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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DAR Privileges, During the Shutdown

We have been receiving queries about what the Government Shutdown means for DARs who issue 8130-3 tags.  The Government Shutdown began Friday night after midnight, when the appropriations continuing resolution expired.

Some people have received notification that their DAR needs pre-approval from their FAA Advisor before doing any DAR work; in the absence of working FAA employees, such pre-approval may be impossible. This means that those DARs may be unable to function during the shutdown because of the absence of FAA employees to issue such pre-approval.

But this does not mean that all DARs are inhibited in this way.  In fact, many DARs should be able to issue 8130-3 tags during the government shutdown.

What is the Legal Effect of the Shutdown?

The U.S. Constitution limits the ability of the government to use funds by stating that money can only be spent if it is permitted under an “Appropriation.”

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time. U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 9, Clause 7

The government is shut down because the government no longer has the authority to spend funds (because the appropriated funding from the most recent continuing resolution ran out on Friday, January 19).

The continuing resolutions that have been discussed in the press have appropriated funds for temporary periods, in order to keep the government functioning at its prior appropriated levels during the temporary funding period. Congress did not pass any sort of extension by the deadline, so the U.S. Government no longer has authority to spend money.

The government shutdown does not mean that the government can’t function – it means that the government can’t spend money.  DARs do not draw any appropriated funds from the U.S. Treasury for their DAR activities, and thus their activities are not curtailed merely as a consequence of the government shutdown.

What Rules Apply to DARs?

There are other rules that apply to DARs that might curtail their activities, or some of their activities, depending on the specific written authority that they’ve been granted.

FAA guidance explains that:

“DARs may perform authorized functions only within the limits of their authority.” FAA Order 8100.8D – Designee Management Handbook ¶ 1410(b).

DARs cannot perform functions outside the authority.  So if you couldn’t perform a function before the shutdown, you still cannot do it during the shutdown.  This also means that if the DAR’s written instructions required him or her to obtain FAA-Advisor approval before beginning a project, that the government shutdown may inhibit that DAR from starting new projects (due to lack of pre-approval).  Similarly if the DAR received appropriate approval before the shutdown (e.g. on Friday the 19th), then the DAR would still be eligible ,

The same FAA guidance also explains that the FAA needs to obtain authorization before accepting “certification or inspection activity.”

“DARs must contact their managing office for authorization BEFORE accepting any certification or inspection activity requested by an applicant and obtain any special directions or instructions deemed necessary.” FAA Order 8100.8D – Designee Management Handbook ¶ 1410(c).

This means that DARs need be authorized to perform DAR work before they start it.  For projects involving complete aircraft, this can mean going back to the FAA Advisor for each aircraft, which permits the FAA Advisor to review any special conditions applicable to that aircraft.  But typically, DARs are provided with general authorization to issue 8130-3 tags for articles, and the DAR’s instructions will be issued with that general authorization.  It would be extremely impractical for DARs to go back to their FAA advisors for form-by-form instructions for each 8130-3 tag that they issue.  It is not unusual for the FAA to insist on annual or quarterly activity reports showing the 8130-3 tags issued (thus permitting review of the use of the authority as it has been exercised).

DAR Advice

What does this mean for DARs who issue 8130-3 tags for articles?  It means that they should go back to their authorizing documents and ensure that they do not have any restrictions that would forbid exercise of authority during the shutdown.  As long as there is no limitation/prohibition, and as long as the DAR has general authority to issue 8130-3 tags, it should be acceptable for the DAR to continue issuing 8130-3 tags during the government shutdown in the same manner that the DAR did before the shutdown.

For DARs who are exercising authority under the FAA’s policy memos, be sure that you are operating under the authority of the appropriate FAA guidance, including the policy memos, which impose additional limits beyond those in the FAA Orders.  For more on this authority, see our past articles:

And also be sure to review the FAA’s policy memo guidance and remain in compliance with the terms and conditions found therein:

Limited DARs (DAR-56): Apply for Function Code 19 NOW! The Deadline to Apply is January 2, 2018!

We have written previously in this space about the importance of current Limited DARs (L-DAR-F), also known as DAR-56s, to apply to transition to permanent function code 19 status. If you or a person in your company currently holds DAR-56 privileges and an application for function code 19 has not yet been submitted, that must be done as soon as possible! The deadline to apply for this transition is January 2, 2018.

On October 4, 2017, the FAA issued Memo Number AIR-600-17-6F0-DM08.  The memo outlines the process by which holders of the existing DAR-56 privilege can be issued Function code 19 privileges as the Limited DAR program comes to an end. That limited DAR program is scheduled to end on September 30, 2018. This specific Function Code 19 delegation will be limited to the issuance of domestic airworthiness approvals at the holder’s distributor location. The key benefit of the function code 19 privilege is that it is not subject to the DAR-56 program’s limitation to new parts and articles that were in inventory prior to November 1, 2016.

As we’ve previously written in the blog, the application process is as follows:

For Current DAR-56 Holders

If you currently hold DAR 56 privileges, then you should apply to your local (“geographic”) Manufacturing Inspection District Office (MIDO) for appointment as a DAR-F with function code 19.  You can find your geographic MIDO on the FAA’s website.  Using the “select the state” function at the bottom of the page (but above the blue footer), enter your state where you operate and find which MIDO is your geographic MIDO.

Then, apply to your geographic MIDO using the on-line Designee Management System tool.

In order to be appointed as a DAR-F under this program an applicant must meet the minimum qualifications provided in FAA Order 8000.95. Look within 8000.95 for the criteria – specifically in Volume 1, Chapter 2 and in Volume 8, Chapter 2.

There is one significant difference from the standards found in FAA Order 8000.95 and the transitioning DAR 56s.  That is the experience provision.  Under the FAA memo, the applicant who has applied for a timely transition from DAR 56 privileges does not need to meet the normal 36 month experience  requirement.  Instead, the applicant must

“[h]ave a minimum of 12-months actual working experience for the accredited distributor under the quality system at the accredited distributor location(s), specifically:

a. Experience in either receiving inspection and/or quality assurance processes; and,

b. Experience reviewing documentation and/or part markings which can be used to verify that parts and articles are traceable to the PAH.”

Application checklist:

  • Identify your geographic MIDO;
  • Complete the required FAA training (you will need to submit the training certificate as part of your application package);
  • Obtain a letter of reference from the accredited distributor (signed by someone who can represent the business); a sample can be found in attachment 1 to the memo;
  • Ensure that your application details match those already filed for you under the DAR-56 program;
  • Apply through the DMS system, and include:
    1. Evidence of completion of the required FAA training;
    2. The letter of reference from the accredited distributor;
  • Notify FAA Headquarters that you currently hold function code 56 privileges and that you have filed an online application seeking function code 19 privileges.  Perform this notification by ending an email to the AIR-6F0 mailbox at AIR160-limiteddarf@faa.gov.  AIR-6F0 will notify the appropriate MIDO of the application, and let them know that it is subject to the provisions of the policy memo.

Once this process is complete, if the FAA reviews your package and finds that you can be transitioned to function code 19, then they will cancel your DAR 56 privileges and assign function code 19 privileges for issuing 8130-3 tags.  Don’t just rely on this checklist – be sure to study the policy memo!

Once you get the new function code privileges, you should expect that you will be limited to only exercising the privilege at the accredited facilities of the AC 00-56 accredited distributor.  This is not a “portable” credential, because it relies on the distributor’s AC 00-56B system as part of the basis for knowing that the part is in an appropriate condition to receive an 8130-3 tag.

For Those Without DAR-56 Privileges:

We advised all of our members to obtain DAR-56 privileges.  But we recognize that some members did not–or were not able to–follow this advice.  We also recognize that some function code 56 holders may allow the 90 day period to come and go without filing their application to transition.

If you do not hold DAR-56 privileges, or if you waited too long, then there is still a path!

The new guidance permits other persons to apply for function code 19 privileges under the terms of the memo; however such applicants are not entitled to the same presumptions enjoyed by transitioning DAR-56 holders.  If you fall into this category, then you will only be considered if the MIDO can independently establish that the FAA has a need and ability to manage the delegation; this means that you are going to need to convince the MIDO!  You also need to meet conditions that are comparable to those imposed on DAR 56 applicants.  You will still benefit from the alternative experience requirement (12 months experience with the quality system of the accredited distributor).

The Limited DAR program has been a useful tool to work through some of the challenges created by MAG 6. ASA has worked closely with the FAA to develop solutions to help distributors and their repair station customers continue to receive parts that did not enter inventory with an 8130-3 tag. This has included working with the FAA to develop the program initially, and having it extended until September 30, 2018. But the program was never intended to be a permanent solution. It is therefore absolutely critical to apply to transition your DAR-56 privileges to Function Code 19 privileges AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  Remember, the deadline to apply is January 2, 2018!

Does a Dual-Certificated Part 145 Repair Station Need Documentation for Parts, or Can It Inspect Them, Prior to Installation?

An ASA member recently asked us to answer a MAG 6 question.  MAG 6 refers to revision 6 of the Maintenance Annex Guidance between the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency.

QUESTION: The ASA member (a dual-certificated repair stations subject to the MAG 6 requirements) asked “Concerning USED replacement parts intended to be fitted to an engine during the maintenance process, does EASA expect every single one of those items installed during the maintenance process to have a dual-release 8130-3, dual-release TC Form One, or dual/tri-release EASA Form one with it assuming it is not a standard part?  (Reference item 10, Section B, Appendix 1 from US-EU Mag, Chang 6)”

ANSWER: The short answer is that a dual-certificated (part 145) repair station in the US generally need specified documentation for used parts intended to be fitted during maintenance, BUT such a repair station can accept a part without the specified documentation if it inspects the part under FAA Notice 8900.429.

First of all, the reader should note that MAG 6 is DIFFERENT from the EASA regulations and therefore an answer under MAG 6 might be different from the answer to a similar question posed purely under EASA regulations.

MAG 6 explains that when a repair station wants to install used components, those components must meet the following conditions before they are fitted during maintenance:

  • Must be in a satisfactory condition for installation;
  • Must be eligible for installation as stated in the PAH parts catalogue or aviation authority (AA) approval document (like a FAA-PMA supplement);
  • Must include one of these authorized release documents (as a maintenance release for a used component) from an appropriately rated maintenance facility:
    • FAA Form 8130-3 from EASA-approved U.S.-based 14 CFR part 145 repair stations;
    • EASA Form 1 from EASA Part-145 approved maintenance organizations not located in the U.S.
    • Canadian Form 1 from a Canadian EASA-approved maintenance organization;
  • In the case of life limited parts, the life used must be appropriately documented.

The FAA recognized that there are significant problems with this language.  It simply doesn’t cover all of the normal situations typically found in the industry.  So the FAA issued FAA Notice 8900.380 (which expired in 2017), followed by FAA Notice 8900.429 (which effectively extended the policy published in Notice 8900.380).  Each of these Notices permits new and used parts to be inspected by a properly rated repair station (notwithstanding the apparent limitations of MAG 6).  The repair station should have appropriate inspection criteria for conducting the inspection.

FAA Notice 8900.429 will expire August 8, 2018, and is expected to be encompassed in permanent guidance before that date.  If this Notice has not been replaced by appropriate guidance by next summer, then ASA will likely petition to have a third Notice issued in order to protect the industry’s ability to accept and use airworthy parts.

So, in summary, a dual-certificated repair station in the U.S. (and subject to MAG 6) receiving used components that are intended to be fitted during maintenance must either (1) receive them with an appropriate 8130-3, EASA Form 1 or TCCA Form 1, or (2) perform an inspection of the parts and find them eligible for installation.

FAA Transitioning Limited DARs to Full-Function DARs

Today, the FAA issued a memo that permits the limited designated airworthiness representatives (DARs) [commonly known as DAR-56s] to transition to normal DARs with function code 19 privileges.  This is a major achievement for ASA’s members!

The Guidance

The new FAA guidance is known as Memo Number AIR-600-17-6F0-DM08.  This memo permits current DAR-56 privilege holders to apply for function code 19 privileges.

The reason for this change is to resolve certain limitation that the FAA now believes are unnecessary.  The first unnecessary limitation involves the date of  receipt of the parts.  DAR-56 privilege holders can only issue 8130-3 where the parts were received by November 1, 2016.  This date was arbitrary, and did not to address the fact that production approval parts are still entering the system from manufactures who do not issue 8130-3 tags.  Transitioning to function code 19 will eliminate this date restriction.

The second issue this resolves is that the DAR-56 program only permits tagging of a very limited slice of parts.  A much broader swath of parts are eligible for 8130-3 tags under current FAA policy.  Function code 19 permits tagging of parts with adequate evidence that they were created by a production approval holder, and have suffered neither damage nor degradation since release from the production approval holder’s quality system.  While this category is subject to FAA guidance, it is still broader than the very narrow limits associated with DAR-56.

The deadline to apply for a smooth transition is 90 days from the date of the memo (Tuesday, 2 January, 2018).

The Process (for DAR 56 holders)

If you currently hold DAR 56 privileges, then you should apply to your local (“geographic”) Manufacturing Inspection District Office (MIDO) for appointment as a DAR-F with function code 19.  You can find your geographic MIDO on the FAA’s website.  Using the “select the state” function at the bottom of the page (but above the blue footer), enter your state where you operate and find which MIDO is your geographic MIDO.

Then, apply to your geographic MIDO using the on-line Designee Management System tool.

In order to be appointed as a DAR-F under this program an applicant must meet the minimum qualifications provided in FAA Order 8000.95. Look within 8000.95 for the criteria – specifically in Volume 1, Chapter 2 and in Volume 8, Chapter 2.

There is one significant difference from the standards found in FAA Order 8000.95 and the transitioning DAR 56s.  That is the experience provision.  Under the FAA memo, the applicant who has applied for a timely transition from DAR 56 privileges does not need to meet the normal 36 month experience  requirement.  Instead, the applicant must

“[h]ave a minimum of 12-months actual working experience for the accredited distributor under the quality system at the accredited distributor location(s), specifically:

a. Experience in either receiving inspection and/or quality assurance processes; and,

b. Experience reviewing documentation and/or part markings which can be used to verify that parts and articles are traceable to the PAH.”

Application checklist:

  • Identify your geographic MIDO;
  • Complete the required FAA training (you will need to submit the training certificate as part of your application package);
  • Obtain a letter of reference from the accredited distributor (signed by someone who can represent the business); a sample can be found in attachment 1 to the memo;
  • Ensure that your application details match those already filed for you under the DAR-56 program;
  • Apply through the DMS system, and include:
    1. Evidence of completion of the required FAA training;
    2. The letter of reference from the accredited distributor;
  • Notify FAA Headquarters that you currently hold function code 56 privileges and that you have filed an online application seeking function code 19 privileges.  Perform this notification by ending an email to the AIR-6F0 mailbox at AIR160-limiteddarf@faa.gov.  AIR-6F0 will notify the appropriate MIDO of the application, and let them know that it is subject to the provisions of the policy memo.

Once this process is complete, if the FAA reviews your package and finds that you can be transitioned to function code 19, then they will cancel your DAR 56 privileges and assign function code 19 privileges for issuing 8130-3 tags.  Don’t just rely on this checklist – be sure to study the policy memo!

Once you get the new function code privileges, you should expect that you will be limited to only exercising the privilege at the accredited facilities of the AC 00-56 accredited distributor.  This is not a “portable” credential, because it relies on the distributor’s AC 00-56B system as part of the basis for knowing that the part is in an appropriate condition to receive an 8130-3 tag.

The Process (for others)

We advised all of our members to obtain DAR-56 privileges.  But we recognize that some members did not follow this advice.  We also recognize that some function code 56 holders may allow the 90 day period to come and go without filing their application to transition.

If you do not hold DAR-56 privileges, or if you waited too long, then there is still a path!

The new guidance permits other persons to apply for function code 19 privileges under the terms of the memo; however such applicants are not entitled to the same presumptions enjoyed by transitioning DAR-56 holders.  If you fall into this category, then you will only be considered if the MIDO can independently establish that the FAA has a need and ability to manage the delegation; this means that you are going to need to convince the MIDO!  You also need to meet conditions that are comparable to those imposed on DAR 56 applicants.  You will still benefit from the alternative experience requirement (12 months experience with the quality system of the accredited distributor).

What About Export Tags?

The FAA has been transitioning away from a distinction between “domestic tags” and “export tags.” They took a major step toward that goal when they issued the memo guidance that explained that 8130-3 tags were no longer allowed to say the word “export.”  For a full discussion of this change, please see our blog post on the subject.

This transition is consistent with international practice, which typically does not distinguish between an “export tag” and a “domestic tag.”

So the future of the 8130-3 tag is that all tags will look the same – whether they are intended for domestic use or non-US use – and there will be no visible difference in the tag for exports.  The exporter is expected to address the special import conditions of the importing nation.  This has been FAA policy for some time, with export compliance obligations falling on the exporter and not on the DAR.

For newly transitioned DARs who are permitted to issue domestic tags under function code 19, this means that the tags will be useful for exports as well as for domestic transactions.

DAR 56? Apply to Extend Your Credentials by September 30!

Do you have function code 56 privileges?  If you do, then you need to renew your credentials ASAP – the deadline for renewal is September 30.  Instructions and other guidance for renewal can be found in our earlier post about submitting your request for renewal.

Background on FC 56

FAA created a program (AIR-100-16-160-PM13) that allowed qualified distributor employees to issue 8130-3 tags as DARs exercising function code (FC) 56.

Many of the eligible new parts had been accepted under their previously acceptable documentation schemes, which were both known and recognized within the industry. ASA argued that under FAA policies (like FAA AC 20-62E), these documents were sufficient to identify a new part and to permit installation, so issuing an 8130-3 tag based on that evidence should be a mere ministerial task. The FAA agreed and created a Limited DAR program (“DAR 56”) in which individuals could obtain the DAR privilege of issuing 8130-3 for parts when the following conditions were met (this is only a partial list):

  1. Individual must work for an accredited distributor, and can only tag parts that were received by the distributor’s accredited system before a certain date (currently November 1, 2016)
  2. Individual must complete FAA training
  3. Part must either bear (1) part markings regulated under 14 C.F.R. § 45.14 [PMA, TSOA and critical parts], (2) a certificate from the manufacturer, confirming that the part was produced under a FAA production approval, or (3) a certificate from the manufacturer’s direct-ship authorized supplier, confirming that the part was produced under a FAA production approval.

The program was scheduled to end on September 30, 2017 but was extended by an additional policy memo (AIR-600-17-6F0-PM01) until 2018.

Discussion with the FAA About the Future of DAR 56

The FAA is considering converting all FC 56 DARs into FC 19 DARs (they will need to apply through normal channels, but the FAA would treat their distribution experience as relevant experience for obtaining Function Code 19 privileges).

If this program goes through, then many of the FC 56 limitations would ‘go away’ and the DARs would be able to use function code 19 to tags other sorts of new parts that have clear indicia of having been produced by US Production Approval Holders.  This could make it easier to handle expendables that have been difficult to get tagged because of their volume and low-cost (relative to the normal cost of obtaining an 8130-3).  It is likely that the converted DARs woud lneed to rely on their AC 00-56 systems as a condition of the exercise of their functions.

This is not yet subject to final approval by FAA management, so it could change!

Advice

If you currently hold Limited DAR credentials under the “DAR 56” program, then

  1. You need to apply to extend your credentials by September 30 – that deadline is coming up fast!! You can find more details here;
  2. Be sure to use your credentials to issue 8130-3 – activity is an important metric when seeking to renew or upgrade your credentials;
  3. We are working with the FAA to permit transfer of your credentials to a permanent DAR with function code 19 (able to issue 8130-3 tags for a wider class of demonstrably airworthy, new parts). We hope to have more news on this, soon!

Important Changes Affecting How YOU Get Your 8130-3 Tags

ASA met with FAA to discuss access to 8130-3 tags.

As you all know, revision 6 of the Maintenance Annex Guidance added a new receiving requirement for aircraft parts: all parts manufactured by US Production Approval Holders (PAHs) must bear 8130-3 tags.  Although the requirement is technically limited to dual-certificated repair stations, it triggered a domino effect that has led many in the global industry to demand 8130-3 tags (sometimes demanding the tags on parts that are ineligible for such tags).

This effectively froze inventories of new (airworthy) PAH parts that bore documentation other than the 8130-3 (e.g. parts with manufacturer’s Certificates of Conformity, parts with back-to-birth traceability, etc.).  The small supply of DARs and high prices for 8130-3 tags relative to the cost of new expendables created a situation that was difficult to remedy.

The FAA issued two policies that helped to provide temporary remedies, while a permanent solution to the crisis is sought.

Temporary Remedy One: Repair Stations Can Inspect Parts

FAA issued Notice 8900.380 last year.  That Notice permitted repair stations to bring in parts without 8130-3 tags and inspect them to confirm airworthiness through traditional indicia.  That notice was expected to terminate in August; the FAA issued Notice 8900.429 to replace it.  The replacement notice is substantially the same as the original.

Repair stations looking for instructions on how to inspect such parts should contact the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA), which published their E-100 standard to guide repair stations in doing this.  Their standard has been favorably reviewed by the FAA as a tool for compliance to the MAG.

Temporary Remedy Two: Limited DARs

FAA also created a program (AIR-100-16-160-PM13) that allowed qualified distributor employees to issue 8130-3 tags as DARs.

Many of the eligible new parts had been accepted under their previously acceptable documentation schemes, which were both known and recognized within the industry.  ASA argued that under FAA policies (like FAA AC 20-62E), these documents were sufficient to identify a new part and to permit installation, so issuing an 8130-3 tag based on that evidence should be a mere ministerial task.  The FAA agreed and created a Limited DAR program (“DAR 56”) in which individuals could obtain the DAR privilege of issuing 8130-3 for parts when the following conditions were met (this is only a partial list):

  1. Individual must work for an accredited distributor, and can only tag parts that were received by the distributor’s accredited system before a certain date (currently November 1, 2016)
  2. Individual must complete FAA training
  3. Part must either bear (1) part markings regulated under 14 C.F.R. § 45.14 [PMA, TSOA and critical parts], (2) a certificate from the manufacturer, confirming that the part was produced under a FAA production approval, or (3) a certificate from the manufacturer’s direct-ship authorized supplier, confirming that the part was produced under a FAA production approval.

The program was scheduled to end on September 30, 2017 but was extended by an additional policy memo (AIR-600-17-6F0-PM01) until 2018.

Discussion with the FAA About the Future

Our most recent discussions with the FAA have been very positive.  They recognize the importance of having a path to economically obtain 8130-3 tags for demonstrably airworthy parts.  At present, they appear to recognize the importance of maintaining the temporary solutions until a permanent solution is adopted.  But the exact nature of a permanent solution is still elusive.

One option is for EASA to change what they “require” for receiving documentation.  One issue with such a “change” is that European regulations are not as strict as the MAG, so Europe simply does not have the problem that the US is facing.  Another is that European traditions of regulatory interpretation are more realpolitik than US traditions, which gives them even more room to do business.  This has been seen, first-hand, by distributors that find that parts rejected in the US for lack of MAG compliance are still readily accepted by EU-based repair stations.  Nonetheless, Europe is considering eliminating the need for an EASA Form One for non-critical parts (a term that still needs a settled definition in this context), which could provide some relief for the many airworthy expendable parts that have been caught-up in this issue.  These topics are expected to be on the table in the EASA Global Manufacturing meeting that FAA and ASA will both attend later this Fall.

Another option is providing more resources for 8130-3 tags.  Airworthiness approval tags were originally meant to be used only for aircraft and major assemblies – it was expected that exporters would self-certify the airworthiness of export articles based on other evidence (like evidence of production by a FAA-PAH).  Over the decades we have chipped away at this notion but some executives in the FAA think that the 8130-3 inhibits exports of airworthy parts more often than it facilitates those exports.  In light of the robust evidence of airworthiness that traditionally follows a PAH part, they are starting to lean toward relaxing the standards for issuing an 8130-3 where clear evidence of airworthiness is present.

These are just two options of the many that have been discussed; but they represent long-term projects – right now, we need to be focused on the short-term mechanisms for keeping airworthy parts moving in the chain of commerce.  So for that, US businesses that sell aircraft parts should carefully follow his advice:

Advice

If you do not yet hold Limited DAR credentials under the “DAR 56” program, then apply for them ASAP.  The ability to obtain 8130-3 tags through this program is going to be more and more important to distributors.

  • We recommend that you should have more than one person in your facility with these privileges, to allow for business continuity in the event one Limited DAR becomes unavailable;
  • Holding these Limited DAR credentials could also make it easier in the future to obtain permanent DAR credentials;
  • For some companies, the Limited DAR credentials have only limited utility.  Because they can serve as a bridge to other (more useful) credentials, we recommend seeking these credentials;

If you currently hold Limited DAR credentials under the “DAR 56” program, then

  1. You need to apply to extend your credentials by September 30 – that deadline is coming up fast!!  You can find more details here;
  2. Be sure to use your credentials to issue 8130-3 – activity is an important metric when seeking to renew or upgrade your credentials;
  3. We are working with the FAA to permit transfer of your credentials to a permanent DAR with function code 19 (able to issue 8130-3 tags for a wider class of demonstrably airworthy, new parts).  We hope to have more news on this, soon!
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