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.


Discussing 8130-3 Tag Issues – an update on the MAG rev. 5

Today, ASA met with the FAA to discuss issues related to the 8130-3 tag, especially as related to the new guidance in the Maintenance Annex Guidance revision five.

As many of you know, revision five of the MAG created a host of new problems for the industry.  Most of the problems arose in the Supplements.  The Supplements are supposed to be sample documents that describe what a supplement could look like.  But unfortunately, many FAA inspectors have told dual certified (FAA/EASA Part 145) repair stations that they may not diverge from the sample supplements, which means that the supplements are being enforced as if they were de facto regulations.

The FAA and EASA both agree that many of these problems were inadvertent mistakes.  They have said that many of these problems will be corrected in a soon-to-be-issued revision six.  Examples of the issues to be corrected include:

  • MAG 5 would require repair stations to only accept new parts listed in type certificate holder’s parts catalog.  The type certificate holder’s parts catalog is a commercial document.  Independently-marketed parts, like aftermarket TSOAs and PMAs, will not be listed in the type certificate holder’s parts catalog.  Furthermore, the type certificate holders’ parts catalogs are notorious for being out-of-date.  This means that newer OEM replacement parts may not yet be in the catalog.  But also, as the parts catalogs are updated to reflect changes in suppliers, perfectly good FAA-approved parts may no longer be listed in the online parts catalog if the supplier has been superseded.  For all of these reasons, this was not appropriate guidance, and the FAA and EASA have agreed to remove it.
  • MAG 5 would require repair stations to only accept new parts when accompanied by a PAH 8130-3 tag.  This eliminates from consideration parts bearing a DAR 8130-3 tag.  For pre-existing parts in a distributor’s inventory, there might be no legal way to obtain a PAH 8130-3 tag.  FAA and EASA have agreed that it was never their intention to eliminate other forms of 8130-3 tags from consideration.

The problems are also far-reaching because FAA field inspectors have told some dual-certified repair stations that they can only have one receiving standard – thus all parts received for any purpose must meet the EASA requirements as well as the MAG rev. 5 requirements.  This is their interpretation of the MAG rev. 5 requirements.  We addressed this issue to Tim Shaver and Tony Janco from FAA Headquarters (at today’s meeting) and they insist that this interpretation is wrong.  A dual-certified repair station is permitted to accept parts that meet only US standards (and not EASA standards) if it intends to use the part on a US-registered (“N-registered”) aircraft.

But some of the issues are proving more difficult to address.  For example, while accepting parts with US-acceptable traceability for N-registered aircraft is a straightforward issue, repair stations that perform component-level work and intend to tag the components with a dual-certified 8130-3 tag (both FAA and EASA) for approval for return to service are left in a much more ambiguous place when they ask whether they can accept a part that meets US airworthiness standards (but that fails to meet EASA documentation standards).  FAA is interested in providing better guidance in this area, but needs to coordinate with EASA on such guidance.

One of the problems with the MAG language is that it is based on the assumption that all U.S. production approval holders will begin issuing 8130-3 tags with their new parts.  This is a new privilege that is available to U.S. production approval holders.  The privilege is optional, though, so a number of production approval holders will simply not issue 8130-3 tags.  This means that there is even more of a burden for distributors to obtain 8130-3 tags now that this is being enforced by FAA field inspectors as a de facto receipt requirement for domestic repair stations.

One of the documents that the FAA has issued to help interpret this is FAA Order 8900.360.  This Order explains that FAA and EASA have agreed to extend the implementation date of the Sample Supplement language to October 1, 2016 (this had previously been extended to April 1). For ASA members, there is some very important safe harbor language that explains that existing inventory does not need 8130-3 tags:

In addition, both authorities have agreed that parts released by a PAH prior to October 1, 2016, will not be required to be accompanied by an FAA Form 8130-3.

The problem with this language is that it requires Production Approval Holder (PAH) documentation with a date:

Note: New parts currently in inventory must, at a minimum, have a document or statement (containing the same technical information as an FAA Form 8130-3) issued by the PAH or supplier with direct ship authority. The parts currently in inventory and documented with the required information will be grandfathered and remain suitable for installation into EU articles provided the date on the document is prior to October 1, 2016. Annex 1 provisions of the agreement regarding the export of parts remain unchanged (i.e., parts that are exported to a customer under the regulatory jurisdiction of the EU will require the export certification as detailed in the Technical Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness (TIP) independent from the aforementioned grandfathering provision). All other provisions of the MAG, Change 5, will remain in effect. [emphasis added]

Many new parts in existing distributors inventories do not meet this requirement.  The part may have come from an air carrier’s inventory, and bear air carrier certification that it was received as a new airworthy part. It also could bear PAH tags, packaging, and even inspection stamps that help to verify that it is a PAH part, but none of these might be dated (dates on such packaging and labels are not often found unless the article is subject to shelf-life-limits).  This isa new requirement, so many existing airworthy parts simply do not meet this requirement.

The FAA was very open to correcting the perceived problems in the documentation requirements.  Tim Shaver confirmed that the grandfathered-parts should have traceability consistent with current industry standards.  He was open to ASA’s proposal that ASA members should be permitted to validate a part’s eligibility for grandfathering based on whether the part was known to exist before October 1, 2016 (e.g. if it was in the distributor’s inventory).  This is one of the targeted solutions we are pursuing.

But the biggest problem with the imposition of new documentation standards – the most significant frustration for distributors – is that there appears to be no thought being given to developing a systemic approach to documentation based on the airworthiness needs of the authorities and the industry.  many of the changes add no safety value.  Despite the lack of safety value, they are adding cost and frustration to the industry.  Perhaps most frustrating of all, the documentation changes imposed by the FAA-EASA agreements threaten to devalue existing inventories.  They do this by imposing requirements that are not supported with an adequate foundation (e.g. inadequate sources for the documentation).  Distributors need a way to easily obtain the documentation when it is warranted and the part is eligible (because it is demonstrably airworthy).

The FAA is sympathetic.  Dan Elgas of the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service agrees that issuing the 8130-3 tag for a part with evidence of airworthiness is an administrative task. It should not require a designee when it is based on an existing production quality system.  He felt that the current ODA provisions reflect too much burden when the 8130-3 tag is issued in a production environment.

Scott Geddie is the Manager of the FAA’s Delegation and Organizational Procedures Section.  He explained that the FAA is open to the idea of limiting the FAA’s involvement only to what the FAA needs to do. “If the FAA doesn’t need to be involved then we should step away,” he said.

One place where there is some room for positive change is in the FAA’s detailed treatment of export 8130-3 tags.  Many people are frustrated with the situation where the tag names a country-destination, but then the part needs to be shipped to another destination.  We asked the FAA whether we could list more than one destination on an 8130-3 tag if the part compliaed with the special import requirements of each country (many DARs have been told “no” by FAA inspectors on this point).  The FAA said that it has already discussed this issue and Dan Elgas suggested that the FAA is willing to entirely remove the requirement for country specific (destination) language on the 8130-3. He agrees that this is the exporters responsibility and not the 8130-3 tag’s responsibility.

There is still much work to be done, but we are starting to move things in the right direction.  I hope to provide other updates, soon!

Can a Production Approval Holder (PAH) Issue a New 8130-3 Tag for a Part?

One of ASA’s members called us about an interesting issue. He asked whether a production approval holder could accept a new part back into its quality system, check it to confirm that it still conforms to the FAA-approved design, and then obtain a new 8130-3 tag for the part. The short answer is “Yes,” a manufacturer can obtain a fresh 8130-3 tag, as long as it meets the requirements specified in FAA guidance.

In the 1990s there was much discussion among the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) about the issue of parts being returned to production approval holders. The prevailing wisdom in those days was that once a part left a production approval holder’s quality system, it could not re-enter the quality system. Production approval holders wanted the ability to be able bring certain (new, unused) parts back into their quality system for certain limited purposes. This gave rise to a string of guidance changes that permitted new, unused parts to be returned back into a production quality system under limited circumstances.

The operative guidance currently resides in FAA Order 8130.21 paragraph 2-9. This guidance explains that a production approval holder may take the following steps in order to receive a part and make it eligible for a new 8130-3 tag.

  • The received article must have been produced by the production approval holder, under the production approval;
  • The received article must be returned to the production approval holder in new, unused condition;
  • The production approval holder must have a procedure for accepting articles back into its quality system (after having been released from the system);
  • The production approval holder must perform tests and inspections (in accordance with procedures contained in the its quality system) to determine the returned article still meets the original FAA-approved design under which it was produced and that the article is still in a condition for safe operation;

If these conditions are all met, then the article is eligible for a new (domestic airworthiness) 8130- 3 tag. This is a brand new 8130-3 tag, and it would replace any previous tag.

Note that although the title of the FAA guidance uses the word “reissuance,” the guidance does not require that a prior 8130-3 tag have been issued.  Thus, a past part that was released to the industry without an 8130-3 tag could be eligible for a new 8130-3 tag if it met the conditions, above.

It  is important to recognize that the production approval holder’s tests and inspections are the same sort of tests and inspections described in 14 C.F.R. § 21.137(e) (requiring inspection and test procedures to ensure that each article conforms to its approved design). They are not the sort of tests and inspections authorized in Part 43, and this language in the order does not authorize a production approval holder to perform Part 43-regulated work except to the extent that it is already authorized under 14 C.F.R. § 43.3(j) (rebuilds and alterations).

If a prior 8130-3 tag was returned with the article, then the originator should retain that form on file with (or have reference to) the new 8130-3 tag. The originator is the FAA-designee or organization designation authorization (ODA) holder who signed the prior 8130-3 tag. This is a slight change from prior revisions levels of the guidance, which recommended that the production approval holder retain the prior 8130-3 tag.

This is not new guidance. It was originally published in Revision “D” of order 8130.21, in 2004. Before that time, it was normal for the manufacturing community to believe that once a part had left the production approval holder’s quality system, it could not return to the quality system for a new tag unless the original tag had been lost. The guidance did permit an article to be returned to the production approval holder for replacement of a lost tag (which resulted in an abnormally high number of “lost” tags).

When would a manufacturer want to receive parts and reissue a new 8130-3 tag? The 2004 publication provided examples (which were subsequently stripped in order to clarify that the examples were not the only permissible circumstances). The examples proposed were in overstock situations (a distributor or airline wanted to return unneeded articles) or return of a wrong part number (either the customer ordered the wrong article or the manufacturer sent the wrong article). In either case, the manufacturer may wish to create a ‘fresh’ tag for the next customer to take the part, and that ‘fresh’ tag can be authorized under section 2-9 of Order 8130.21H.

What if you need an export 8130-3 tag? That is no problem. The export 8130-3 tag can be issued as a follow-on to the domestic tag, using normal procedures for issuing an export 8130-3 tag.

8130-3 Tag: “For Domestic Shipments Only”

One of our members recently contacted us about an 8130-3 tag that states “for domestic shipments only.”  What does this language mean?

The language on this 8130-3 tag, “Airworthiness Approval – for domestic shipments only,” was language recommended for a short time many years ago in the Order 8130.21 guidance. At the time that it was placed in the guidance, we met with the FAA and pointed out that this language has no regulatory basis and did not make sense. They removed it from subsequent revisions of the guidance.

A ‘domestic’ 8130-3 tag documents a finding of regulatory compliance under United States (FAA) regulations.  Thus, the seemingly-limiting language that says “for domestic shipments only” really has no legal effect, because it does not change the fact that a finding of regulatory compliance under FAA regulations has been made, and neither the FAA nor any FAA designee has the power to prevent a part from being exported by virtue of language on an 8130-3 tag.

There is some marginal informational value to such language, in that it means that the designee who issue the tag clearly has not investigated the special import conditions of any particular nation associated with the part. But this value is only marginal value for several reasons:

  • First, this is implicit in any domestic tag.  Such tags are not ‘domestic’ in the sense that they inhibit export (a power that the FAA does not have).  Rather, they are ‘domestic’ in the sense that they only reflect a finding of compliance with domestic (US) regulatory standards.  There is no requirement nor recommendation in current FAA guidance that this additional language be added to ‘domestic’ 8130-3 tags;
  • Second, an export 8130-3 tag is supposed to include export language in the remarks block (block 12, as of the changes in the “H” revision of FAA Order 8130.21);
  • Third, many foreign nations do not impose additional “special import conditions” on parts (usually the special import requirements are imposed on aircraft) and thus there may be no practical difference between a domestic and “export” 8130-3; determining whether to accept the “domestic” tag as sufficient is a question to be answered by the importing country.

Where do we find these special import requirements?  Usually, you need to look in two places – the formal special import conditions are listed in AC 21-2L, but you also need to check any additional “agreed-upon” requirements found in a bilateral agreement.  For example, the  EASA special import conditions apply conditions to new and used (complete) aircraft but not to aircraft parts.  Special requirements associated with aircraft parts are found in the bilateral technical implementation procedures.  You can find the applicable special import requirements of Europe and FAA-EASA Technical Implementation Procedures online.

Where you have a validated design that is identical in both the US and Europe, the certification requirements of 5.1.8 of the FAA-EASA BASA Technical Implementation Procedures might be met by a domestic airworthiness approval document, although such a document may not meet the “export language” requirements of FAA Order 8130.21H.

ASA Files Formal Comments with the FAA on the Instructions for Completing the 8130-3 Tag

The rules for completing the 8130-3 tag are being revised.  Draft Order 8130.21H (the instructions for completing the 8130-3) was recently released for comment, and ASA filed substantial comments on the new draft in order to help improve it.

The guidance for completion of the FAA Form 8130-3 tag makes some substantive changes in an effort to align with the results of ongoing harmonization efforts between the United States and the European Union, as well as the completion of the Technical Implementation Procedures that correspond to the U.S.-EU bilateral agreement that went into effect May 1, 2011.  We offered our comments on three issues we identified in hopes of clarifying issues that have become, or may become, stumbling blocks to the documentation and traceability system.

Some participants in the aviation industry have been running into problems with obtaining export approvals on products also granted domestic airworthiness approval.  We observed and commented that the guidance for obtaining domestic airworthiness approval had transitioned, without explanation, from a permissive rule requiring additional steps to ensure export approval, to a rigid forbidding of export approval.  We commented that such a reading was improper, and that although a domestic airworthiness approval did not by itself constitute an export approval, neither did it preclude the possibility of obtaining export approval, as some had interpreted.

We also commented that with the implementation of the U.S.-EU bilateral, the requirement that an exporter comply with a “specific country’s special import requirements” had become misleading.  This is because under the Bilateral, EASA assumes oversight over the EU Member States’ import requirements.  This has the effect of both improving uniformity and harmonization, but also of rendering specific countries’ import requirements illusory.  We recommended clarifying this by adding an “agency’s” special requirements are satisfied.

Finally, we commented that the new classification of Rebuilt Engines as a manufacturing practice instead of a maintenance release not only swept an issue of zero-timing rebuilds under the rug, but also worked a disadvantage against small businesses by encouraging European customers to seek out only major manufacturers—the only ones allowed to do rebuilds—at the expense of smaller businesses providing equally effective overhauls.  Most importantly, the proposal ignores the existing regulatory authority for rebuilding, which is derived from Part 43 (the maintenance regulations) and not from Part 21 (the manufacturing instructions).  Our comments were designed to avoid a mismatch between the guidance and the regulations.

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