I have been watching the election results here in China (I am in China for an MRO & Aftermarket Conference in Shanghai). Before the election results began to roll-in, I flipped through the Chinese language channels and passed a news station that had a graphic of Donald Trump with a collection of speech bubbles. Every speech bubble was filled with the word “China” in English. I could not understand the newscasters, who spoke in Chinese, but it was clear that they were expressing concern over what a Trump victory could mean for China. This sentiment, in different forms, has been expressed to me by colleagues from both Asia and Europe, who wonder what President Trump could mean for international business.
This is a legitimate concern. CNN reported that trade was one of the three most important ‘exit poll’ issues that people think Donald Trump will be able to address as President (along with immigration and terrorism). As a candidate, President-elect Trump has expressed his desire to “tear-up” a number of international agreements, including NAFTA and the (as-yet unimplemented) Trans-Pacific Partnership.
But for our industry – for aviation – the level of concern should be a little different. International transactions involving aircraft and their parts are generally governed by the Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft (ATCA). No one is talking about eliminating this agreement. Part of the reason that this agreement is likely to be safety from the new Administration’s ‘red pen’ is because the US has always enjoyed a favorable aerospace trade balance.
ATCA expresses that aircraft and their parts will cross international borders free of tariffs. They will also pass free of technical barriers to trade (that is, technical regulations and standards will be non-discriminatory, will remain focused on safety, and will not create unnecessary obstacles to aviation trade).
So the agreements like NAFTA and TPP that permit free trade in goods are unnecessary to most of the aviation industry because so many aircraft parts are already insulated from the limits that NAFTA and TPP would proscribe for other goods.
There are parts that fall outside of the scope of the ATCA. You can see a discussion of these parts here. Some of these parts may still be subject to tariffs; and tariffs on these parts could have been lowered or eliminated by agreements like NAFTA and TPP. Repudiation of such agreements could lead to continuation or implementation of tariffs on these parts. But most aircraft parts remain within the tariff-protected category of ATCA.
Probably the biggest concern is not a legal issue, nor an issue of how the new Administration will pursue trade agreements with the US trading partners; rather the most significant issue will be the psychological fall-out of unrelated trade issues. If the US imposes restrictions on the import of unrelated Chinese goods, then this could adversely affect the desire of Chinese buyers to purchase aircraft parts from America. While this may not be a limit directly related to the regulatory policies of the new Administration, it reflects a real-world concern; but we can address this real world concern with real-world remedies.
The best way to address these concerns is to reach out to your trading partners – let them each know that you remain committed to the relationship – and let them know that you are going to work to ensure that your government remains open to your business relationships. Let them know that the new Administration will likely have significant affects on US policy; but it is less likely to affect aviation. In fact, the FAA Administrator serves a five-year term in order to better insulate the FAA Administrator from political concerns that might interfere with the FAA’s safety focus. Unlike the Assistant Administrators, who are political appointees, the FAA official in charge of safety regulations (and the bilateral agreements which affect trade) is a member of the Senior Executive Service. She is not subject to summary dismissal by the President. Because of this, the Trump Administration will be unlikely to immediately affect the FAA’s senior leadership that impact the way that the FAA handles international aircraft parts transactions. So ‘business as usual’ is a very real possibility.
MARPA will do its part, as well. We will continue to work with the US Commerce Department on policies that advance the interests of the community of FAA-approved aircraft parts producers. We will also continue to work with the FAA leadership on the technical and safety issues that can affect trade in civil aircraft parts. And we will continue to let our trading partners know that PMA parts are safe, FAA-approved components that can be trusted to keep aviation safe.
In the immortal words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t panic.”
A new regulation has changed the destination control statement (“DCS”) that is required on all exports of PMA aircraft parts.
PMA aircraft parts are typically exported under the jurisdiction of the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). If you export aircraft parts, then the BIS regulations require a DCS. These regulations have been changed to harmonize the DCS to the same language as the ITAR DCS.
Te DCS is placed on each export control document that accompanies an export shipment. The export control documents that are required to show this statement include the invoice, the bill of lading, the air waybill, and any other export control document that accompanies the shipment from its point of origin in the United States to the ultimate consignee or end-user abroad.
This is sometimes known as the ‘non-diversion statement’ because the current version includes language stating that “diversion contrary to U.S. law is prohibited.” The purpose of the DCS was to alert parties outside the United States that the item is subject to the US export regulations.
The rules have always held that compliance with the comparable ITAR requirement was an acceptable means of compliance where the shipment included both ITAR and EAR-controlled articles. The comparable ITAR requirement requires slightly different language. Many people nonetheless found the different language in each regulation to be confusing.
The Commerce Department has changed their DCS language to harmonize it with the ITAR-required-language. This is meant to make compliance easier. Starting on the implementation date of the rule (November 15, 2016), exporters of articles subject to BIS jurisdiction (those with ECCNs) should use the following destination control statement on all exports:
“These items are controlled by the U.S. Government and authorized for export only to the country of ultimate destination for use by the ultimate consignee or end-user(s) herein identified. They may not be resold, transferred, or otherwise disposed of, to any other country or to any person other than the authorized ultimate consignee or end-user(s), either in their original form or after being incorporated into other items, without first obtaining approval from the U.S. government or as otherwise authorized by U.S. law and regulations”
In addition, the DCS should show the Export Commodity Classification Number (ECCN) for any 9×515 or ‘600 series’ (nx6nn) items being exported.
There are exceptions to this DCS requirement for EAR 99 exports and also for exports under license exceptions BAG (baggage) and GFT (gift parcels and humanitarian donations), but typically these do not apply to exports of PMA aircraft parts.
For years MARPA has talked about opportunities that exist for PMA manufacturers willing to look for non-traditional customers. One of the most under-appreciated possibilities, and one that MARPA President Jason Dickstein has emphasized, is to act as a supplier to OEMs. OEMs are very often massive companies with a need for quality, reliable suppliers, and many MARPA members are ideally positioned to take advantage of OEM purchasing needs with high quality approved parts on the shelf and ready to ship.
The U.S. Department of Commerce is presenting a program on becoming a supplier to Embraer. Because many PMA companies are already manufacturing parts for Embraer aircraft, this may be an excellent opportunity to broaden your customer base for your Embraer parts.
The program will begin with a presentation made by Embraer representatives on how to initiate a relationship with Embraer. This presentation will be made by webinar on October 28, 2016. Participation in this introductory webinar is a mandatory part of the program, so if this is something your company may even be remotely interested in, you should plan to register and participate.
Interested companies will then be asked to fill out an online questionnaire from which Embraer engineers will evaluate companies and select suppliers for a second round of webinar discussions with Embraer’s engineering department. Embraer may then invite select companies for a further in-depth interview.
There is no cost to participate in this program, and it presents an opportunity to potentially expand parts sales. MARPA has often said that OEMs should be thought of as no different than air carriers from a customer perspective: they need parts, and we manufacture and sell great parts. This could be an excellent opportunity for MARPA members to diversify their customer base.
If this opportunity sounds like something your company may be interested in, you can register for the mandatory introductory webinar at the following link: http://2016.export.gov/california/losangelesdowntown/events/embraer/eg_us_ca_102435.asp.
As part of its ongoing drive to increase the export of U.S.-made PMA parts and increase global knowledge and understanding of PMA, MARPA has in the past few years traveled to Japan to speak with potential customers, government contacts, and manufacturing partners. MARPA is happy to announce that it will continue these efforts this year at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition 2016, in Tokyo, Japan, October 12-15.
We have worked closely with long-time MARPA member and MARPA supporter Akira “Jay” Kato of JK Tech Consulting to make valuable contacts in Japan and discuss PMA at a very high level with Japanese customers and government officials. These efforts include both explaining and educating air carriers and their purchasing groups about PMA, as well as, importantly, promoting the use of PMA by discussing the safety, value, and reliability PMA provides.
These efforts are one prong of MARPA’s ongoing MDCP efforts supported by the U.S. International Trade Administration.
MARPA hopes to continue to make valuable contacts in the Japanese aviation community, and particularly to make additional inroads on behalf of the PMA industry with customers in Japan.
While MARPA always enthusiastically promotes the benefits of PMA where ever it goes, we would like to be able to provide a more targeted benefit to our members. We would therefore like to offer to our members the opportunity to display your marketing literature in the MARPA booth at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition. This will allow us to direct visitors at the MARPA booth to those members who can best serve their needs or might be an ideal partner for future business.
If you would like to have your literature displayed in the MARPA booth this October in Tokyo, please contact Senior MARPA Program Manager Katt Brigham at email@example.com no later than September 30.
Many of our members have been communicating with us about their concerns over the proposed Materials AC. We had previously asked the PMA community to send us their comments and concerns so we could assemble them into a single missive to deliver to the FAA.
We’ve heard from a number of you that the large volume of material and the highly technical nature of the proposed AC has made it slow going to put together your comments. With this in mind, MARPA asked the FAA last week for a extension of time to file comments on this draft.
We received the answer today, granting that extension.
Dear Mr. Ryan Aggergaard,
This e-mail is in response to your request to grant a 90 day extension to comment on the FAA public draft Advisory Circular 33.15-3, titled “Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) Metallic Part Material Compliance Using Comparative Test and Analysis Method for Turbine Engines or Auxiliary Power Units”.
The FAA will consider comments after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay.
We have determined there will be no incurring expense or delay, and will grant the MARPA members and the MARPA Technical Committee an extension from July 20, 2016, to October 18, 2016.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Please do not wait until October to review this AC and develop your comments. The earlier you can provide your comments and concerns to the FAA (and to MARPA), the better able we will be to address them in a positive and productive way with the FAA.
As our members know, MARPA has been working over the past two years with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) under its Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP). Under the MDCP the ITA provided MARPA a $300,000 matching grant to help MARPA promote PMA around the world with the ultimate goal of increasing exports of U.S.-made PMA parts, with the additional benefit of potentially adding U.S. jobs.
One of the conditions of MARPA’s receipt of the MDCP grant is that we are required to report back to ITA on the increase in exports our members are seeing. These reports allow the ITA to demonstrate the results of the program to Congress and keep open the funding to support increasing U.S. exports in various industries around the world.
This requirement is why we need our members’ help. We need to hear from you to know if MARPA’s efforts are working, and if the PMA industry is seeing an increase in export sales. MARPA therefore needs your help in gathering data on new exports of PMA parts.
MARPA is always sensitive to its members’ business needs, so we want to assure you that any information provided to us will be kept confidential, and the only information that is shared with ITA will be the country of export and the value of the export, and no other sensitive business information or data.
We are asking that our members fill out the export survey found by following this link. MARPA needs to know the following information: for any exports that are traceable to a MARPA effort under the MDCP–the MARPA Europe Conference, the domestic MARPA Annual Conference, MARPA’s presence and promotion at trade shows around the world–to what country was the export (or contract for future sales), and what was the value of the export or future export?
That’s it! Just country and dollar value. We don’t need to know your customer’s name, the specific parts or product type involved, or any other detail. Even your company’s name will be kept anonymous unless you expressly tell us to release it to ITA.
If you wish to provide MARPA additional information so that we can better focus our efforts, of course we welcome it. But we only need for the sake of our MDCP requirements a report on export country and dollar value.
Please help MARPA fulfill its obligations to ITA under the MDCP. The ITA was generous in supporting MARPA with this grant so that we can increase our efforts to expand the global PMA market. MARPA needs to make good on its requirement to report back on our efforts and help ITA keep this valuable program going!
If you have questions about MARPA’s reporting obligations under the MDCP or wish to report export data directly rather than by using the survey form, feel free to email VP of Government and Industry Affairs Ryan Aggergaard directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. MARPA sincerely thanks our members in advance for their help!
MARPA had the opportunity this week to attend the 2016 FAA-EASA International Aviation Safety Conference that was held in Washington, DC. The conference provides an opportunity for the regulatory agencies and industry to get together to discuss emerging issues in aviation safety and strengthen the cooperation between both the regulators themselves as well as the regulators and industry.
One notable panel discussed performance-based regulations (PBR) and their development, implementation and oversight as a part of the ongoing safety management adoption. The goal of PBR is essentially to retain the high level requirements and clearly establish what those high-level regulations are trying to achieve, while clearing out more detailed prescriptive regulations. Those detailed regulations would then be replaced by industry consensus standards.
In theory, this should clear the way for innovation by focusing more on ensuring a satisfactory outcome (that complies with the regulations) is the result, rather than focusing on prescriptive compliance-based rules. (How this exactly squares with a safety management system focused on systems and processes rather than the outcome per se is a conversation for another day.) Performance-based regulations can free the hands of regulated parties and avoid the trap of innovation stagnation in which companies are forced to design or produce in only limited ways in order to comply with the regulations.
Although moving to a PBR approach may be a laudable goal, the next panel demonstrated how challenging it may be for regulators to break free of deeply ingrained compliance-based approaches to oversight. Relevant to PMA manufacturers, the “fast-moving technologies” panel spent a significant amount of time discussing certification of projects using additive manufacturing techniques.
In theory, a PBR approach would be ideal for approving parts manufactured using emerging technology like additive manufacturing (AM). If a part can be produced using AM techniques (like 3D printing) that meets all the design requirements (dimensions, material composition, durability, etc) of a part that is traditionally machined, an outcome-focused approach like PBR claims to be should have no problem approving that part. Conversely, if a 3D printed part cannot be made to conform to the approved design, our quality assurance systems reject the part and we go back to the drawing board.
However, it became clear during that panel that we can expect to see more of the same compliance based review of processes in seeking to obtain approval of parts manufactured using emerging technologies like AM. Of course to borrow from Captain Renault I was shocked, SHOCKED to find that the OEM panelist expressed skepticism that “sub-tier” suppliers or those in the aftermarket were capable of producing approved parts using these methods. But of greater concern was his statement that the regulators might also question that ability.
Part of this concern on the part of the regulators arises from the fact that the regulators themselves do not fully understand technologies like AM yet. The FAA is currently working with industry to determine what controls will need to be in place and what the oversight requirements will be with respect to AM. It will therefore be very important for any PMA manufacturer seeking to use new techniques to manufacture parts to engage the FAA early in the process and demonstrate to the FAA its competence with the technique. This may involve educating the FAA in some cases (and refuting the implications of some larger OEMs that only they know the “special sauce” of new technology).
This much was supported by FAA AIR-1 Dorenda Baker, when she explained that the key to getting approval when relying on new technology is ensuring an understanding on both sides. The FAA needs to be brought into the process very early on. When the FAA is brought in at the last minute, problems and confusion can arise, because what might seem clear to the applicant, who has been working with the technology for months or even years, can seem confusing to the regulator seeing it in action for the first time. Ms. Baker explained that we don’t want questions being asked for the first time, or engineers trying to understand new processes, at the time of certification. We, as applicants relying on new manufacturing techniques, need to engage the FAA early and often.
Of course this is somewhat inconsistent with a performance-based approach. As we mentioned above, if the goal of PBR is to ensure an outcome that satisfies high-level regulations, it should be less important how we get to the result than that we obtain a satisfactory result. A need on behalf of the regulator to understand fully the processes by which we obtain the result is more consistent with systems oversight (their stated goal) but doesn’t square perfectly with a PBR approach.
Nonetheless, it thus becomes clear that the PMA industry will have to fight this battle of fast moving technology on two fronts: First, we will have to (again) battle against an OEM-driven (mis)perception that only OEMs are capable of understanding and safely applying emerging technologies like additive manufacturing. Second, we will have to work very closely with the regulators to continuously demonstrate our competence and expertise in applying these technologies, and in effectively implementing systems that consistently produce the desired outcome.
There is a lot happening right now; from fundamental shifts in the role regulators play to the way we design and manufacture parts. By frequently engaging with the regulators we are able demonstrate our competence and abilities (simultaneously refuting any implications by competitors to the contrary) and keep the regulators closely engaged so that the certification process moves smoothly and we are able to nimbly adapt to changes as they happen.
MARPA will continue to keep you updated as old regulations change and new regulations emerge.
As readers of this blog and attendees at MARPA events know the FAA, specifically the Engine and Propeller Directorate, has been releasing a significant number of PMA-related advisory circulars of late. Currently open for comment is AC 33.15-3 Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) Metallic Part Material Compliance Using Comparative Test and Analysis Method for Turbine Engines or Auxiliary Power Units. This is a highly complex draft advisory circular that has the potential to affect many MARPA members and the PMA industry as a whole.
MARPA plans on submitting comments on this advisory circular, but we need the assistance and expertise of the MARPA community to make sure we identify all the possible issues that may have an adverse effect on the PMA industry.
I know that some of our members have already looked at this and have begun to identify issues. For those who have not yet had the opportunity, please take the time to review the draft language and identify any issues and possible solutions you see. Please provide any comments you identify to MARPA so that we can include them in our comments that we will submit to the FAA.
The AC is fairly lengthy document, so it may take some time to get through. Because of this complexity, we would like to have all of your comments in well in advance of the July 20, 2016 comment due date. MARPA therefore requests that any comments you identify are provided to us as quickly as possible, and in any case no later than July 8. This should give us ample time to compile all of your comments into a single comment submission on behalf of the members. It will also give us time to circulate our comments back to both the MARPA Technical Committee and MARPA Board for review.
This is a complex and weighty document, so if you plan on reviewing and submitting comments to MARPA or submitting comments on behalf of your company, we encourage you not to wait until the last minute to review the draft AC.
Please email your comments to VP of Government and Industry Affairs Ryan Aggergaard at email@example.com.
GECAS’ Gilberto Peralta turned some heads at CCMA yesterday when he said that he sees no safety or technical issues with PMAs. He explained that his only objections to PMAs are commercial.
Peralta is the GECAS General Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean. ALTA representatives confirmed that GECAS is the most significant leasing company in South America. Peralta was part of the CCMA panel discussing the technical and commercial aspects of PMA parts.
He explained that GECAS’ standard lease agreement excludes PMAs, and therefore he expects that the lease terms will control the use of PMAs. He explained that the reason for this term is because of a fear that air carriers will not accept a leased aircraft with installed PMAs. Several operators in the audience suggested that their only impediment to accepting PMAs is the anti-PMA lease terms. David Linebaugh of Delta, who was also part of the same panel, suggested that this is a chicken-and-the-egg situation, in which operators and lessors blame one another for erecting walls against PMA when they really all just need to get out of the way of progress.
The audience asked Peralta whether GECAS would accept use of PMAs during the term of the lease if those PMA parts were removed and replaced in pars manufacture under a production certificate (“OEM” parts). Peralta explained “I don’t know what you do with the the aircraft during the lease term,” and expressed that his concern was only with the condition of the aircraft at the time of return. He added that he would expect the lessee to take responsibility for such PMA part failures. Mike Garcia of HEICO, who was also part of the panel, explained that HEICO offers a generous warranty to support its parts (so operator liability should not be an issue); but he also noted that HEICO has never experienced an airworthiness directive or service bulletin on any of its articles.
FAA Deputy Associate Administrator John Hickey was also on hand as part of the same panel. He noted that the FAA has issued a very small number of airworthiness directives against PMA parts, but that the FAA issues “two hundred, three hundred, even four hundred ADs per year” against PC holders products and articles. He noted that the PMA community has an excellent safety record, and that the FAA has rigorous design approval and production approval processes intended to ensure that FAA approved designs – and the parts created under them – remain compliant with the FAA’s regulatory safety standards.
The FAA has released a Draft Policy Statement related to Order 8110.42D that is directly applicable to the PMA community. PS-AIR-21-1601 – FAA Order 8110.42D, Parts Manufacturer Approval Procedures – Use of Parts Manufacturer Approvals (PMA) for Minor Modifications to Products establishes FAA policy for “the gray area when a modification to a product does not rise to the level of a major change . . . and the producer of the modification article wishes to sell it in accordance with 14 CFR 21.9.”
The Draft Policy explains that historically there was not a consistent policy for issuing PMAs when the PMA made a modification that did not rise to the level of a major change under the regulations. Confusion existed as to whether a STC was appropriate for a modification article that did not constitute a major change to type design.
The Draft Policy clarifies the FAA’s position that:
PMA is a suitable method to approve an article, and provide for that article’s installation, in cases where the installation would not constitute introduction of a major change in a product’s type design.
The policy goes on to explain that the applicant must be able to identify the change resulting from installation of the article and justify it as not being a major change to the product and have the project ACO’s agreement.
On balance this looks like a positive policy for the PMA industry, clarifying modification PMAs that do not constitute a major change to a product’s type design can be approved through the PMA process and not require a STC. However we would still like to hear from our members to determine if there are any unintended consequences of this policy or ways in which the policy can be made more clear.
Comments on this policy statement are due May 1, 2016, so please email Ryan Aggergaard at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any concerns about this policy or potential effects on the PMA industry.