Archives

Uncategorized

This category contains 150 posts

Finding Suppliers in Taiwan

Are you looking to expand your global supply base?  The Taiwan Trade Center is raising awareness about the Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition (TADTE), which will be held in Taipei on August 17 – 19.  In order to entice potential business partners to the show, the Taiwan Trade Center is offering generous subsidies to MARPA members interested in attending the exhibition.  Here is their offer:

For qualified buyers, we offer the following incentives:

  1. For companies with annual sales exceeding US$30 million that are related to the industries profiled in the show, TAITRA will offer 1 R/T economy-class ticket scheduled stay during two full show-day periods between August 17 and August 19, 2017, 1 room with a maximum allowance of NT$15,000 (tax included) to be used toward lodging (up to 4 nights being in August 16 to August19, 2017) and airport pickup to-from the accommodating hotel. Attending procurement meetings is requested.

  2. For companies with annual sales exceeding US$5 million that are related to the industries profiled in the show, TAITRA will offer 1 R?T economy-class ticket scheduled stay during two full show-day periods between August 17 and August 19, 2017. Attending procurement meetings is requested.

  3. For companies with annual sales exceeding US$0.3 million that are related to the industries profiled in the show, TAITRA will offer 1 room with a maximum allowance of NT$ 15,000 (tax included) to be used toward lodging (up to 4 nights being in August 16 to August 19, 2017) and airport pickup to-from the accommodating hotel.

In order to accept this offer from the Taiwan Trade Center, MARPA members must complete the 2017 TADTE Registration Form. The completed form should be emailed to Unice Wu from the Taiwan Trade Center – New York at unicewu@taitra.org.tw. There are a limited number of subsidies available, so apply ASAP!

 

Taiwan Details:

Despite the ‘One-China-Policy,’ Taiwan has its own Civil Aviation Authority which is separate from the CAA of China. Taiwan has processes for issuing TSOA and PMA. Under a bilateral agreement, the US accepts new TSO appliances from Taiwan that meet the performance standards of an FAA TSO under an FAA letter of TSO design approval. They also accept replacement parts for those TSOA articles. The U.S. currently does not accept PMA parts from Taiwan.

EASA has a working arrangement with the Taiwan CAA for the validation of EASA certificates. This appears to be a one-way arrangement; EASA does not appear to have a process for validating Taiwan CAA approvals.

In defense contracts, Taiwan is treated by the United States as a major non-NATO ally (22 C.F.R. § 120.32).

Only One Day Left to Get An Early Bird Discount for the 2017 MARPA EMEA Conference in Dublin!

Don’t forget to register today for the 2017 MARPA EMEA Conference!  The Early Bird discount expires tomorrow, so register before April 1st to save!

The 2017 MARPA EMEA Conference has a lot of opportunities to offer!  Join Keynote speaker Fergus Wilson, Chief Technical Officer for Aer Lingus, and Brian Gialloreto, Manager of Component Engineering at Delta Air Lines to hear how their carriers use PMA to increase savings and reliability.  Learn about the newest developments in international PMA markets like Japan, Latin America, and Europe.  Dive into manufacturer’s success stories and learn ways to energize your company.  Find the financial strategy you need to guide your company through the PMA landscape. The Conference Agenda is packed with speakers you want to see, and with networking opportunities!  Your customers and regulators will be there… will you?

To register, just click here for a registration form or to register online.  If you have any questions, contact MARPA by calling (202) 628-6777.  We look forward to seeing you in Dublin!

FAA Proposes Special Conditions for Non-Rechargeable Lithium Batteries

The FAA has proposed a set of special conditions that would apply to a set of certification projects involving an inflatable restraint system with non-rechargeable lithium batteries.  These special conditions could have far-reaching effect that goes beyond the STC projects for which they are intended.

The special conditions would apply to the aircraft listed on the approved model list in an AmSafe STC. The proposal does not list those aircraft – and as the AmSafe STC is not available to the general public, the list is a ‘secret’ list.  This could make specific application of the special condition tricky to identify.  This is concerning because special conditions become part of the type certificate basis, so konwing hich aircraft are potentially affected would be important.

It is possible that anyone attempting to obtain PMA for articles on those aircraft that are affected by the AmSafe STC (or by the non-rechargeable lithium batteries special conditions) would also be expected to comply with the special conditions.  Therefore anyone with an interest in battery PMAs or seat PMAs/TSOAs ought to examine this proposal to establish whether it could affect their business – now or in the future.

The FAA proposed the following special conditions for Non-Rechargeable Lithium Battery Installations, which would take the place of the current storage battery standards under the regulations:

In lieu of Sec. 25.1353(b)(1) through (4) at Amendment 25-123, each non-rechargeable lithium battery installation must:
1. Be designed to maintain safe cell temperatures and pressures under all foreseeable operating conditions to prevent fire and explosion.
2. Be designed to prevent the occurrence of self-sustaining, uncontrollable increases in temperature or pressure.
3. Not emit explosive or toxic gases, either in normal operation or as a result of its failure, that may accumulate in hazardous quantities within the airplane.
4. Meet the requirements of Sec. 25.863.
5. Not damage surrounding structure or adjacent systems, equipment, or electrical wiring from corrosive fluids or gases that may escape in such a way as to cause a major or more severe failure condition.
6. Have provisions to prevent any hazardous effect on airplane structure or systems caused by the maximum amount of heat it can generate due to any failure of it or its individual cells.
7. Have a failure sensing and warning system to alert the flightcrew if its failure affects safe operation of the airplane.
8. Have a means for the flightcrew or maintenance personnel to determine the battery charge state if the battery’s function is required for safe operation of the airplane.

Note: A battery system consists of the battery and any protective, monitoring, and alerting circuitry or hardware inside or outside of the battery. It also includes vents (where necessary) and packaging. For the purpose of these special conditions, a “battery” and “battery system” are referred to as a battery.

The discussion associated with the proposed special conditions states that the special conditions are “necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards.”  Because of their special application to non-rechargeable lithium battery installations, it is possible that this could serve as the model for a regulation that applies to non-rechargeable lithium batteries.

Tour MRO Dublin Aerospace at the MARPA EMEA Conference!

MARPA is very excited to announce that Dublin Aerospace has agreed to host a tour for attendees of the MARPA EMEA Conference on the morning of May 10, 2017. The MARPA EMEA Conference itself is scheduled for May 8-9 at the Dublin Hilton Kilmainham in Dublin, Ireland. This is the third year that MARPA has put on a European conference, and it will be a great opportunity to meet and network with customers you may not get a chance to see at the MARPA Annual Conference in Orlando, as well as hear the latest information and developments from the PMA world.

Dublin Aerospace is based at Dublin International Airport, and is equipped to perform work on aircraft, APUs, and landing gear.  Dublin Aerospace’s primary focus is on the Airbus A320 family and the A330 aircraft, as well as the Boeing 737NG and Classic aircraft. Their APU repair shop focuses on most Boeing and Airbus APUs, and the landing gear facility performs work on both the A320 family and the Boeing 737 family landing gear. Dublin Aerospace has the capacity to process 70 aircraft, 400 APUs, and 250 landing gear annually.*

Last year in Madrid, about a dozen attendees had the opportunity to tour the Iberia Maintenance facility the morning after the conference. The site visit was viewed as a highlight of the event by those who participated, and it was generally agreed that there was great information and ideas to be taken away from the tour. Many participants suggested MARPA hold a similar event this year, and we are pleased to partner with Dublin Aerospace to bring our conference attendees this opportunity.

Don’t miss out on a great chance to meet with your current and potential new customers, and to take a tour of a leading MRO facility. Register for the 2017 MARPA EMEA Conference in Dublin today, and we look forward to seeing you in there!

For more information about Dublin Aerospace, visit: http://dublinaerospace.com/

For more information about the MARPA EMEA Conference, visit: http://www.pmaparts.org/EMEAconference/about.shtml

Questions? Email MARPA Senior Program Manager Katt Brigham at katt@washingtonaviation.com.

*Credit: Dublin Aerospace at http://dublinaerospace.com/grid-12/.

MARPA Attends 2017 Aviation Summit

On March 2, MARPA had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Chamber of Commerce 2017 Aviation Summit in Washington, DC.  The event featured addresses and panels by the presidents and CEOs of aerospace industry leading operators, manufacturers, and service providers. Although the focus was primarily on operational issues affecting air carriers like Open Skies, airport infrastructure, and air traffic control, there were a couple of points raised by speakers that are relevant to MARPA members and the PMA industry.

During the manufacturing panel, HEICO Corporation Co-President and past MARPA Annual Conference keynote speaker Eric Mendelson, discussed the importance of choice and competition without which it becomes difficult for carriers to operate cost effectively. He used the decrease in suppliers relied upon by Boeing for successive new aircraft to illustrate the challenges facing both operators and aftermarket parts manufacturers, as competition becomes more and more restricted. He noted that the original 777 had three engine options, and approximately 17 component suppliers provided 75% of components. For the 787, those numbers fell to two engine options, and about four component suppliers for 75% of components. In the case of the new 777 there will be only one engine option and fewer still component suppliers.

This on-going reduction in suppliers means that operators face fewer and fewer choices both at the initial purchase stage and in terms of maintenance over the life of the product. This also means that those suppliers have a great deal of leverage in locking operators into long-term service agreements, which threaten PMA manufacturers.

In order to fight this phenomenon, it is vitally important that our customers be educated through their organizations as to the value of ensuring PMA is viable replacement part option, to ensure that they aren’t locking themselves into unfavorable maintenance agreements that needlessly restrict their replacement part options and drive up their costs. This will become even more important if fuel prices begin to rise, causing operators to look more aggressively for areas to realize cost savings.

Another interesting point was made later in the day, by Dennis Muilenburg, Chairman, President, and CEO of Boeing. He noted the importance of the Ex-Im Bank to financing export of US-manufactured goods, and stated that there is approximately $30 billion in deals merely awaiting the Ex-Im Bank’s board to reach a quorum. This requires one more confirmed nominee (currently, only 2 of the 5 seats are filled, and a quorum is required to approve deals over $10 million).

Although MARPA’s members aren’t generally making deals that require that level of financing from Ex-Im, having Ex-Im move out of limbo would be valuable for MARPA’s members. We’ve talked previously at conferences about the various ways the Ex-Im Bank can support MARPA’s members in exporting goods to credit-worthy customers abroad who may otherwise lack the cash flow to complete a large purchase. If Boeing’s willingness to throw its weight behind Ex-Im results in securing the stability of the bank for the future, the benefits would ripple out to the rest of the industry.  This is something we will be keeping an eye on.

If you have questions about how Ex-Im can be leveraged help your PMA business, don’t hesitate to let MARPA know.

 

Should MARPA Support Repeal of the Estate Tax?

MARPA has been asked to sign onto a letter supporting a bill that would repeal Subtitle B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 that relates to estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes. The Bill is entitled the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017.

Although it is typically thought of as only affecting the very wealthy, the estate tax can also have an effect on small and family-owned businesses; particularly those that are land- or asset-rich but cash poor. One oft-cited example is that of the family farmer, whose is land-rich (the value of his real property is high) but operating on very thin margins and doesn’t have a large amount of cash saved or other liquid assets. The family of the farmer may be forced to sell off a piece of the farm land in order to raise the money to pay the estate tax assessed against the total value of the farm upon the farmer’s death.

More close to home, in the aviation industry, companies may have millions of dollars in inventory that would be counted toward the value of a family business owner’s estate. This sort of inventory often cannot be quickly liquidated upon a business owner’s death to cover an estate tax assessed against the value of the business (that includes that inventory). Additionally,  because many companies rely on their inventory as collateral against which to take out loans or lines of credit, they cannot simply depreciate the value of the inventory to zero to minimize the value of the business for estate tax purposes, or they risk also minimizing the apparent value of the business as a whole.

On the other hand, many people feel that the estate tax is something that only effects the very wealthy and thus repeal should not be a high priority (or a priority at all).

I would like to hear what our members think. Is a letter supporting the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017 something MARPA should sign on to? We have been asked to respond by Monday, January 23, so please let us know what you think before then.  You can email your thoughts to MARPA’s VP of Government and Industry Affairs Ryan Aggergaard at ryan@washingtonaviation.com.

Will the New FAA Manufacturing Rules Lead to a “Quicker Approval Process”?

Twice in the preamble to the new part 23 rule, the FAA explains that “many part suppliers may benefit from this performance-based rule through an expected quicker approval process.”

This seems to suggest that the parts approval process will be expedited because it will be easier for an applicant for a Part 23-based PMA to demonstrate compliance under the performance-based regulations.  The question on everyone’s lips is whether that will turn out to be true.

While the majority of our members are focused on parts for commercial aviation, a sizeable minority of our members produce parts for Part 23 airplanes.  It is important to MARPA that these members continue to be able to obtain PMAs on a equitable and safe basis.  It is equally important that they be able to enter the marketplace on an even playing field.

The new rules will facilitate use of non-standard mechanisms for approval.  Under current policy (which is supported by the rule change), manufacturers may build Angle-of-Attack indicator systems according to standards from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ATSM).  They may apply to the FAA for approval of the design via a letter certifying that the equipment meets ATSM standards and was produced under required quality systems. The FAA’s Chicago Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) processes all applications to ensure consistent interpretation of the policy.  This sort of model may be used more often under the new rules.

One approach for MARPA members might be to identify other articles that could be described by industry consensus standards, and to help develop those standards in partnership with the FAA.

For PMA projects for Part 23 airplanes, the certification basis might be a prior revision level of Part 23, so be careful that you choose the right certification basis for your project.  Because of this, the direct effect on PMA applications of the rule changes may not be fully understood for many years.  But to the extent that the new rules permit competitors to enter the marketplace more easily (but always with adequate showings of airworthiness), the rules could represent a benefit to an industry where competition and safety innovation have gone hand-in-hand.

The new rules go into effect August 30, 2017.  We are eager to hear your experiences with them.

“Expected Operating Conditions” as a PMA Parts Design Metric

The FAA has revised part 23 (the regulations for non-transport airplanes), and PMA applicants seeking approvals for parts that meet Part 23 requirements will need to pay attention to these changes (but remember that your certification basis might be a prior revision level of Part 23).

One change is the addition of a design metric related to ” the expected operating conditions of the airplane.”

The current rules (which are being revised) state that a designer must “take into account the effects of environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, expected in service.”

§ 23.603 Materials and workmanship.

(a) The suitability and durability of materials used for parts, the failure of which could adversely affect safety, must –

(1) Be established by experience or tests;
(2) Meet approved specifications that ensure their having the strength and other properties assumed in the design data; and
(3) Take into account the effects of environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, expected in service.

(b) Workmanship must be of a high standard.

The new Part 23 rule will require applicants for PMA for part 23 airplane parts to “design each part, article, and assembly for the expected operating conditions of the airplane.”

Sec. 23.2250 Design and construction principles.

(a) The applicant must design each part, article, and assembly for the expected operating conditions of the airplane.
(b) Design data must adequately define the part, article, or assembly configuration, its design features, and any materials and processes used.
(c) The applicant must determine the suitability of each design detail and part having an important bearing on safety in operations.
(d) The control system must be free from jamming, excessive friction, and excessive deflection when the airplane is subjected to expected limit airloads.
(e) Doors, canopies, and exits must be protected against inadvertent opening in flight, unless shown to create no hazard when opened in flight.

A related regulation continues to use the “likely environmental conditions” language of the prior regulations:

Sec. 23.2260 Materials and processes.

(a) The applicant must determine the suitability and durability of materials used for parts, articles, and assemblies, accounting for the effects of likely environmental conditions expected in service, the failure of which could prevent continued safe flight and landing.
(b) The methods and processes of fabrication and assembly used must produce consistently sound structures. If a fabrication process requires close control to reach this objective, the applicant must perform the process under an approved process specification.
(c) Except as provided in paragraphs (f) and (g) of this section, the applicant must select design values that ensure material strength with probabilities that account for the criticality of the structural element. Design values must account for the probability of structural failure due to material variability.
(d) If material strength properties are required, a determination of those properties must be based on sufficient tests of material meeting specifications to establish design values on a statistical basis.
(e) If thermal effects are significant on a critical component or structure under normal operating conditions, the applicant must determine those effects on allowable stresses used for design.
(f) Design values, greater than the minimums specified by this section, may be used, where only guaranteed minimum values are normally allowed, if a specimen of each individual item is tested before use to determine that the actual strength properties of that particular item will equal or exceed those used in the design.
(g) An applicant may use other material design values if approved by the Administrator.

What does this “expected operating conditions” language in section 23.2250 mean for test & computation applicants?  This phrase is used in AC 25-25A in the context of returning a stall protection to non-icing setting.  It is also used in AC 20-151 for approval of TCAS units.  But neither of these resources describe what this phrase means in the context of a meeting regulatory requirements.

The FAA explains in the preamble to the rule what it means when it says “expected operating conditions.”  The FAA’s explanation is not perfectly illuminating, but at least it provides some guidance about what sort of operating conditions should be anticipated and accounted-for in the design process:

“The FAA did not intend to limit this requirement only to the normal operational environment because, if the failure conditions are an expected environment, then an applicant should consider those conditions and protect the structure.  Deterioration or loss of strength due to corrosion, weathering, and abrasion are all examples of failure conditions because capability has been degraded. For many years, the rule has expressly required consideration of these causes. It was an expected environment for items to be corroded, weathered, and abraded, but applicants had to consider any other causes too.”

New FAA Manufacturing Rule Permits Greater FAA Flexibility in Building Approval Programs

One of the problems that industry identified with the 2009 manufacturing rule changes was that 14 C.F.R. § 21.8(d) allows an article to be approved using any method approved by the FAA, but the rule at 14 C.F.R. § 21.9(a) limits the FAA’s ability to use that provision by stating that a replacement or modification part may not be produced unless it is produced under one of the six categories listed under § 21.9(a).

This is a real issue.  The FAA has used the “approved in any other manner approved by the FAA” in the past – for example, to support the 1995 enhanced enforcement program which grandfathered non-PMA parts when the applicant applied for PMA within a certain time limit.  Use in that circumstance and others has demonstrated that sometimes the FAA needs a ‘safety valve’ in order to approve articles using non-standard methods.  and that safety valve was closed in 2009.

This is an issue that a number of us have raised before the FAA.  The solution is simple – amend 21.9(a) to feature language analogous to the 14 C.F.R. § 21.8(d) “approved in any other manner approved by the FAA” language.

In December, the FAA published a significant final rule that made major changes to Part 23.  It also provided some spot-fixes to other regulatory parts.  One of those changes implemented the requested 21.9(a) change.

The FAA had an additional rationale for the change we requested.  The disparity between 14 C.F.R. § 21.8(d) and 14 C.F.R. § 21.9(a) inhibited the Small Airplane Directorate fro implementing a policy that they wanted to implement to support a streamlined approval process for low-risk articles (like angle-of-attack indicators for general aviation aircraft). It also opens the door to future FAA streamlining in areas where risk analysis suggests that streamlining is appropriate.  The new language states:

(a) If a person knows, or should know, that a replacement or modification article is reasonably likely to be installed on a type-certificated product, the person may not produce that article unless it is –

(1) Produced under a type certificate;

(2) Produced under an FAA production approval;

(3) A standard part (such as a nut or bolt) manufactured in compliance with a government or established industry specification;

(4) A commercial part as defined in § 21.1 of this part;

(5) Produced by an owner or operator for maintaining or altering that owner or operator’s product; or

(6) Fabricated by an appropriately rated certificate holder with a quality system, and consumed in the repair or alteration of a product or article in accordance with part 43 of this chapter; or

(7) Produced in any other manner approved by the FAA.

As you can see, the simple addition on the end of the regulation aligns it with section 21.8(d), and permits the FAA to approve articles using non-standard mechanisms where circumstances demand such flexibility.

Minor Change to the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness Rule

Happy Tuesday!  This week we are offering five new features of the FAA’s recent rule changes that alter the small airplane rules, but have some minor effects on all other aircraft as well.

The FAA has made very minor changes to 14 C.F.R. § 21.50(b).  This is a very important rule to many of our readers because it establishes the design approval holder’s obligation to provide and make available Instructions for Continued Airworthiness.

Here are the changes (marked with strike-through for deletions and underlined for additions):

(b) The holder of a design approval, including either the a type certificate or supplemental type certificate for an aircraft, aircraft engine, or propeller for which application was made after January 28, 1981, must furnish at least one set of complete Instructions for Continued Airworthiness to the owner of each type aircraft, aircraft engine, or propeller upon its delivery, or upon issuance of the first standard airworthiness certificate for the affected aircraft, whichever occurs later. The Instructions for Continued Airworthiness must be prepared in accordance with §§ 23.1529, 25.1529, 25.1729, 27.1529, 29.1529, 31.82, 33.4, 35.4, or part 26 of this subchapter, or as specified in the applicable airworthiness criteria for special classes of aircraft defined in § 21.17(b), as applicable. If the holder of a design approval chooses to designate parts as commercial, it must include in the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness a list of commercial parts submitted in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section. Thereafter, the holder of a design approval must make those instructions available to any other person required by this chapter to comply with any of the terms of those instructions. In addition, changes to the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness shall be made available to any person required by this chapter to comply with any of those instructions.

The article “the” is changed to “a” in the first sentence.  This clarifies that there may be more than one TC/STC for a design, and that each design approval holder has an independent obligation with respect to Instructions for Continued Airworthiness.  The phrase “for Continued Airworthiness” as added to the second sentence of this subsection to clarify that the reference is to Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (and not to any other instructions).

As you can see, these changes are fairly insignificant and they are clearly meant to help the reader correctly interpret the existing language.