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!
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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!

DAR 56 Extended Until August 2018 – Submit Your Request For Extension NOW!

The FAA has extended the Limited DAR-F program that allows certain employees of accredited distributors to issue 8130-3 tags for certain inventory known to have been produced by an FAA production approval holder (commonly known as the “DAR 56 program,” reflecting the function code number).  This is an important victory for distributors who rely on this program as a source of 8130-3 tags.

One Year Extension

The program was extended by a policy memo published on August 25. The new termination date is September 30, 2018 (it was September 30, 2017).  In order to take advantage of this extension, limited DARs with function code 56 privileges must request an extension.  The new policy memo explains:

A currently appointed Limited DAR-F may request an extension by submitting an email to 9-AIR160-limiteddarf@faa.gov. Limited DAR-Fs that do not request an extension will be automatically terminated on September 30, 2017, in accordance with the current expiration date on their Certificate of Authority (COA) letter. The Delegation and Organizational Procedures Branch, AIR-6F0, will send an email to each Limited DAR-F who does not request an extension to inform them of the termination of their appointment. AIR-6F0 will issue a new COA letter with the new expiration date to each qualified Limited DAR-F requesting an extension. Each designee will be required to continue to provide quarterly activity reports using the FY18 Quarterly Activity Report in Attachment 1.

The new policy memo is identified by the policy number “AIR-600-17-6F0-PM01.”  This extension was made in response to ASA’s earlier petition, as well as our ongoing dialogue with the FAA about these issues.

The old DAR 56 policy, AIR-100-16-160-PM13, was previously described in this blog.  Reviewing that prior publication may be useful, because it provides many important details that are not repeated in the newer policy memo.  The new policy extends the old policy, incorporates it by reference, and includes significant changes in the reporting and oversight mechanism.

New Reporting and Oversight Mechanism

Under the original policy, designees were required to track the number of 8130-3 tags that they issued on a Quarterly Activity Report, but that form was not required to be submitted to the FAA (it remained available for review/submission upon request).   The new policy now requires information to be submitted to the FAA:

At the end of each quarterly reporting period, the FAA, via e-mail, will be requesting documentation in support of its oversight of each designee. Designees must submit the requested materials via email to 9-air160-limiteddarf@faa.gov. In addition, AIR-6F0 will be making site visits to conduct on-site direct observation of selected Limited DAR-Fs. Each site visit will be coordinated with the designee in advance and the distributor management representative will be notified.

So look for the emailed request for documentation, from the FAA!  It is possible that the FAA could ask for something different than the Quarterly Activity Report, but it is unlikely because the Report is the only record required to be kept under the program.  Also, do not be surprised if the FAA tells you that they will be visiting your facility to oversee your DARs – these sort of site visits will become a normal part of the process.

What’s Next?

The FAA recognizes that DAR 56 is merely a temporary solution to a larger issue.  The FAA has published a five step plan to move this issue forward toward a long-term solution:

1)  FAA meeting with EASA – The FAA has scheduled a meeting with EASA management in Cologne in late August to address the specific EASA requirement for an FAA Form 8130-3 and to discuss other options.

2)   Additional outreach to production approval holders (PAHs) – The FAA is looking into additional outreach to the PAH community  to ensure awareness of the current MAG 6 requirement and that they understand the recent Part 21 rule change allowing them to request a quality manual update to issue tags themselves.

3)   Work with distributor community to ensure they are requesting Form 8130-3s from PAHs – FAA is planning to reach out to the distributors that have Limited DAR-Fs to encourage them to request Form 81 30-3s on their purchase orders for parts that could be destined for EASA repair stations.

4)   Ensure awareness of Notice 8900.422 – This notice allows repair stations  to perform inspections on parts received without the required documentation and to issue FAA Form 8130-3s. This notice is in essence a reissuance of Notice 8900.380.

5)   Meeting of FAA and industry reps on 8130-3 tag matter – FAA is planning to arrange a meeting  in Washington, DC in the next month or so, where we will bring a select group of industry and FAA stakeholders together to discuss how we further address the 8130-3 tag issues and concerns going forward.   We will ensure that [ASA is] invited to participate.

Also on the agenda for the September meeting between FAA and the distribution community in a discussion of ASA’s request for expansion of the scope of the DAR 56 program to include (1) parts received after the arbitrary 2016 cut-off date (including newly produced parts and newly surplussed parts), and (2) parts bearing industry standard indicia of airworthiness, like documents described in AC 20-62E, and new surplus parts verified by an air carrier to be in new condition.

Other Details

The observant among you will notice that the originating office (the first part of the policy number) has changed from AIR-100 to AIR-600.  This is because of the FAA’s Aircraft Certification reorganization.

Interested in the program, but not yet part of it?  Qualified employees of AC 00-56 accredited businesses can still apply for DAR 56 privileges until August 1, 2018.

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