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Help MARPA Help the Commerce Department

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 ryan@washingtonaviation.com.  MARPA sincerely thanks our members in advance for their help!

Are Your MARPA Dues Current?

As the MARPA dues year draws to a close at the end of June, it’s time to make sure your company’s MARPA dues are current.

MARPA has sent out notices and invoices for 2016-2017 dues. Additional dues information, such as the dues amount charged for member companies based on their size, is available on the MARPA webpage at http://www.PMAparts.org. You will also find a membership form here to authorize dues renewal by credit card.

If for some reason you did not get a dues invoice, or your invoice was incorrect, please call us and we will fix the problem. Please make sure you update your MARPA membership information and point of contact if necessary, as this information is a part of the Airline Guide to PMA publication that lists MARPA members with a short description of their focus. A number of air carriers have asked for information about where they can go to get PMA parts, and this will be the first step in providing tools for buyers of PMA parts.  This MARPA publication is updated twice annually and distributed around the world at events and conferences, as well as to interested parties by request.

Don’t miss out on the great benefits provided by being a member of MARPA— pay your dues invoice today!

Challenges Apparent in Reconciling Performance Based Regulations and Emerging Technologies

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.

MARPA Needs Your Comments on the FAA Materials AC

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 ryan@washingtonaviation.com.

 

MARPA Member Super Savers – Register by May 27th!

Don’t forget to register today for the 2016 MARPA PMA Conference!  The Super Saver discount for renewing MARPA members expires May 27th, so register today and save!

The 2016 MARPA Conference has a lot of opportunities to offer!   Learn about the newest developments in  international PMA markets like Japan, Latin America, and Europe.  Dive into recent COS updates and Part 21 regulatory changes to educate your company.  Find the financial strategy you need to guide your company through the PMA landscape. Take advantage of built-in networking opportunities!  Your customers will be there… will you?

To register, just click here for a registration form and hotel information.  If you have any questions, contact MARPA by calling (202) 628-6777.  We look forward to seeing you at our NEW venue- The B Resort & Spa in Orlando, Florida.

New Trade Secret Law and Whistleblower Protection – How to Protect Your Business

Yesterday, we wrote about the new trade secret law, which provides a federal cause of action for trade secret infringement.  The new law, known as the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), is identified as Public Law 114-153.

It is very normal for aerospace manufacturers to have (or at least claim) trade secrets, and to seek to protect them through agreements with their employees.  Such agreements often include confidentiality clauses.  They may address trade secrets like product design functions, as well as trade secrets like customer lists and financial data.  Provisions of the new law will impose some affirmative burdens on employers, and if you fail to meet those obligations then you could undermine your company’s intellectual property rights.

WHISTLE BLOWER PROTECTION

The DTSA provides whistleblower protection to certain employees who disclose trade secrets to the Government (including in a court filing).  The whistleblower immunity applies if the employee discloses a trade secret, but does so in one of these contexts:

  • A confidential disclosure to a Federal, State, or local government official, either directly or indirectly, or to an attorney (but only for the purpose of reporting or investigating a suspected violation of law); or
  • A disclosure made in a complaint or other document filed in a lawsuit or other proceeding, if such filing is made under seal.

NEW NOTICE REQUIREMENTS

But there is an even more important clause for employers to understand.  There is an additional clause in the law that requires employers to provide notice of the whistle blower immunity.  This clause says:

(3) NOTICE.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—An employer shall provide notice of the immunity set forth in this subsection in any contract or agreement with an employee that governs the use of a trade secret or other confidential information.

(B) POLICY DOCUMENT.—An employer shall be considered to be in compliance with the notice requirement in subparagraph (A) if the employer provides a cross-reference to a policy document provided to the employee that sets forth the employer’s reporting policy for a suspected violation of law.

(C) NON-COMPLIANCE.—If an employer does not comply with the notice requirement in subparagraph (A), the employer may not be awarded exemplary damages or attorney fees under subparagraph (C) or (D) of section 1836(b)(3) in an action against an employee to whom notice was not provided.

(D) APPLICABILITY.—This paragraph shall apply to contracts and agreements that are entered into or updated after the date of enactment of this subsection.

(4) EMPLOYEE DEFINED.—For purposes of this subsection, the term ‘employee’ includes any individual performing work as a contractor or consultant for an employer.

This imposes an affirmative duty on employers to notify their employee of the immunity in the DTSA.  This needs to be done in the confidentiality agreement that governs the use of the trade secrets.  So if your employees each sign a confidentiality agreement (or employment agreement that includes confidentiality obligations) at the time of hiring, then this should be modified to reflect the requirements of the law.  This new language should be reflected in every contract addressing confidentiality provisions that is entered into on or after May 12, 2016 (today).

Old and existing contracts (those entered-into before May 12, 2016) do not need to be modified to reflect this new language, unless they are updated in any way.  So if you make any sort of update to a pre-existing contract that addresses confidentiality, then please make sure the modifications also include the new immunity notice language.

There is an option to publish a policy document including the appropriate notice, and then to cross reference that document in the agreements with the employees, consultants and contractors.  If you do this, then you should be specific about the revision level of the policy document, to make sure that it includes the appropriate language.

Failure to provide notice can limit the company’s ability to collect certain damages and attorneys fees, to which the company might otherwise be entitled.  Eliminating the chance of recovering attorneys fees can make a valid lawsuit economically undesirable.

APPLIES TO CONTRACTORS AND CONSULTANTS, TOO

The definition of employee for these purposes includes contractors and consultants!

So your consulting agreements and other agreements with independent contractors need to reflect this new disclosure language as well.  This may be especially important when working with contractors who normally sign a non-disclosure agreement.

 

New Trade Secrets Law Provides Useful Language for MARPA Members

The President has signed into the law the new Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA).  The new law provides a federal private right of action for trade secret infringement – previously, such private actions were brought under state law.

For MARPA member, there is an important safe harbor – the DTSA specifically explains that trade secret infringement is limited to obtaining information by improper means, and limits the scope of “improper means” by excluding some normal methods used by PMA applicants, like reverse engineering and independent derivation:

the term ‘improper means’—

(A) includes theft, bribery, misrepresentation, breach or inducement of a breach of a duty to maintain secrecy, or espionage through electronic or other means; and
(B) does not include reverse engineering, independent derivation, or any other lawful means of acquisition

This is a valuable restatement of the common-law safe harbor.

But MARPA members are also holders of their own trade secrets, and this change permits MARPA members to sue in federal court when their trade secrets are infringed.

The existing statutes provide a definition of trade secret that will continue to control the new private right of action:

the term “trade secret” means all forms and types of financial, business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information, including patterns, plans, compilations, program devices, formulas, designs, prototypes, methods, techniques, processes, procedures, programs, or codes, whether tangible or intangible, and whether or how stored, compiled, or memorialized physically, electronically, graphically, photographically, or in writing if—

(A) the owner thereof has taken reasonable measures to keep such information secret; and

(B) the information derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable through proper means by, the [public]{another person who can obtain economic value from the disclosure or use of the information};

18 U.S.C. 1839(3).  The square-bracketed [] language is the old text and the curly-bracketed language {} is the new replacement text that has been added by the new law.

This standard continues to provide important guidance to those who wish to retain their trade secrets – it is especially important to take reasonable measures to keep the information secret.  And where information cannot be kept secret, because it is already in the public domain or because it is required by law to be disclosed, then the possessor of that information may not have a trade secret, if there are no reasonable measures that may be taken to maintain secrecy.

The extent of the security measures taken by the owner of the trade secret need not be absolute, but must be reasonable under the circumstances, depending on the facts of the specific case.  The owner’s reasonable efforts can include advising employees that the information is a trade secret, limiting access to the information to those with a specific “need to know,” requiring employees or business partners to sign confidentiality agreements, and keeping secret documents secured (like in a safe).

For PMA applicants, this new law underscores the importance of documenting the processes associated with the development of PMA design data.  A PMA company that possesses that sort of development-process-documentation, and can offer it as a defense to an allegation of trade secret misappropriation, should be a more defensible position.

Join MARPA in Madrid for a Facility Tour of Iberia Maintenance

A very limited number of the 2016 MARPA EMEA PMA Parts Conference in Madrid are invited to a tour of the Iberia Maintenance facility in Madrid.   The facility is located at Madrid-Barajas airport.

Participants in the tour should meet in the lobby of the conference hotel, NH Madrid Ventas, at 8:45 am on May 25th.  A bus will depart at 9:00 am.

The bus is scheduled to arrive at Iberia Maintenance at about 9:45 am, with tour concluding at 10:45 am.  The bus will depart Iberia Maintenance at 11:00, arriving back at the hotel shortly before noon.

Iberia Maintenance asks to receive, no later than 6pm EST on May 9th 2016, the following information for each participant:

  • First and last name
  • Title
  • Company or organization affiliation
  • Email address
  • Country of passport issuance and passport number

MARPA will cover the costs of round trip bus transportation.  To take advantage of this opportunity, the attendee must be registered for the 2016 MARPA EMEA PMA Parts Conferece.  Space will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.  Please be sure to register for the Conference, then contact katt@washingtonaviation.com with the requested information in order to join the tour!

 

Jason Mahoney, Dir. of Engineering & Maintenance, TUI Group to Keynote 2016 MARPA PMA Parts Conference in MADRID

MARPA is extremely pleased to announce that Jason Mahoney Director of Engineering & Maintenance – TUI Group will serve as the Keynote speaker for the 2016 MARPA PMA Aircraft Parts Conference from May 23-24, 2016 in Madrid, Spain at the NH Madrid Ventas.

Jason Mahoney  Jason Mahoney was appointed Director of Engineering and Maintenance of TUI Group in 2014, charged with uniting the group’s five independent engineering and maintenance establishments – to create one pan-European organisation.

Previously, Jason was Director of Engineering for Thomson Airways having joined the business in 2011. Prior to joining TUI, Jason worked for bmi and British Airways, having joined BA as an engineering apprentice in 1989.

TUI Group is the world’s number one tourism business. The broad portfolio gathered under the TUI Group umbrella consists of strong tour operators, 1,800 travel agencies and leading online portals, six total airlines with a fleet of more than 130 aircraft, over 300 hotels with 210,000 beds, 13 cruise liners and countless incoming agencies in all major holiday destinations around the globe. This integrated offering will enables TUI Group to provide their 30 million customers with an unmatched holiday experience in 180 regions around the world. A key feature of their corporate culture is global responsibility for economic, environmental and social sustainability. This is reflected in more than 20 years of commitment to sustainable tourism.

MARPA wishes to extend its sincere thanks to our partners at the International Trade Administration for their ongoing support in partnering with our organization to encourage MARPA and FAA-PMA aircraft parts-focused events and trade missions, and for working to promote PMA worldwide.  The 2016 MARPA PMA Parts Conference provides an excellent opportunity for our members to meet and network with their international customers. It is also an opportunity to continue the ongoing discussion about the benefits and value of PMA parts.  MARPA looks forward to seeing our members in Madrid networking with the air carriers of not only Europe but also the Middle East and Asia.

For more information about the 2016 MARPA PMA Aircraft Parts Conference, visit us online!

MadridWe look forward to seeing everyone in Madrid!

FAA Draft Advisory Circulars Need Your Comment

Several draft FAA Advisory Circulars are currently open for comment of which MARPA members should take note.

Today the FAA’s Engine and Propeller Directorate released draft 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 AC is intended to provide guidance to assist PMA applicants in developing tests to demonstrate the equivalence of materials with that of the type design materials.

We will provide a more detailed analysis of this draft AC in the coming days, but want to encourage each of our members to review it and submit comments to the FAA addressing any potential problems you identify–or offering praise if you feel it is a useful document.  MARPA will be offering its own comments, so if you do not wish to file on your own, please feel free to provide us with your thoughts and we will incorporate them into the association’s comments.  These comments are due to the FAA by July 20.

Two other draft ACs are also open for comment and bear review. The first is AC 39-xx Alternative Methods of Compliance. This AC is intended to provide guidance to those applicants seeking approval of an AMOC. This guidance formerly appeared in FAA Order 8110.103A but has since been removed to a stand-alone AC. Comments are due May 30.

The other is AC 23.10 FAA Accepted Means of Compliance Process for 14 CFR Part 23. This AC provides guidance on how to submit applicant proposed means of compliance to the FAA for acceptance by the Administrator in accordance with proposed § 23.10 (which is one section of the current Part 23 proposed rule revision). Comments are due May 13.

Each of these proposed Advisory Circulars should be reviewed for potential effects on the PMA industry. MARPA will be undertaking its own reviews, but we encourage each of our members to do the same, and file such comments as they believe helpful.  All draft materials and FAA contact information can be found at https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/draft_docs/ac/.

If you would like us to incorporate your comments, you should email them to VP  of Government and Industry Affairs Ryan Aggergaard at ryan@washingtonaviation.com

 

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