ASA Petitions FAA for Extension of DAR-56 Program

Last week ASA submitted a petition to the FAA formally requesting the indefinite extension of the Limited DAR-F Program for Accredited Distributors–commonly known as the DAR-56 program–that is scheduled to expire September 30, 2017.  ASA further requested an expansion of the program to better reflect the needs of the distribution community.  You may also recall that ASA recently led an industry effort that secured the reissuance of FAA Notice 8900.380 for another year. Both of these efforts are in response to the 8130-3 tag requirements arising out of MAG 6, which put billions of dollars of distributor inventory at risk.

ASA explained in its petition to extend DAR-56 indefinitely that the facts that gave rise to the need for the DAR-56 program have not changed and that the need for the program to continue was therefore very important to distributors.  The DAR-56 program permits Limited DAR-F’s to issue 8130-3 tags for parts on the basis of specific indicia of sourcing from the PAH.

As attendees of the ASA conference heard from members, distributors have so much inventory that needs to be tagged under the DAR-56 program that it could literally take years to tag every part.  This includes vast numbers of small, low-dollar-value parts for which hiring an independent designee would be economically infeasible.  ASA therefore proposed an indefinite extension of the program with semi-annual meetings between the FAA, ASA, and interested parties to discuss the ongoing need for the program so that it can be discontinued after a permanent solution is developed.

In addition to proposing an indefinite extension of the DAR-56 program (rather than annual extensions requiring yearly petitions and discussions), ASA also recommended changes that would improve the effectiveness of the program and help distributors.

At present, the DAR-56 program permits Limited DAR-F’s to issue 8130-3 tags under the following criteria:

  1. The aircraft part was received by the distributor prior to November 1, 2016 and
  2. The aircraft part must bear specific indicia of production under 14 C.F.R. Part 21:
    1. A certificate or statement of conformity that was issued by the production approval holder (any documentation part numbers and serial numbers, if applicable, must match any part markings); or,
    2. A certificate or statement of conformity that was issued by the production approval holder’s supplier, and a verification of direct shipment authorization; or,
    3. Markings regulated under 14 C.F.R. 45.15 and describing the PAH’s name or other identification (for parts, this would typically be limited to PMA, TSOA or critical parts).

ASA recommended that the program be extended as follows:

  1. The program be expanded to include any aircraft part that was received by the distributor at any time when the distributor was accredited under the AC 00-56 program.
  2. Expand the acceptable indicia of production under an FAA production approval to include other documentation the FAA has previously recognized:
    1. For an aircraft part that was accepted into an air carrier’s inventory system as new article, and then subsequently released from that air carrier’s inventory system, a document from the air carrier identifying the part by part number, and by serial number where appropriate, and identifying the part as new (including new surplus); or
    2. A maintenance release document showing (i) that the part was inspected under 14 C.F.R. Part 43 by a person authorized to approve such work for return to service, (ii) that the part was found to be in new condition, and (iii) a part number that matches a number known to be a PAH part number, and that matches the part number on the part, where applicable.

These proposed expansions reflect the fact that the November 1, 2016 receipt date appeared wholly arbitrary and neither supported nor required by any regulatory basis, and that the two additional forms of documentation are commonly accepted in the industry under Part 21 of the regulations.  This would solve the problem of those parts that are currently still being received without tags (as they continue to be released from PAH’s who do not issue tags, or as new surplus from air carriers without tags) and those parts that currently have PAH documentation but are nonetheless excluded under the terms of the current program.

ASA appreciates the FAA’s collaborative efforts to work with us to extend the DAR-56 program as we work toward a permanent solution to the MAG 6 8130-3 tag issue.  We will keep our members updated as we hear more from the FAA.

 

FUNCTION CODE 56 UPDATE: Airline Sourcing is OK; but PAH Trace Must be Established

Recent confusion about the use of function code 56 has caused some consternation in the industry.  The focus of this issue has been on parts obtained from air carriers (which represents a significant portion of the industry’s surplus parts).

The issue arose from an FAA email that incorrectly stated that articles obtained from an air carrier were ineligible for 8130-3.  This was not a correct statement, and the FAA is planning to issue a follow-up email to correct this statement.

Our FAA contacts says that they have seen at least one case where Limited DAR-F’s are issuing 8130-3 tags for parts that were not traceable to a PAH in accordance with the criteria FAA established in the DAR 56 policy memo of October 14, 2016.  The FAA reports that a function code 56 designee had issued tags based solely on paperwork from an airline, in the absence of paperwork or markings from the PAH. While some DAR function codes permit reliance on air carrier evidence (e.g. to identify new surplus parts), function code 56 does not permit that to be the sole basis of an airworthiness decision.

Recently the FAA sent an email to the entire Limited DAR-F community to warn them about this issue.  The intent of the email was to make it clear that the paperwork or the physical part markings had to be traceable to a PAH in order to issue an 8130-3 tag under DAR function code 56.

The recent emailed guidance suggested that function code 56 does not allow 8130-3 tags for articles from Part 121 air carriers.  This description was not an accurate portrayal of FAA policy, because the statement was truncated.  We have discussed this matter with Scott Geddie, who heads up designee policy for the FAA, and he confirmed that the correct statement should have looked like this:

This program DOES NOT allow issuance of an 8130-3 tag for:

….

  • Parts or articles obtained from an FAA Part 121 air carrier, unless proper documentation exists from the PAH or there are part markings traceable to the PAH

The italicized text (above) was not in the original FAA email, but the FAA has pledged to send a follow-up email with the italicized text, and has confirmed that italicized text represents the intent of the FAA.

For comparison purposes, the original October 14, 2016 policy memo makes the function code 56 requirements very clear.  To issue an 8130-3 under function code 56, you need one of the following:

  1. Certificate of Conformity/Statement of Conformity from a Production Approval Holder (PAH); or
  2. Certificate of Conformity/Statement of Conformity or shipping document from a PAH supplier with verification of direct ship authorization; or
  3. Part Markings made under 14 C.F.R. § 45.15.

If you have other evidence of airworthiness (like valid air carrier trace), then an 8130-3 may still be issued – but it must be issued by a DAR with a different function code.

ASA and FAA Meet to Discuss 8130-3 Options

On December 20th, ASA met with FAA Aircraft Certification Director Dorenda Baker.  In addition to ASA staff and FAA staff, the meeting also included ASA members John Nepola (East Air), Brent Webb (CAVU Aerospace), Mitch Weinberg (International Aircraft Associates) and Paul Wolf (Boeing).  The topic of discussion was the documentation (8130-3 tag) requirements of the FAA/EASA Maintenance Annex Guidance (MAG).

During the meeting, the FAA agreed that the new documentation standards appear to reflect an unintended consequence.  This members explained that the unintended consequence is adversely affecting domestic aircraft parts transactions and is creating an environment that could diminish safety.

The FAA has expressed that there are some international political pressures that make it difficult to rescind the documentation requirements of the FAA/EASA MAG.  So we discussed ways to support the documentation paradigm by making 8130-3 tags reasonably available for existing, airworthy, inventory.

One option would be to add a considerable number of new DARs to the system.  The actual number of DARs available to tag aircraft parts inventories is frighteningly small, which has led to monopolistic pricing, which has caused their services to become economically unavailable for many aircraft parts.

The DAR Function Code 56 privilege reflected a good start, but the privilege is too narrow to do much good.  Even for distributors whose business models are perfectly aligned with the function code’s scope, they found that only about 1/3 of their inventory could be tagged under this function code.  And most distributors found that the privilege was considerably less useful than that.  Consistent with our June 2016 written proposal, we suggest that

  • the function be expanded to include parts bearing indicia of airworthiness (including documentation from certificated air carriers indicating that the parts are in new surplus condition, as well as documentation described in FAA AC 20-62E);
  • the end date of the program be extended (in part because aircraft parts are still being manufactured and released without 8130-3 tags, and in part because it is still common for air carriers to sell new surplus inventories without 8130-3 tags);
  • the program element that limits Function Code 56 to only parts received before November 1, 2016 be removed.

The FAA has limited ability to oversee new DARs.  For this reason, ASA has volunteered to audit DARs operating within the ASA-100 environment (subject to their own willingness to be audited).  ASA is already auditing these facilities on a regular basis under the AC 00-56 program, and is already subject to FAA oversight within this AC 00-56 program.  The FAA may use ASA’s audits as a risk-mitigating factor in planning its own oversight schedules.

We have discussed other options, like creating an ODA for distribution businesses to obtain 8130-3 tags, or rapidly increasing the community of DAR-F or DAR-T personnel; but the DAR Function Code 56 program seems like a solid foundation upon which to build a scalable program that can be scaled-up to meet FAA safety needs, and then scaled-down as the industry moves into the new documentation paradigm.

DAR-56 Advice: Apply Under Your Current AC 00-56 Revision Number (even if you are still under “00-56A”)

We have received word that many ASA members are expeditiously pursuing DAR-56 credentials.  This is the temporary program that delegates limited 8130-3 privileges to individuals working in AC 00-56 environments.  It is great to hear that so many individuals in AC 00-56 companies are pursuing these credentials.

In a recent call with the ASA members, they pointed out that a significant portion of the AC 00-56 community is still accredited under AC 00-56A (not “B”).  The cancellation clause of AC 00-56B explains that a distributor can maintain its accreditation under the “A” revision until it runs out and is renewed under the normal renewal schedules:

“Distributors already in the database of accredited distributors under AC 00-56A may maintain their accreditation under the AC 00-56A standard until their accreditation expires, is superseded upon renewal, or is cancelled or removed by the distributor’s accreditation organization.”

So some accredited distributors could retain the “A” accreditation as late as August 2018 (90 days after the publication of the “B” revision + three years, when their accreditation expires).  The community continues to roll from “A” into “B” between now and 2018.

The cancellation clause of the “B” revision incorporates-by-reference and grandfathers the then-existing “A” revision accreditees.  Therefore, it seems logical that we should read the language of the DAR-56 memo to include the remaining accredited distributors who are still under the “A” revision.  There was nothing added by the “B” revision that would be necessary to the structure of the DAR function code 56 program – the “A” revision provided the structure necessary to manage the DAR FC 56 functions.

The problem, of course, is that the sample letter requires confirmation that “The organization listed in the letter is an Accredited Distributor in accordance with FAA Advisory Circular 00-56B.” This appears, on its face, to possibly exclude those companies that are still accredited under the “A” revision.

We asked the FAA how they want applicants who are still under the “A” revision to handle this?  They responded by explaining that it is acceptable for applicants to state “The organization listed in the letter is an Accredited Distributor in accordance with FAA Advisory Circular 00-56A.”  The response came from Scott Geddie, who leads the branch that is processing DAR-56 applications (so he can speak authoritatively on how the FAA will process DAR-56 applications).  Here is the text of the FAA’s response:

Jason

It was certainly not our intent to restrict those that are currently accredited under the “A” revision given the revision “B” guidance that says:  “Distributors already in the database of accredited distributors under AC 00-56A may maintain their accreditation under the AC 00-56A standard until their accreditation expires, is superseded upon renewal, or is cancelled or removed by the distributor’s accreditation organization.”

I believe the best course of action is for the Limited DAR-F applications and their corresponding letters of endorsement to reference the applicable revision of AC 00-56 that they are currently under.  My office will process emailed applications that include the reference to the “A” revision of the AC.

Thanks,
Scott Geddie
Manager, AIR-160, Delegation and Organizational Procedures Branch
Ph: (405)954-6897

Do you have questions about the DAR-56 program? Let us know your questions – we will work with the FAA to try and get answers that can benefit the entire distribution community.

Obtain 8130-3 Tags For Your Inventory – Limited Time Only!

Have you ever wished that there was an easy way to obtain 8130-3 tags for the obviously airworthy articles in your inventory?  Now, you can become a DAR and issue your own 8130-3 tags!  ASA has worked with the FAA to develop a limited program that will allow employees of accredited distributors to obtain DAR privileges to tag certain items in existing inventory.
The program creates a new function code 56 (because of the association with AC 00-56).  This is a limited function code for employees of accredited distributors that permits issue of 8130-3 tags for parts with certain types of clear evidence of production under FAA production approval.  The program can be found in this attached file.
This program is necessary because of the new emphasis on 8130-3 tags created by the FAA-EASA Maintenance Annex Guidance (MAG).  Many FAA inspectors have required repair stations in the US to adopt receiving requirements that only permit receipt of aircraft parts with 8130-3, EASA Form One or TCCA Form One.  Parts with traditional manufacturer’s certificates of conformity (for example) are excluded from the MAG guidance!  This temporary ability to obtain 8130-3 tags permits some existing inventories of good parts to be tagged in order to meet the new standards created by the Maintenance Annex Guidance

What Can be Tagged?

A DAR with Function Code 56 privileges will be able to issue an 8130-3 tags for parts manufactured by an FAA production approval holder (PAH) if the part and its documentation meets one of the criteria below:
1. Certificate of Conformity/Statement of Conformity from the PAH.  The part number and serial number, if applicable, must match any marking on the part.
2. Certificate of Conformity/Statement of Conformity or shipping document from a PAH supplier and verification of that supplier’s direct ship authorization.
3. Part markings made under 14 C.F.R. § 45.15 that include the PAH’s name or identifier (including PMA markings, TSOA markings and critical part markings).  If the PAH name or other identification is not included in the part marking, then you will need a Certificate of Conformity/Statement of Conformity as described in paragraphs (1) or (2) above.

Qualifications

An applicant for the DAR-56 program must meet all five of the minimum qualifications:
1. AGE: Be at least 23 years of age.
2. EMPLOYMENT: Be employed by an accredited distributor at the location(s) from which the 8130-3 will be issued.  The FAA has not clarified whether this needs to be full-time or part-time nor have they excluded contract employment.  In the absence of clarification, applicants should assume that all categories of employment are acceptable.
3. INDEPENDENCE: Be assigned to a position in the business with sufficient authority to allow the DAR to administer the delegated function effectively without undue pressure or influence from others.
4. EXPERIENCE: Have a minimum of 12 months actual working experience for the accredited distributor under the distributor’s quality system, specifically:
a. Experience in either receiving inspection and/or quality assurance processes; and,
b. Experience reviewing documentation which can be used to verify that the article is traceable to the PAH, such as a FAA Form 8130-3 and Certificate of
Conformity/Statement of Conformity from a PAH.
5. TRAINING: Must have successfully completed FAA course: Issuance of 8130-3 for Domestic and Export Approvals of Engines, Propellers, & Articles Only.

Application Process

Scan and submit the following three documents by email to 9-AIRI60-LimitedDARF@faa.gov:
1. FAA training certificate of completion from the required class [FAA course: Issuance of 8130-3 for Domestic and Export Approvals of Engines, Propellers, & Articles Only]
2. FAA Form 8110-14, Statement of Qualifications (should be signed by the individual employee).
3. A letter of endorsement signed by a management representative from the accredited distributor location where that individual employee is requesting to exercise the authorization.
  • Where the accredited distributor has more than one accredited location, the applicant may apply to exercise privileges at each accreditation location
    under a single management endorsement letter.  The Memo includes a sample letter and explains what must be in the letter.

The applicant is expected to retain the original application materials in his/her records.  FAA Headquarters will review the application.  When an applicant is selected, the FAA will email the applicant a Certificate of Authority.

Limits

There are many categories of airworthy parts without 8130-3 tags that will not be covered by this DAR-56 program.  This is not a solution to all of the problems caused by the implementation of the Maintenance Annex Guidance.  many ASA members will still need to rely on traditional DARs.
The DAR-56 program is limited in time.  All Limited DAR-56 appointments under this program will be terminated on September 30, 2017.  We have discussed with the FAA that there will be a continuing need for the program, because some FAA-PAH manufacturers continue to produce parts without 8130-3 tags.  ASA intends to petition for an extension of the program if it appears that the program remains necessary, but ASA members should not plan on the FAA granting that petition (they have already told us that they will reject such a petition).

Advice

The FAA intends that this DAR-56 program be used to tag existing inventory in order to make it saleable under the new documentation standards of the MAG.  The FAA has stated that they intend to issue privileges to all eligible applicants, in order to facilitate this process (note that this does not give you a legal right to the privileges – the FAA retains the discretion to limit or terminate the program at its discretion).
Many of our members have a substantial existing inventory that is eligible to be tagged under this program.  We have spoken with members who have said that some inventories could take YEARS in order to tag the entire inventory.  We advise accredited members to seek DAR-56 privileges for EACH eligible employee, in order to maximize your potential for issuing 8130-3 tags.  Accredited members should also apply as early as possible.
Once employees have received their certificate of authority, they should start to review existing inventory and issue tags for eligible parts immediately, in order to maximize the documentation of the inventory.
We also advise unaccredited ASA members to seek AC 00-56 accreditation in order to be eligible for the DAR-56 program.  ASA can discuss the process with you and can accommodate members who need AC 00-56 audits in order to participate in the program.
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