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MARPA Joins Industry Groups Securing Reissuance of FAA Notice 8900.380 Policy

On August 2 MARPA joined a petition signed by 12 other industry groups seeking the extension of FAA Notice 8900.380.  This effort was spearheaded by the Aviation Suppliers Association (“ASA”), the trade association that represents aircraft parts distributors. The policy serves to formalize a repair station’s ability to receive, inspect, and approve for return to service new articles that are not accompanied by an 8130-3 tag. Yesterday, the FAA responded to the petition by agreeing to reissue the policy for another year.

The FAA-EASA Maintenance Annex Guidance revision 6 (“MAG 6”) made the 8130-3 tag a requirement for new parts received into a dual-certificated repair station, even though the 8130-3 tag is not required by the regulations. Not only was this requirement contrary to the actual regulations, it also had the effect of making it difficult for distributors to sell many new parts received from a PAH, and for repair stations to receive new parts released from a PAH, because many PAH’s do not issue 8130-3 tags for new parts (something that is also not required under the regulations).

Notice 8900.380 provided a temporary solution to this issue by ensuring industry knew that repair stations could receive and inspect new parts within their ratings without an 8130-3 tag.  This was particularly important for low-dollar value parts for which obtaining a tag from a designee was economically infeasible.  This solution is expected to be permanently memorialized in MAG 7, but with only weeks before the expiration of the Notice no draft of MAG 7 has yet appeared on the horizon, and so a different solution was required. Notice 8900.380 was scheduled to expire on August 26 before a permanent solution to this tag problem was reached.

In order to support industry the FAA responded to the petition initiated by ASA and signed by MARPA by reissuing the policy in the form of Notice 8900.429.  This notice continues the policy established by Notice 8900.380 for another year, until August 9, 2018.  Hopefully this will give the FAA, EASA, and industry time to develop a permanent solution to the 8130-3 problem created by MAG 6 and memorialize that solution in MAG 7.

MARPA is thankful to ASA for leading this effort, as it allows our members–and the PMA community generally–to continue operating our business in the ways we deem most effective, whether we choose to issue 8130-3 tags with our parts or not. Implementing the optional procedures to issue 8130-3 tags described in 14 C.F.R. § 21.137(o) comes with inherent costs, and so it is valuable to not have that requirement forced onto PMA manufacturers by a de facto requirement arising from MAG 6.

You can read the full Notice 8900.429 here.

Opportunity to Consult with a non-US Government on Certification

If you consider yourself a certification expert in mechanical flight controls or ULDs, then we may have a tremendous consulting opportunity for you.

MARPA has been contacted by a non-US authority that is seeking certification experts specialized in the following subjects:

  • Mechanical flight control system, landing gear with wheel and brake, engine mount for STC of the EC155B1 helicopter;
  • Testing of pallets and containers per SAE AS36102 in accordance with the TSO-C90 (Cargo Pallets, Nets and Containers (Unit Load Devices/ULDs)).

The non-US authority wishes to hire the certification experts for a 3-4 month engagement.  They expect the engagement to include

  • two onsite consultations for 4 days (seminar, Q&A, OJT, site visit, and so on);
  • Questions and answers via emails during the consulting period.

We were contacted because we have worked with this government in the past (and we’ve really enjoyed working with them).  If you are interested, then please contact Katt Brigham (by August 18th) and she will be happy to share the details with members of the MARPA community.

MARPA Extends its Partnership with ITA

MARPA is happy to announce that it has extended its partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration through the Market Development Cooperator Program (“MDCP”) for another year. The extension of our partnership means MARPA can continue to draw upon the expertise and wide network of contacts the ITA can bring to bear, and in exchange will continue to report export data to ITA, honoring the commitment MARPA made at the beginning of the MDCP relationship.  Although there will be no additional direct funds from ITA as a result of the extension, the support and resources ITA staff will continue to offer will be invaluable to MARPA’s continued PMA promotional efforts going forward.

As readers of this blog know, MARPA was awarded an MDCP award of $300,000 in late 2014 for a program to promote the export of PMA parts to certain international markets of emphasis. These markets included Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific region.  In exchange for this award, MARPA agreed to put up $900,000 in cash and in-kind contributions in support of its new initiatives as well as collect export data from participating companies and report it to ITA to validate the MDCP program. (The obligation to report data is an import condition of receiving the MDCP funds and helps ITA justify this program to Congress to promote U.S. exports.)  The vast majority of MARPA’s contribution was of the “in-kind” sort, primarily arising from the labors of MARPA staff in organizing conferences and participating in trade shows to promote PMA.

MARPA’s MDCP award has already borne fruit. The matching award has allowed MARPA to establish a second conference: the MARPA EMEA Conference. The conference was held in three different locations in the past three years: Istanbul, Madrid, and Dublin, and has resulted in new customer contacts for attendees, and generated new business for a number of U.S. companies.  The conference has been such a success that even though the MDCP funds have been depleted, MARPA has determined that the conference will be held again in 2018, when we return to Dublin to build on our success generating new customers and engaging the leasing community.  MARPA’s long-term goal is to make the MARPA EMEA Conference an annual event that people attend every year, much like the MARPA Annual Conference in the U.S. (Orlando, FL, October 25-26, 2017).

The MDCP award also allowed MARPA to participate in several trade shows around the world that we would otherwise not have had the resources to reach.  These have included events in Europe, the UAE, Japan, Singapore, China, and South and Central America.  MARPA is working internally to determine the value proposition of  our continued participation in these events. If our members believe there are events MARPA should be at to promote PMA, we would love to hear from you.

As we continue our cooperative efforts with ITA, MARPA will continue to need your help. We need our members to provide us with export data that we can report to ITA as part of our MDCP obligation.  ITA keeps all this information confidential and are well versed in protecting sensitive information and trade secrets. However, MARPA is happy to report trade information anonymously if you prefer.  But we need your help to provide us with export data so that we can honor our commitment to ITA.  Your export data will also help MARPA better craft its conference agendas to offer the best and most helpful programming possible. Our goal is to help our members export more PMA parts to the world.

We look forward to continuing our relationship with ITA, and we look forward to seeing all of you at future MARPA events!

Questions or suggestions about the conferences? Contact Senior Program Manager Katt Brigham at katt@washingtonaviation.com.

Export data to report or questions about reporting? Email VP of Government and Industry Affairs Ryan Aggergaard at ryan@washingtonaviation.com.

MARPA to Return to Dublin in 2018!

Mark your calendars!  After a successful third annual MARPA EMEA Conference, MARPA has decided to return to Dublin, Republic of Ireland to continue building upon the success we have made in engaging the leasing community and expanding the use of PMA across Europe and the Middle East.  MARPA has chosen to return to Ireland and hold its fourth annual MARPA EMEA Conference April 30 – May 1, 2018 at the Hilton Dublin Kilmainham hotel.

MARPA knows our members are busy and that there are many conferences fighting for your time and attendance.  We are therefore continuing with our pattern of running a very efficient two-day conference with a great networking reception on Monday, April 30, and a full and informative general session on Tuesday, May 1, with plenty of opportunities to network throughout the day.

Locating the MARPA EMEA Conference in Dublin allows for easy travel from the United States and Europe, and the efficient two-day event also allows members traveling from the U.S. to tie in visits to existing customers and potential customers across Europe after the event concludes. (Attendees have also taken advantage of event in the past to enjoy a little time off with their families afterward.)

MARPA looks forward to continuing our discussions with the aircraft leasing companies that call Ireland home, and working with our air carrier friends and friends in government to continue the promotion and global acceptance of PMA.  The MARPA EMEA Conference reliably produces an excellent ratio of customers to suppliers and provides ample opportunities to both expand current business and develop new business with customers you might not see anywhere else.

Visit the MARPA EMEA Conference page to learn more, and check back often as we add speakers to the agenda.

Are there speakers or topics you would like to see addressed?  Email your recommendations to MARPA Senior Program Manager Katt Brigham at katt@washingtonaviation.com so that we can provide you the most valuable conference agenda we can.

New FAA Guidance Could Affect Parts Related to Engines and APUs: Open for Comment

The FAA has published for public comment a draft advisory circular on “Uncontrollable High Engine Thrust/Power (UHT) Failure Conditions.”

The draft AC interprets 14 C.F.R. § 25.901(c) to require that the safety analysis include an analysis of UHT failures.  Under this new interpretation, when PMA parts potentially affect the powerplant or the APU, or if they affect the interface between airframe and engine/APU, it appears that the FAA may ask future applicants to meet 25.901(c).  Potentially, this could be applied to each aircraft on which the engine or APU is eligible for installation.

The regulation being interpreted currently reads as follows:

c) For each powerplant and auxiliary power unit installation, it must be established that no single failure or malfunction or probable combination of failures will jeopardize the safe operation of the airplane except that the failure of structural elements need not be considered if the probability of such failure is extremely remote.

This new interpretation appears to be a burden that was not anticipated at the time that the regulation was promulgated.  Subsection (c) was originally promulgated in 1970, and originally merely required that the 25.1309 analysis be performed (the preamble to the final rule clarified that this was sufficient). In 1970, the analysis was supposed to be an installation fault analysis.  The rule was changed in 1977 in order to “provide for a higher degree of airplane-engine compatibility.”  But the UHT issue appears to be unrelated to airplane-engine compatibility, so requiring this as an element of the 25.901(c) analysis seems like an expansion of what the regulation was designed to require.  Such an expansion of scope typically requires an amendment to the the regulation.

Moreover, it appears that the FAA has anticipated that the burden of this new analysis might be unreasonable, and therefore they have specifically invited design approval applicants to petition for exemption from this provision (the invitation exists within the body of the draft AC).

Do you see any impact to your PMAs (current or future)?  How does this affect your business?  Let us know so that MARPA’s comments on this policy can reflect your interests.

Comments on this draft AC are due to the FAA by September 4, 2017.  We would appreciate your comments to MARPA by August 28, so we can reflect them in our own comments.

New FAA Guidance on Propeller PMA Parts – Open for Comment

The FAA has published a draft policy statement on PMAs for critical propeller parts.  The draft policy statement is entitled “Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) for Propeller Critical Parts and Category 1 Propeller Parts.”  If this policy effects you, then we need to know your opinion before we file the MARPA comments on this draft policy!

The essence of the proposed policy appears to be:

  • Defines a set of parts subject to enhanced oversight that includes:
    1. Critical propeller parts identified by § 35.15 Safety analysis
    2. Parts identified as critical in FAA Order 8110.42D
    3. Category 1 parts defined in FAA Order 8120.23A [this could have the effect of applying critical parts requirements to parts that are not critical under the FAA regulations]
    4. Parts with airworthiness limitations
  • Defines certain parts as presumptively critical:
    • Certain blades, hubs, and counterweights
    • Certain primary load path blade retention parts, such as ferrules and blade clamps
    • Certain metallic blade erosion shields
    • Certain blades and counterweights
    • Certain blade pitch change pins
    • Certain pitch change links, yokes, and forks
    • Pitch change system parts:
      • Pressure cylinder, piston, actuator, seals, and springs
      • Beta feedback rods
      • Low and high pitch stops
      • Oil transfer tubes
    • All parts of the propeller control system:
      • Governors
      • Propeller control units
      • Propeller electronic controls
      • Propeller servo valves
  • Requires that an applicant seeking to PMA parts subject to enhanced oversight must coordinate the application with the certificate management ACO (for the type certificate) and the Engine and Propeller Directorate
  • Imposes on the PMA applicant a series of life management obligations for parts subject to the policy:
    1. The PMA applicant is responsible for determining if the part has been life assessed;
    2. A part specific certification plan is required for life assessed critical PMA propeller part(s);
    3. The part specific certification plan must include a fatigue life methodology that supports a continued airworthiness life management program (this appears to be something potentially more than the service management process required by the regulations).
    4. When managing propeller critical parts and category 1 propeller parts, the applicant must provide a program to monitor those parts and establish a life management program.

One concern is that a major propeller effect (as defined in 14 C.F.R. 35.15(g)(2)) is different from a hazardous propeller effect (as defined in 14 C.F.R. 35.15(g)(1)).  Only parts whose failures result in hazardous propeller effects are propeller critical parts under 14 C.F.R. 35.15(c).  And only propeller critical parts are required to meet the integrity establishment requirements of 14 C.F.R. 35.16.  But the policy document establishes additional classes of parts that will be subject to section 35.16.  Some parts with major propeller effects (as defined in 14 C.F.R. 35.15(g)(2)) could also be characterized as category 1 parts under FAA Order 8120.23A.  This policy memo appears to subject those parts to an inappropriate requirement by conflating them with propeller critical parts and requiring that they comply with the integrity establishment requirements of 14 C.F.R. 35.16.  This appears to be a potential de facto change to the regulations.

What do you think?  Do you have category one parts whose failure only reflects a major propeller effect and not a hazardous propeller effect?

Do you see any different impact?  Anything we’ve missed?  How does this affect your business?  Let us know so that MARPA’s comments on this policy can reflect your interests.

Comments on this draft are due to the FAA by August 31, 2017.  We would appreciate your comments to MARPA by August 24.

Bob Cook to Retire from the FAA

Bob Cook from the FAA will be retiring after this week.  You may not know the name but you certainly know his work.

He has been involved in a tremendous amount of rulemaking and policy making efforts at the FAA.  The one that sticks in my mind is 14 C.F.R. 21.137.  Bob was part of the team tasked with coming up with a modern vision of quality assurance.  It would have been very easy to create a subjective rule that was vague and made compliance difficult; instead, 14 C.F.R. 21.137 very clearly establishes objective criteria expected in a modern quality assurance system.

How did  14 C.F.R. 21.137 come into being?  Bob once told me that they put together a wish list of quality system elements, and then he led a chopping block exercise in which they asked for each element (1) what safety value does it provide and (2) does the FAA really need to regulate this element?  This exercise allowed them to remove many elements that were nice to have, but that were not necessary and therefore did not need to be part of the regulation.  The result was a quality assurance regulation that serves as a model for the entire global industry.  It is the sort of regulation that no one complains about – no one thinks it is overbearing and no one thinks it falls short of what it should address.  That is a rare sort of regulation, indeed.  This was the sort of reasonable approach to regulation that we always expected from Bob Cook.

Bob sent an email announcing his retirement.  It read (in part):

To all those that I have worked with over this last 17 years in the FAA and 40+ in the aviation industry:

I will be retiring on June 23rd.  I wish to thank each of you for helping to make my time at the FAA both enjoyable and rewarding.  I have stated many times that this has been the best job I ever had, and I truly meant it.  The managers and the management team I worked for (while being frustrating at times) provided me with every opportunity to learn and progress within the organization.

To those that I had the pleasure of working with on aviation issues I want to thank you for all the time, effort and concern you placed on the continuous improvement of quality within our industry.  Your openness to share quality improvements and working, as an industry, through organizations such as the IAQG, AAQG, AIA, GAMA, and MARPA to establish quality standards and a quality system oversight processes that are used internationally, is one of the greatest achievements of which I had the pleasure to be involved.

* * *

After 40+ years of working in the aviation industry I expect it will be hard for me to just walk away so you may see me commenting on rulemaking as a concerned citizen.  If you do, I hope to see a better response than “Thank you for your interest in aviation safety”.  I will miss working with you on issues that makes our aviation industry the safest and most respected in the world.

* * *

Bob Cook
Very Soon to be a Private Citizen

We will miss his attention to detail, his willingness to listen, and his commitment to safety.

If anyone wants to send Bob a thank-you or goodbye message, then he is still in the office this week, and his email is Robert.cook@faa.gov.

Southwest Airlines Sr. Director of Supply Chain Management-Technical Operations Requa to Keynote at MARPA Conference

PeterRequaMARPA is extremely pleased to announce that  Peter Requa, Senior Director of Supply Chain Management-Technical Operations for Southwest Airlines, will serve as the Keynote Speaker for the 2017 MARPA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida from October 25th -26th at the B Resort & Spa.

Peter has responsibility for Strategic Sourcing teams for purchase of maintenance materials and overhaul services for engines, component and airframe.   He is also responsible for Material Planning, Technical Purchasing, Repair Administration, and Inventory Management in support of Southwest’s 700+ aircraft.

Peter began his career with United Airlines in 1988 at the San Francisco Maintenance Operations Center where he last held the position of Manager-Capital Planning.   In 1998 he joined Reno Air, and following the acquisition by American Airlines in 2000, joined AirTran Airways as Director of Operations Administration overseeing Material Planning, Operations Financial Planning, Stores, Repair Administration, and Ground Support Equipment Maintenance.   Following the acquisition of AirTran airways he made the transition to Southwest Airlines in 2011.

In its 46th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 54,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest proudly operates a network of 101 destinations in the United States and nine additional countries with more than 3,900 departures a day during peak travel season.

Southwest Airlines is the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 737, was the launch customer of the 737-300, 737-500, and -700, and will be the launch customer of the 737 MAX 7.

Southwest Airlines  is one of many air carriers attending the MARPA Conference.  The 2017 MARPA Annual Conference provides an excellent opportunity for our members to meet and network with their customers. It is also an opportunity to continue the ongoing discussion about the benefits and value of PMA parts.   More Conference information is available online here.

 

 

Standard Parts Do Not Need PMA (but it can be an option)

A consultant recently told me that his client is planning to produce parts under NASM22529.  He asked for advice about the process for showing compliance to get a PMA.

NASM22529 is an AIA/ NAS standard.  It replaced a milspec of the same number that was retired in 1996.  As an AIA (NAS) specification, it is recognized as the sort of industry specification that supports ‘standard parts’ under the FAA’s interpretation of the term.

Standards parts can be manufactured and sold without a PMA.  The regulatory authority for this can be found at 14 C.F.R. § 21.9(a)(3).  Therefore a PMA is not necessary in order to produce standard parts intended to be consumed in civil aviation.

While it is not necessary to seek FAA approval to manufacture a standard part,it is nonetheless possible to get a PMA for a standard part, and in some cases (like fasteners) it can also be possible to obtain a TSOA for a standard part.

There are a number of reasons why someone might seek to obtain FAA approval for a standard part.  This sort of FAA approval can be valuable for marketing purposes.

If you seek FAA approval for a part, then the design of the part must be shown to meet the appropriate FAA standards, and the production quality assurance system must be developed to meet FAA requirements.

The same consultant also asked whether AS9100 certification satisfies all or most of the PMA requirements?  The AS9100 series of specifications were specifically designed to support compliance to aviation regulatory standards, but compliance with AS9100 should not be confused with compliance to FAA regulations.  The answer to this question can depend on the implementation of the AS9100 system.

AS9100 will typically satisfy requirements under 14 C.F.R. § 21.137, as well as certain other requirements, but it may does not satisfy all FAA approval requirements (A well-developed AS9100 system can be developed to provide management assurance of compliance with all of the relevant FAA requirements but it can also be developed to omit some of them).

The design side of the manufacturing process is a process that is particularly susceptible to a finding that the AS9100 system is not adequate, alone, to ensure compliance to FAA regulations.

Looking to learn more about PMAs?  You may want to consider attending the MARPA Conference in Orlando on October 25-26, 2017.  The FAA has confirmed that they will be teaching a “PMA 101” workshop as part of the Conference.  You can find out more at http://pmaparts.org/annualconference/about.shtml

Manufacturing Receiving Inspection is Not the Sort of “Inspection” that requires Drug and Alcohol Testing Under DOT Standards

Are manufacturers required to drug test their receiving inspectors?  A recent FAA legal interpretation explains that receiving inspectors typically are not subject to the DOT drug and alcohol testing rules.

The FAA has issued a legal interpretation that confirms that receiving inspectors who are receiving articles for stock are not performing maintenance activities, and therefore they are not among the personnel who are required to be subject to DOT-regulated drug and alcohol testing.

This effort was spearheaded by our industry colleagues at ARSA, but the final request for interpretation was jointly filed by 15 organizations (including MARPA).

The root of the issue is that the Part 120 requirements require air carriers to ensure that their maintenance subcontractors are tested under the drug and alcohol rules. This requirement is applied to those who perform aircraft maintenance duties – but those who do not perform such duties are not subject to the testing requirement.  Inspection is described as a species of maintenance in the FAA’s definitions.

So what about manufacturers who produce in support of an air carrier’s maintenance efforts?  Are their receiving inspectors performing maintenance when they inspect incoming articles?

The FAA explained:

14 CFR part 43 applies to the performance of maintenance and preventative maintenance. Sections 43.9 and 43.11 establish recordkeeping requirements for tasks associated with maintenance and preventative maintenance. These recordkeeping requirements have never been applied to tasks associated with receiving articles for stock. Individuals who perform receiving tasks ensure that there is no visible damage to the packaging or the enclosed items, and that the articles were obtained from an approved or acceptable source. Persons performing these tasks compare part numbers, serial numbers, quantity, etc. with the purchase order and confirm that the items match the purchase order and that they are not damaged. These tasks are not maintenance or preventative maintenance activities. Therefore, employees receiving items for stock are not safety sensitive employees under part 120 and should not be included in the pool of employees subject to drug and alcohol testing.