DARs – Where Can They Work? From Home?

I have heard from quite a few ASA members that their DARs are being told that they can no longer work from their own facilities.  This is a problem for many DARs who receive parts at their home or office, review each part and its paperwork, and then if the part is eligible the DAR issues an 8130-3 tag for the part.

The source of the issue appears to be an FAA email that stated:

It has come to the attention of the FAA some designees are unclear on where FAA Form 8130-3 may be issued when performing authorized work at the request of a distributor.  As defined in FAA Order 8130.21, any certification work when performed on a distributor’s inventory must be performed at the distributor’s place of business.  This policy does not allow for a designee to perform these functions at their personal home location.  In addition, the Designee Management Policy in FAA Order 8000.95 requires the designee to define the location of where the activity is going to take place, prior to the FAA delegating the function.

Contrary to the email, there is no general requirement in FAA Order 8130.21H that 8130-3 tags must be issued “at the distributor’s place of business.”  We’ve been in touch with FAA Headquarters about this, and they have pledged to examine the situation.

Different Type of DARs

In examining the guidance situation, it is important to remember that there are different types of DARs with different privileges.  There are DARs who received their privileges under FAA Policy memos:

Those DARs are typically restricted to only working at the facility of the sponsoring distributor.  The reason for this is because their privileges are tied to the AC 00-56B system of the distributor. They use a systems approach based on the accredited system to support their findings.

These ‘limited-DARs’ should be contrasted with traditional DARs who are not specifically tied to an accredited distributor.  Traditional DARs are typically limited to the geographical range of the office from which they received their credentials (the managing office).  If the DAR needs to work outside of that range, then there is a well-documented process for expanding those geographic limitations (it involves assurances that the FAA is able to adequately monitor and supervise the designee, as well as coordination between geographically relevant offices).

Note of course that a DAR who lives in a geographic district different from that of his or her FAA managing office should consider transferring to a more geographically-suitable FAA managing office if he or she plans to work from (and issue tags from) a home office.  Designee operations outside of the geographic territory of the managing office are typically not permitted without written permission from the FAA.

Limit on ‘Traditional’ DARs

The recent email received by some DARs appears to have been sent to traditional DARs.  But it appears to have confused the restrictions placed on the special category DARs who work on for distributors (and who must operate within the AC 00-56 quality system of the distributor), with the privileges of ‘normal’ DARs, who may operate anywhere within their prescribed geographic limitations.

This is more than just a matter of confusion of standards.  There are problems with this directive, including:

(1) Order 8130.21H states that when a tag is issued at a distributor’s facility then the distributor’s name and address should be placed in block 4 – but this does not limit where the tag can be issued – it only sets a rule for how to complete block 4 (this is consistent with the guidance in para 2-5(b) of that same order, which requires block 4 to state the name and address where the tag is issued;

(2) There is no restriction in Order 8130.21H that forbids a DAR from operating out of his or her home, even when reviewing parts that belong to a distributor;

(3) Many DARs are both semi-retired and aged, so it is not unusual for many of them to operate out of their home offices,

(4) When the DAR operates out of his or her home office, the distributor must bring the parts to the DAR for review prior to issue of the tag; and,

(5) Order 8130.21H requires that the 8130-3 state where the tag was issued, so it is supposed to list the DAR’s home office address, if that is where the tag was issued.

The recent language is already causing problems for several distributors, whose DARs feel that they can no longer accept and review parts at their home offices.

ASA has brought this to the attention of FAA management, and they rapidly pledged to examine the situation.

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Export 8130-3s No Longer Need (Country) Destination Designation

The FAA has published a new policy memo (AIR100-16-110-DM04) that changes the way that the FAA treats export 8130-3 tags.  This policy memo will alter export 8130-3 tags so that they no longer identify the specific destination country.  An additional policy memo specifies that so-called “Domestic Tags” do not need to be so-identified.

The Problem

The industry has had problems with export 8130-3 tags for many years.  The typical export 8130-3 tag will identify a destination country.  This becomes a problem when the parties want to re-export the article to a third nation.

Here is an example.  It is not unusual to establish a forward stocking warehouse to hold inventory destined to be distributed in a particular part of the world.  Let’s say that the warehouse is in Singapore.  Parts bound for this Singapore warehouse would bear 8130-3 tags that specify that they meet the special import requirements of Singapore.  But the Singapore warehouse will be used to supply parts to customers in other nations, like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Viet Nam.  These parts are sometimes rejected because they name Singapore as the destination rather than any of the other nations.  Replacing the Singapore 8130-3 tags with tags naming other destinations is a needless expense that adds no safety value to the transactions.

The State of the Industry

If you go back to the 1963 NPRM that established the rules for export airworthiness approvals, you will see that the original intent of the tag was to facilitate export transactions.  The FAA has recognized that this current process adds no value, and that 8130-3 tags are impeding transactions, rather than facilitating them.

The FAA has found that the current practice of including the specific destination information and the word “EXPORT” on the tag impedes global trade, explaining:

“Requiring this statement needlessly complicates the issuance of the tag and hinders the global shipment of engines, propellers, and articles, especially when they are exported multiple times.”

The FAA has examined the European system, in which the manufacturers issue EASA Form One themselves, and there is a single EASA Form One (there is no distinction that creates a separate export EASA Form one).  The FAA has recognized that this system appears to work better than having distinct export 8130- 3 tags that name a destination country.

The Solution

The FAA has issued a Deviation Memo that eliminates the destination country from the export 8130-3 tag.  The Memo does more than permit dropping the destination from the tag – it actually directs that those who complete 8130-3 tags for articles should NOT include the specific export information:

“• Do not use the statement, “Export airworthiness approval – This article meets the special requirements of (enter country),” from paragraph 4-5 L(9), in block 12.
• Do not use the statements in Appendix A, Figures A-14, A-15, A-16, and A-17 (“Export airworthiness approval – This article meets the special requirements of (enter country)” and “EXPORT.”
• Do not use the statement, “Export airworthiness approval. No special import
requirements for [enter name of country or jurisdiction] stated at time of issuance,” from paragraph 4-5 L(10), in block 12.
• An exporter must continue to include any other statements required by FAA Order 8130.21 and the applicable bilateral agreements.”

The above-quoted language is specific to articles, but similar language is published in the Deviation Memo that applies to engines and propellers, as well.  The language represents a devisation from FAA Order 8130.21H.  It is effective as of June 24, 2016.

ASA members will want to ensure that they communicate with their global business partners to educate them about this change.  At first, there may be some reluctance to accept the new 8130-3 tags, but a review of the new FAA Deviation Memo will show trading partners that the FAA no longer permits inclusion of the language that historically has designated a destination nation.

“Domestic Shipment Only”

In a similar vein, on June 28 the FAA issued a policy memo (AIR100-16-110-PM04) that forbade parties from stating “domestic shipment only” or “not an export approval” on the 8130-3 tag.

“This memorandum provides clarification on the use of “domestic shipment only” and “not an export approval” in block 12 of FAA Form 8130-3 (hereafter, tags). Inspectors, designees, delegated organizations, and persons authorized in accordance with a production approval holder’s approved quality system to issue tags are directed to not add “domestic shipment only” and “not an export approval” to block 12.”

This language impeded subsequent exports; many people thought that this language was meant to prevent a subsequent export.  Use of this sort of language also ignored the original purpose of the “domestic tag” which was to facilitate export for parties who were unable at the time to apply for export 8130-3 tags (it circumvented a regulatory anomaly that prevented distributors from applying for export 8130-3 tags – the exporting distributor was expected to ensure compliance with the importing nation’s special import requirements).  For a short time, this limiting language actually appeared in an earlier version of Order 8130.21.  ASA sought clarification from FAA Management at the time and FAA Management confirmed that the inclusion of that language had been a mistake, because it contradicted the original purpose of the domestic tag.

ASA members who encounter parties who want to print “domestic shipment only” or “not an export approval” in block 12 of FAA Form 8130-3, should draw the issuing party’s attention to this policy memo.

8130-3 Tag Uses

I recently fielded a question about whether the 8130-3 tag can be used issued for new parts made under foreign production approval.  Generally, the 8130-3 is issued as an airworthiness approval only for parts produced under US (FAA) production approval, so the short answer to this question is “no.”  This limit is found in FAA Order 8130.21H (and its predecessors).

It is easy to see how confusion about this issue arises.  The 8130-3 (like the EASA Form One) has multiple uses.  It can be used as an airworthiness approval (left side signature) or an approval for return to service (right side signature).  And both historical usage and current usage create a series of loopholes and exceptions.

Airworthiness Approval – Left Side Signature

When you are looking at a left side signature, you have several options.  One is to use the 8130-3 as a true airworthiness approval.  When the the 8130-3 is used as a true airworthiness approval, it can only be issued for parts manufactured under FAA production approval.  Current rules only permit the form to be issued in this way by the FAA (including the FAA’s designees).  Many people mistakenly believe that production approval holders or even “OEMs” issue 8130-3 tags.  In fact, it is FAA designees who are located at (and/or employed by) those manufacturers that actually issue the 8130-3 tags.

Several rules should be applied as a consequence of the limits on 8130-3 tags:

  • 8130-3 tags can only be issued as airworthiness approvals for parts manufactured under FAA production approval.
  • Non-FAA production approval is inadequate to support the 8130-3 as an airworthiness approval
  • STC only, without PMA, TSOA or PC, is inadequate
  • Parts made under non-approved mechanisms (like standard parts) but subsequently run through a production approval holder’s system may be eligible for 8130-3 (usually this entails a part number change to differentiate the production approval parts from normal standard parts)

There are some good policy reasons for issuing 8130-3 tags for foreign-produced parts that are considered to be “approved” upon import under the terms of a US bilateral agreement, but that is not the current FAA policy, so it is not (yet) permitted.

A second option is to obtain the 8130-3 as an export airworthiness approval.  The difference between the domestic 8130-3 and the export 8130-3 is that the export 8130-3 tag also certifies compliance to special import qualifications of the importing country (note that very few aircraft parts have special import conditions so in practice the export 8130-3 tag is often based on the exact same findings as the domestic 8130-3 tag).  Export airworthiness approvals are often issued to aftermarket distributors, so they are frequently issued based on review of the part and any documentation associated with the part.  For example, a review of the part may show it to be a typical part from a production certificate holder, with the production certificate holder’s markings, and air carrier documentation may show it to have been a new part that was surplussed by the air carrier from their inventory.  This (combined with an inspection of the part to confirm it has not suffered damage or degradation) may be a sufficient basis for issuing the export 8130-3 tag.

A third option is to use the 8130-3 tag as a record of data approval for a prototype (compliance to non-FAA-approved data) but this is generally for internal tracking and does not apply to parts being released to the industry for sale. FAA guidance clearly states that the 8130-3 tag cannot be used to export a prototype part.  Prototype parts pending certification under an FAA project number are not eligible for installation on in-service, type-certificated aircraft; but upon approval of the applicable design data and completion of an inspection to validate (1) conformity to that approved design data and (2) condition for safe operation, that part may be considered new.

Note that it is common for US suppliers of components to obtain FAA-PMA (production approval) for their components so as to be able to issue 8130-3 tags for the export of those parts to a European manufacturer.  The parts are approved under US law because of the PMA, even if the European approvals for the higher level assembly have not yet been issued.  For example, there are US suppliers to Airbus who have contracts with Airbus that allow them to get PMA by licensing agreement based on the Airbus TC, and in turn are therefore able to obtain 8130-3 tags for the export of those parts to Airbus.

Approval for Return to Service – Right Side Signature

The 8130-3 tag can also be used as an approval for return to service.  You can distinguish this use by the right side signature.  When it is signed on the right side, you CAN certify compliance to non-US maintenance standards (e.g. when a repair station issues a dual certification to both FAA and EASA maintenance standards).  This is a source of confusion, because many peple in the industry see dual certified parts on the approval for return to service side of the form, and think that the same thing can be done on the left hand signature side of the form (it cannot under current policy).

Got 8130-3 Questions?

For over 20 years I have been involved in the development of the 8130-3 and its instruction in Order 8130.21, as well as the harmonization of the form with EASA’s and TCCA’s corollaries; so if you have 8130-3 questions, then please feel free to call my office to discuss it further and perhaps we can find  away to get you to the end state that you want to achieve!

FAA Proposes Changes to the 8130 Instructions

The FAA has released the latest version of the Order 8130.21 to the public for comment.  DRAFT Order 8130.21H makes a number of organizational changes.  The new Order creates a new Appendix, re-formats the FAA Form 8130-3 to reflect international agreements, deletes or modifies superfluous language, adds a new note describing use of the word “should” throughout the Order (with important record keeping and application ramifications), adds a new section pertaining to EASA approvals for return-to-service, and addresses rebuilds in a new way.  The following  list summarizes the proposed changes.

  • Section 1-1.c. adds a new note that states the use of the word “should” in the Order refers to a recommended practice.  When the word “should” appears, the associated activity is not a requirement; therefore a record of completion of the activity is not required.  Section 2-1.b. applies the word “should,” indicating use of FAA Form 8100-1 is a recommended practice, but not required.
  • Order 8130.21H creates a new appendix, labeled Appendix A.  Appendix A collects all Sample FAA Form 8130-3’s and puts them in one place.  In the previous Order, the sample forms were dispersed throughout the Order.  The samples in Appendix A are re-numbered “Figure A-1,” “Figure A-2,” etc.  In the previous Order, the Figure number corresponded to the Chapter of the Order in which they appeared, e.g., Chapter 2, Figure 2-1; Chapter 3, Figure 3-1.
  • The new Order also makes slight changes to the formatting of FAA Form 8130-3.  The new form eliminates “Block 9. Eligibility.”  Previously, this block remained but was “N/A” in most uses of the form.  All of the following Blocks are incremented, e.g., “Block 10. Quantity” becomes “Block 9. Quantity,” and so forth (so the comment block will become known as “block 12”).  The new Order re-numbers the signature blocks to be consistent with EASA Form One numbering format, so the left-hand signature blocks 14-18 become Blocks 13(a)-13(e), and the right-hand signature blocks 19-23 are renumbered as Blocks 14(a)-14(e).
  • The new Order changes the Date format in Blocks 13(e) and 14(e) from Month-Day-Year format to Day-Month-Year format, which reflects EASA Form One norms, but represents the opposite  of ISO date format.
  • Chapter 3 of the new Order removes a Note from Section 3-1.b. that explained why rebuilt products and articles might not be found acceptable by some European countries.  The Order adds a new Section 3-5 entitled “Approval for Return to Service Information Relevant to the European Union.”  Section 3-5.a. explains that European Civil Aviation Authorities may recognize approval for return-to-service FAA Form 8130-3 only from 145 repair stations or air carriers that also obtained an EASA part 145 approval appropriately rated for the product or article at the time it was approved for return to service.  Section 3-5.a.(2) gives specific instructions for completing FAA Form 8130-3 when a dual release is being applied to satisfy a European CAA (Euopean-created dual release) or EASA (extra-European dual release).
  • Section 3-5.b. addresses FAA Form 8130-3 for rebuilt engines within the European Union.  Section 3-5.b.(1) gives brief background information on the aviation safety agreement between the U.S. and EU.  The agreement allows for reciprocal acceptance of FAA and EASA certification and oversight of civil aviation products and repair stations.  EASA now recognizes the term “Rebuilt Engines” as a manufacturing certification practice, not a maintenance release by the FAA.  The agreement also places the same import requirements on rebuilt engines that are on new aircraft engines.  3-5.b.(2) gives specific instruction for completing FAA Form 8130-3.
  • Section 4-3 is renamed “Used Products and Articles” and updates the section to correspond to 14 C.F.R. § 21.331(c) & (d).  Export airworthiness approvals for used aircraft engines, propellers, and articles are issued in accordance with § 21.331(c). If a used engine or propeller does not meet the requirements, § 21.331(d) allows for deviation if the importing jurisdiction accepts the deviation in a form and manner acceptable to the FAA.  The deviation must be listed in Block 12. Remarks as an exception between the used aircraft engine or propeller from its approved design.
  • Chapter 5 excises references to “ATA Spec 2000” and “Chapter 16, Electronic Product and Part Regulatory Documentation.”  Section 5-3 excises parts (c) and (d) that described technical aspects of extensible markup language (XML).  Section 5-4 “Data Requirements” is deleted.  Subsequent sections are re-numbered.  Section 5-7 excises XML code samples.
  • Section 5-6.a. & b. replace “part/component/assembly” with “engine/propeller/article.”  Section 5-7 is reworded to reflect the elimination of XML code samples and direct the reader to Appendix A for examples of uses of Electronic FAA Form 8130-3.  Section 5-8 re-labels the sample letter of intent to use electronic FAA Form 8130-3 from Figure 5-5 to Figure 5-1.
  • Appendix B (formerly Appendix A) Acronyms adds the acronyms APIS (approved production inspection system) and TIPS (Technical Implementation Procedures) and deletes the acronym TEI (Text Element Identifier).

There is a lot for the industry to review and consider in this draft, and not all of the changes will be met with industry enthusiasm.  This is a draft on which ASA members are likely to see a need for comments.

Comments are due January 17, 2012.  They can be sent to the FAA by email to:  grant.schneemann@faa.gov  or by mail to:

Grant Schneemann
Federal Aviation Administration
950 L’Enfant Plaza SW (Fifth Floor)
Washington, DC 20024

Please send a copy of your comments to ASA, as well.

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