Aircraft Articles, and Eligibility for an Export 8130-3 tag

An ASA member was recently told by a DAR that the DAR could no longer issue export 8130-3 tags based on traceability paperwork, and that the DAR would have to perform a full conformity on the aircraft part before issuing an export 8130-3 tag.

As you might expect, the ASA member was disturbed by this news, and asked us whether the rules had changed.  They have not.  While it is true that the FAA’s rules, policy and standards are constantly changing, there has been no change that would forbid issue of an export 8130-3 tag for a demonstrably airworthy part.

It is important to remember that issuing an export 8130-3 tag is NOT exactly the same thing as conforming a part to design data.  The export 8130-3 tag documents an airworthiness finding, which can be made in a number of different ways.  The applicant has an obligation to demonstrate conformity to type design and condition for safe operation at the time of application for the export 8130-3 tag, but this showing can be made in several ways and conformity inspection is just one of those ways.

Here are just a few of the ways that an FAA designee with the right privileges can find that a new aircraft part is eligible for an export 8130-3 tag (all assume that the new part is still in a condition for safe operation):

  • Establish positive traceability to the production approval holder and then determine that the airworthiness of the part has not been compromised;
  • Identify a new production part based on Part 45 PMA markings (the PMA article cannot be so-marked and released from the production quality system unless the manufacturer ensured that the article conformed to its approved design and was in a condition for safe operation);
  • Identify a new production part accompanied by identifying documentation from the production approval holder such as a shipping document, a manufacturer’s certificate of conformance or material certification, or an FAA Airworthiness Approval Tag, Form 8130-3;
  • If a designee with appropriate privileges performs a successful conformity inspection to FAA-approved design data, then the designee has made a finding of airworthiness of the article and can obtain issue an 8130-3 tag. This is typically not necessary except in those cases where the article cannot be found airworthy based on documentation or markings.

These four ways are taken from just one FAA guidance document.  Other ways to find airworthiness are listed in other guidance documents, so this is not a complete list.

Don’t forget that a designee needs to follow the FAA guidance related to issue of the export 8130-3 tag, such as the rules found in FAA Order 8130.21H.  So mere eligibility for an 8130-3 tag may be insufficient if some other requirement cannot be met.

It is equally important to remember that an FAA designee cannot issue an 8130-3 tag for a part if he or she is unable to make a finding of airworthiness.  For example, used parts that have not yet been returned to an airworthy condition (e.g. through overhaul) are not yet eligible for an export 8130-3 tag.  There are special requirements for issuing export 8130-3 tag for used parts, so even after an overhaul, an export 8130-3 tag might be inappropriate in some situations.

So there is NOT a new FAA policy requiring a full conformity as a prerequisite to issue of an 8130-3 tag.  Such a policy would not be consistent with FAA policy, nor would it be consistent with the purpose of the 8130-3 tag, which is merely to document an airworthiness finding.

About Jason Dickstein
Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. Since 1992, he has represented aviation trade associations and businesses that include aircraft and aircraft parts manufacturers, distributors, and repair stations, as well as both commercial and private operators. Blog content published by Mr. Dickstein is not legal advice; and may not reflect all possible fact patterns. Readers should exercise care when applying information from blog articles to their own fact patterns.

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