MAG rev. 6 Will Mitigate Some 8130-3 Tag Issues

We reported in December on the changes to the US-EU agreement that appeared to change the standards for documentation for both US-based repair stations and also EU-based repair stations.  As written, this had the potential to dramatically affect ASA members by changing the traceability requirements for aircraft parts and also by limiting which 8130-3 tags were eligible for use.

The change was found in the US-EU Maintenance Annex Guidance (MAG).  It arose in revision 5 which was published in September 2015.  The most important changes were found in the sample EASA Supplement and the sample FAA Supplement.  Although these were samples, many U.S.-based repair stations have reported that their local FAA inspectors are requiring them to conform to the language in the samples.  This caused problems because the sample Supplement language was inconsistent with the regulatory requirements of both the EU and the US.

Some of the problems included language that seemed to suggest that a repair station could not accept a component that was not listed in the OEM’s parts catalogue.  This would have excluded TSOA articles that were not part of the original configuration (e.g. seats defined in an STC), PMA parts, and replacement part numbers where the part number has rolled but the parts catalogue has not yet been brought up-to-date.  At the root fo this problem was a set of apparent requirements that were not found in FAA or EASA regulations or policy and instead existed only in the MAG sample Supplements.

The good news is that we’ve been working with EU and US authorities to correct the problems.  Both have clarified that the language we identified did not reflect a change in traceability policy among the authorities – rather it was intended to merely better reflect the regulatory requirements of both authorities.  They have admitted that the policy could have been more clear and they are seeking to inject greater clarity.

ASA and other trade associations brought these issues to the attention of the civil aviation authorities.  The authorities reviewed our concerns and recognized that MAG rev. 5 did not adequately reflect their intent and has been interpreted in a manner that is inconsistent with their intent.  In order to combat this misinterpretation, US and EU authorities are working together to correct the language in a MAG rev. 6 document.  Thus, the language of the MAG rev. 5 that has caused concern in the industry is being changed to clarify the EU and US intent.

I have had an opportunity to review draft MAG rev. 6 language and the language I have seen represents a dramatic improvement – one that should be acceptable to both the US and EU industries.  The version I saw was not the final version.  FAA and EASA officials are working diligently on this revision and we expect to see it earlier, rather than later.

There had been some fear that the MAG would preclude acceptance of 8130-3 tags issued by designees.  It is likely that the final language of MAG rev. 6 will recognize all appropriate 8130-3 tags.  This will likely include both 8130-3 tags issued by production approval holders (FAA-approved manufacturers) and those issued by the FAA’s designees.

One question that I have seen from the distribution community is whether DARs will continue to be relevant for purposes of issuing 8130-3 tags.  The answer to this is “Yes;” there appears to be no move to change current policy which permits DARs with the right function codes to issue 8130-3 tags for demonstrably airworthy parts.  The MAG applies to US-EU relations, but remember that the rest of the world is still out there, too.  Whatever change is occasioned by the MAG, it only applies to US-EU transactions and not to the other countries with which the US trades.  Most other countries still expect FAA (designee) 8130-3 tags.

Also, we still expect the authorities to recognize a ‘grandfathering’ (consistent with a joint FAA-EASA letter on this point) in which parts produced before April 1, 2016 would benefit from an exception.  The parts would need to be accompanied by documentation providing information equivalent to the 8130-3 tag (like a manufacturer’s C of C) that was issued before April 1, 2016.  We have recommended that all distributors should set a flag in their inventory system in order to be able to identify parts in their system as of 23:59 on March 31.  This will allow those distributors to later certify that the components were produced prior to the grandfathering date.  You may still encounter some commercial resistance to these components, but at least you can show that the component was produced before April 1, 2016 (because it had to have been produced before it existed in your inventory).

Other expected clarifications include a clarification that parts can be received into repair stations without 8130-3 tags if they are intended to be serviced.  This will allow repair stations to accept parts in need of repair without imposing absurd documentation requirements on them.  Distributors with as-removed parts in their inventories should continue to be able to send those parts to repair stations for overhaul.

Do you have other concerns as a consequence of MAG rev. 5?  Let us know your concerns!  The authorities have been clear that they did not intent to inhibit valid, legal and safe transactions, and they are open to clarifications in order to make sure that the industry understands their intent.

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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 Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association.

4 Responses to MAG rev. 6 Will Mitigate Some 8130-3 Tag Issues

  1. Mike Michels says:

    I enjoyed reading your recent post. A search of the EASA website found no references to the draft MAG Change 6. A weblink enabling a preview of draft MAG Change 6 would be helpful in assessing the potential mitigation of PAH issued Airworthiness Release Documentation.

    • Jason Dickstein says:

      Sorry Mike, this document has not yet reached the point of being available to the public. One of the issues with these international documents is that they are typically not shared with the the public before publication and therefore can have fatal flaws that were not identified before publication. Because industry pointed out the rev. 5 issues, FAA and EASA have been more open with sharing their rev. 6 plans, but only with the the trade associations. I receive a lot of email on this subject, though, so I am trying to keep the community informed about progress, because the FAA and EASA negotiators really are making positive changes to address industry concerns. But they may issue rev. 6 without sharing the final draft language with industry so we will need to read it carefully upon issue.

  2. Rick Cox says:

    The EASA MAG 5 Change has left nothing except confusion for Repair Stations that manufactures replacement parts on the production side of the business and consumes them in their MRO Repair Station business. As a manufacturer/supplier for the PAH’s and a Certified Repair Station, our Repair Station acquires detail parts from the new production side of our business for use in our overhauls and repairs. When the MAG 5 change was written it did not appear to address this situation. Hopefully the MAG 6 Change will take this situation into account so we are not forced to write 8130-3’s on component detail parts that we manufacture on the new production side of the business that are consumed in our MRO side.

  3. Pingback: FAA Delays MAG rev. 5 Provisions to Permit 8130-3 Revisions | ASA Web Log

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