Unapproved Parts Notice – Update

We’ve gotten a number of phone calls and emails about a recent Unapproved Parts Notice (UPN) known as UPN 2018-2017-0001120.  This UPN claimed that several parts (Clamp Loop, Cushion, part number TA025030-06; Filter Element, part number 26570; Base Plate, part number 232012; and Bushing, part number S700B0455-6C011) were distributed without traceability to a FAA Production Approval Holder.  As many of you know, U.S. law does not require this sort of traceability as a regulatory condition for distribution of expendable parts like these.

This purported traceability-basis for the UPN has confused many ASA members who are extremely familiar with both the law and the industry practice concerning traceability.

Two weeks ago, we sent an email to the FAA that explained:

On February 15, the FAA issued a UPN on some expendable parts (UPN 2018-2017-0001120).  The claim in the UPN was that the parts were “distributed … without traceability to a FAA Production Approval Holder.”  This appears to be the sole violation described in the UPN.

As you know, back-to-birth traceability is a norm for life limited parts, but several Chief Counsel’s Opinion Letters have confirmed that it is not required under the regulations.

For expendable parts like the ones in the UPN, the FAA’s published policy states that it is acceptable to distribute such parts with a “statement as to identity and condition.”  E.g. AC 00-56B.  Thus, FAA published policy comports with FAA Chief Counsel’s Opinion Letters in clarifying that back-to-birth traceability is NOT required.

We are very concerned that this UPN appears to set the wrong standard – a standard that is legally wrong, that contradicts published FAA policy, and that would be unmanageable for current expendable inventories.  This concern is shared by many of ASA’s members and we have fielded a significant number of phone calls this week from concerned members.

It is possible that the real issue for these parts is different from what the MIDO published in the UPN.  If this is the case, then we trust that the FAA will reissue the UPN with the correct information.  But if the identified problem truly was a lack of back-to-birth traceability, then we trust that the FAA will rescind this UPN in the grounds that back-to-birth traceability is not required, and that it is an industry norm for expendable parts purchased from many distributors that they may not have back-to-birth traceability.

Once your staff has looked into this, I would appreciate an update on your plans, if any, to remedy this UPN guidance.

We’ve been talking with the FAA in the intervening two weeks, and they have been diligently investigating this matter. The FAA management people who now have charge of this project are the sort who like to do something once, and do it correctly the first time; so we have a great deal of confidence that they will come to the right decision: a decision that protects the integrity of the industry’s safety focus without imposing unworkable documentation standards.

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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 Air Carrier Purchasing Conference, and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association. He also represents private clients drawn from the spectrum of the aviation industry.

One Response to Unapproved Parts Notice – Update

  1. Pingback: Unapproved Parts Notice – Rescinded | ASA Web Log

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