PMA parts MIGHT be affected in the case of an airworthiness directive) in addition to class of persons directly affected by the publication (which is generally operators).
The regulations continue to explain that IBR is limited to the edition that is incorporated. So if a subsequent revision of a service bulletin comes out, only the version that was approved by the Office of the Federal Register is the version that is IBRed (and not subsequent versions). 1 C.F.R. 51.1(f).
One sad omission was that the new rule does not define “reasonably available.” The Office of Federal Register was worried that a definition might be inappropriate, so they were hesitant to offer a definition, and instead they have left it to a case-by-case analysis as defined by each agency. But it seems certain that if you make a reasonable effort to obtain an IBRed service bulletin using the mechanism in the Federal Register, and you are denied, then you may have a claim that the service bulletin was not reasonably available.
While we did not get every change we requested, this nonetheless represents a good start on the process of providing better transparency in the situations of incorporation-by-reference.
The Statistics AC is going to be revised.
We have been working with the FAA to study the Advisory Circular (AC) 33-10, Statistical Analysis Considerations for Comparative Test and Analysis Based Compliance Findings for Turbine Engine and Auxiliary Power Unit Replacement, Redesign and Repaired Parts. We have pointed out a number of concerns with respect to this advisory circular in both our formal comments and in subsequent discussions with the FAA. These can be summarized as saying that the AC does not appear to get the FAA to where the FAA wants to be, and consequently will not appreciably contribute to safety.
The FAA has let us know that they will be rescinding the version of AC 33-10 that was published in late August. It must go through the internal FAA process so the rescission will not be immediate, but applicants should probably treat it as if it no longer existed because the text did not suit the FAA’s intended purposes.
This is not the end for statistics. The FAA still wants to provide useful guidance to the industry. But they have recognized that the current draft of the statistics AC is not what they want and have decided to take a step back and revisit the scope and intent of the AC. They plan to incorporate changes and solicit formal comments on the revised document in order to make sure that they meet their goal of creating a useful document that helps to move the industry towards our mutual safety goals. This will give everyone in the MARPA community an opportunity to contribute to the document.
This action reflects a joint efforts by the FAA and MARPA to understand the true impact of the guidance, and the rescission is a triumph of both good government and good industry efforts.
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.
The FAA has issued a new advisory circular for statistical analysis. This AC only applies to engine and APU parts.
The new advisory circular uses statistical analysis to arrive at correct sample sizes. This sample size formula is introduced for persons who are trying to correlate two populations of parts. MARPA had pointed out to the FAA that typically a PMA applicant does not correlate two different populations of parts – instead they derive the reasonable tolerances on one population of parts, and then design and produce within those tolerances. The FAA would like PMA applicants to arrive at their appropriate sample size, test the parts being reverse-engineered, and then produce an equivalent number of pre-PMA parts to test for the same properties (and then correlate the two populations). This is contrary to current FAA regulatory guidance, which requires the design to be approved and the requires the production quality system to ensure that parts are all produced within the approved design parameters. In essence, ACO engineers will now take control of the quality assurance system through the design process.
One of the problems with the AC is that it relied on statistical analysis for clinical trial sample size as the basis for assessing statistical analysis of reverse-engineering sample size. Clinical trials for pharmaceuticals typically rely on populations of hundreds or even thousands of people. Trying to test hundreds or thousands of parts in order to reverse-engineer them is simply not realistic. Furthermore, the degree of part-to-part difference under modern quality assurance systems does not support such large sample sizes.
For those cases where the equations in the advisory circular give a lower number for the appropriate sample size, the FAA has also established minimum sample sizes. The AC sets some minimum limits for the number of parts that must be tested in order to derive certain values (remember that you need that number of PC parts and also that number of reverse-engineered parts to meet the AC’s requirements):
Minimum Number of Parts to be Sampled
- For basic material properties that are more dependent on alloy constituency than on part manufacture process – 10 approved parts from three separate lots with at least three parts per lot
- For properties affected by how the material is processed during part manufacture such as high-cycle fatigue, low-cycle fatigue, creep, tensile strength, crack growth, etc. – 30 approved parts
- For fatigue testing – at least 25 tested parts that are run until they crack
- For parts exhibiting complex geometry or complex manufacturing variables, additional specimens may be required
- For parts considered to have a high degree of criticality, greater sample sizes may be required
No statistical basis is offered for these minimum sample sizes.
The new advisory circular provides guidance for statistical analysis of sample-size despite the fact that no regulation actually requires such a broad-based sample. The advisory circular appears to potentially change the regulations by increasing the burden on applicants. To the extent that this is true, it is inappropriate.
Our concern is that despite warnings that this is non-mandatory guidance, this guidance may be used as if it were a regulation, with offices refusing to accept PMA applications that are otherwise valid, but that failed to use this AC as a basis for identifying sample size.
If you find that this AC effectively changes the application obligations imposed on you as a PMA applicant, STC applicant, or other FAA-approval applicant, then please contact MARPA so we can raise this concern with the appropriate personnel at the FAA.
AC 33-10 is known by its full title: Statistical Analysis Considerations for Comparative Test and Analysis Based Compliance Findings for Turbine Engine and Auxiliary Power Unit Replacement, Redesign and Repaired Parts.