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.

 

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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.

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