New FAA Safety Guidance on Anti-Friction Bearings

The FAA has issued a Safety Alert For Operators (SAFO) warning about anti-friction bearings that were the subject of “improper overhaul and repair.”

The FAA SAFO states:

“The FAA investigation revealed that AeroBearings LLC conducted work on aeronautical anti-friction bearings used in aircraft engines, APUs, rotorcraft drive systems, and accessory applications without possessing the necessary approved data. As a result, AeroBearings LCC could not determine whether the bearings met the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) design specifications. The work accomplished is not compliant with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 43. In March 2018, the FAA revoked AeroBearings LLC’s Air Agency Certificate No. 8AZR921B.”

The FAA recommends that distributors should:

“1. Inspect records and inventory. Inspect aircraft records, engine records, APU records, accessory records, FAA Form 8130-3 airworthiness approval tags, and aircraft part inventories for any bearings approved for return to service by AeroBearings LLC;
2. Quarantine and inspect bearings not installed. Any bearing found to be overhauled, repaired, or inspected by AeroBearings LLC that is not installed should be quarantined until the suspect bearing undergoes a recertification inspection to determine airworthiness prior to installation. The recertification inspection should follow the approved data, from the OEM or another, to determine airworthiness of a bearing; and
3. Inspect bearings installed. For bearings currently installed, we recommend owners/operators have the suspect bearings inspected at the next piece parts exposure. Owners/operators should also closely monitor the suspect bearings’ health using the OEM’s recommendations or other approved maintenance program methods.”

Please review the full SAFO if you think that your inventory might be impacted by the FAA’s instructions.

The FAA also revoked AeroBearing’s repair station certificate.  In a May 11 decision, the NTSB affirmed the FAA’s emergency revocation of the repair certificate.

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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