FAA Confirms that Manufacturing DARs May Continue to Issue 8130-3 Tags

Today, the FAA released a memo that confirms that Manufacturing DARs continue to have the authority to issue 8130-3 tags (the memo was dated May 31).  This has been a source of concern for many DARs and the distributors that rely on them.  The memo corrects the concern.  The speed with which the FAA corrected this issue shows that FAA headquarters is listening to our industry’s concerns and is supporting the industry’s safety needs.

Earlier this year, ASA made the FAA aware of an issue concerning the recent changes to FAA Order 8100.8 (the “D” revision).  There was an unanticipated omission of the language that authorized Manufacturing DARs to issue 8130-3 tags for demonstrably airworthy components held by distributors.  The new language limited Manufacturing DARs to only working for production approval holders.

ASA asked for a deviation memo to confirm that this change was an inadvertent error.

The new (erroneous) language created a disconnect in the regulations – there was a privilege that persons enjoy under the regulations (obtaining 8130-3 tags when authorized) that would not be supported by the FAA in certain places if Manufacturing DARs were precluded from issuing 8130-3 tags for demonstrably airworthy parts.

14 C.F.R. § 21.327 permits “any person” to apply for an airworthiness approval.  Failure to correct the new language in 8100.8D would mean that Manufacturing DARs are precluded from supporting the “any person” language of 21.327.  FAA operational norms preclude FAA employees from being available to issue airworthiness approvals for parts in most cases.  Thus, a failure to correct this language would mean that in locations that previously relied on Manufacturing DARs to issue 8130-3 tags, the FAA would be unable to meet its 21.327 obligations unless it allocated resources in FAA offices to being able to issue airworthiness approvals to applicants.

ASA argued that it is in the FAA’s and industry’s best interests to extend the practice of permitting Manufacturing DARs to issue 8130-3 tags for demonstrably airworthy parts held in a distributor’s inventory.

ASA also pointed out the historical context of the privilege.  Over the past decade, the FAA has established policies that permit Manufacturing DARs and Maintenance DARs to examine a part and its documentation, and where a finding of airworthiness can be made based on this examination, to issue an 8130-3 tag to document that finding.

Originally, these DAR functions were performed under function code 8 for Manufacturing DARs and function code 23 for Maintenance DARs.[1]  Although Manufacturing DAR functions are normally limited to PAH facilities, the FAA made a special exception that permitted Manufacturing DARs to issue 8130-3 tags for aircraft parts at independent distributor  facilities (NOT at the PAH facility).  When this privilege was first issued, the FAA highlighted the fact that this was an exception to the normal rule (under which Manufacturing DARs usually work exclusively at PAH facilities).[2]

Later, the FAA recognized that the function of issuing domestic 8130-3 tags and the function of issuing export 8130-3 tags required the same skills and the FAA merged the authority for DARs to issue both domestic and export 8130-3 tags under  one function code for each type of DAR.  This lead to both forms of 8130-3 tags being issued under function code 20 for Manufacturing DARs and function code 32 for Maintenance DARs (these function codes had previously been limited only to export tag privileges).

The new memo returns the industry to the course that the FAA had charted.  It explains that the change in Order 8100.8 was inadvertent and that there was not an intent to preclude distributors.  It explicitly permits Manufacturing DARs to exercise their 8130-3 issuance privileges for any applicant, including a distributor.  The new deviation memo will soon be available on the ASA website.

[1] See, e.g., Procedures for Completion and Use of the AUthorized Release Certificate, FAA Form 8130-3, Airworthiness Approval Tag, FAA Notice 8130.70 (June 15, 2001) (permitting the issuance of 8130- 3 tags for airworthy parts located at independent distributor facilities).

[2] Id. at ¶ 5(b) NOTE (stating that “in order to ensure adequate DAR resources to support the activities authorized under this notice, these domestic airworthiness approvals may be issued by either manufacturing or maintenance DARs”).


About Jason Dickstein
Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. He represents several aviation trade associations, including the Aviation Suppliers Association, the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Air Carrier Purchasing Conference, and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association. He also represents private clients drawn from the spectrum of the aviation industry.

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