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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FAA Guidance on Approval for Return to Service (Right-Side-Signed 8130-3 Tags) – Comment Period Extended

The FAA has issued a draft guidance document for 8130-3 tags when the tags are completed as Approvals for Return to Service (ARTS).

The draft guidance is currently known as AC 43-ARTS, Use of FAA Form 8130-3 for Approval for Return to Service Under Part 43, and can be found online at

https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/draft_docs/media/afs/AC-43-ARTS_Coord_Copy.pdf.

The draft guidance may impose new standards with inadequate regulatory basis.

The purpose of the new guidance is to provide guidance for compliance with the approval for return to service requirements found in part 43; but it seems to impose new requirements that are not found in Part 43.  The draft guidance also suggests that one may not use an 8130-3 tag as the ARTS unless the person follows the AC; this would make the AC a de facto regulatory requirement in light of the strong emphasis that the FAA has placed on the use of the 8130-3 tag as the norm for approval for return to service.

The draft guidance also requires following the standards published in AC 120-78 as a condition of being permitted to use electronic 8130-3 tags.  This mandate contradicts AC 120-78 which made those standards voluntary/advisory.

Comments were previously due on March 13.  ASA joined with several other trade associations to request an extension, and now the comment period has been extended to June 12, 2017.

The draft advisory circular is available for review online at https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/draft_docs/media/afs/AC_43-ARTS_Coord_Copy.pdf.  Comments should be submitted by email to Griffin.CTR.Moar@FAA.gov.  Please send a copy of your comments to ASA so we can be sure to echo our members’ concerns.

Suspected Unapproved Parts (SUPs) Reporting on Form 8120-11

The FAA has republished the Form 8120-11. This is the form for reporting suspected unapproved parts (SUPs).

The new version of the form was approved by the White House in 2016.  One new feature is that the completion instructions are on the first page of the standard PDF – before the actual form.  This means that people will typically see the instructions before they start to complete the form.

The 2009 version of the form put the instructions on the second page, between the primary form and the continuation sheet.  It is natural for people to .  ASA has received many questions from members about how to complete the 8120-11 form, and many of those questions were answered in the instructions (found on the second page of the PDF).  This is because it is natural for people to start at the top of page one and work their way through completing the form, without skipping ahead to examine the later parts of the form.  Moving the instructions to page one will hopefully answer many of the questions that arise in completing the form.

If you encounter a Suspected Unapproved Parts, or SUP, then reporting is typically voluntary under the regulations; however many aviation companies have imposed mandatory SUPs reporting requirements on themselves through their quality manuals or operations manuals.  Be sure to follow your own internal guidance when considering whether to report a SUP!

Getting Training to Support Your DAR-56 8130-3 Tag Privileges

Still haven’t started applying for the DAR 56 program?  This is the program that allows employees of accredited distributors to issue 8130-3 tags for parts that meet certain FAA-defined airworthiness criteria.  If you are having trouble getting started, then the best way to start is to take the FAA’s online DAR course about how to issue an 8130-3 tag.

We’ve previously published the details about how to apply for the program.  ASA member Jay Rosenberg has provided us with detailed instructions on navigating the FAA’s 8130-3 training class.  Jay is the Director of Operations and Quality for United Aerospace Corp.  He also served as the Chairman of the ASA Quality Assurance Committee and as an ASA Board member.  Here are his guidelines:

I mentioned that I would send you some instructions on clarifying the registering process for the DAR-56 online training site.

  1. You need to setup an account profile: https://av-info.faa.gov/DsgReg/login.aspx
  1. After enrolling you need to sign in and choose the course (“Issuance of 8130-3 for Domestic and Export Approvals of Engines, Propellers & Articles Only”)
  1. Pay for the course ($100.00)
  1. After enrolling and choosing the course you will see a page with your course enrollments which show two courses. One is on the DMS system and the other one is about 8130-3 for domestic and export.
  1. When you click the schedule tab you have to go thru a few pages and choose the right course:
    1. Designee and Delegated Organization training
      1. Designated Airworthiness Representatives
        1. Issuance of 8130-3 for Domestic and Export Approvals of Engines, Propellers & Articles Only

    After doing all this then you get to web link:

    https://av-info.faa.gov/DsgReg/Sections.aspx?CourseInfoID=395

  1. After reading all the material you will be required to take an exam.

You only have only one shot at it to pass…!

If you pass the certificate will be listed on your enrollment screen to download.

We’ve heard from a number of members that one problem is that the DAR-56 program only supports a small number of the parts that need 8130-3 tags, and that most of the parts that now need the tags are not eligible under the program.  That may be true, but it is not a reason to eschew the program.  A partial solution is better than no solution – and ASA is working with the FAA on other partial solutions to try to better resolve the issues facing the industry.

Remember – there is only a limited time to take advantage of this program, so you need to get each of your eligible employees qualified as soon as possible in order to get the maximum benefit from the program.  The first step to that DAR-56 qualification is to get the eligible employees trained!

FAA Notice 8900.380 is CHANGED and this Affects How Repair Stations May Receive Parts

Immediately after the FAA issue Notice 8900.380, they reissued it with small, but significant, edits to the original language. This information was sent two weeks ago to ASA members by e-mail but I just realized that I forgot to include it in the blog!

The changed language seems to help the situation faced by distributors, by explicitly recognizing that repair stations may inspect and receive parts without 8130-3 or Form One – but only for a one-year interval, and only when the repair station’s inspection is consistent with its manuals.   A repair station rated to perform maintenance on a top assembly is also rated to inspect any component part to determine its eligibility for installation in the next higher assembly, so this one year inspection permission will be useful.

The new Notice isn’t numbered differently nor does it have change markers.  So it is important to ensure you have the most recent version of the Notice, and it is very easy to have the wrong version.

While this is unusual (re-issuing a notice with changes, but with no way to distinguish the changed version from the original), we will accept the change as it expands the type of parts that a 145 can inspect. These edits are beneficial to the industry.

Remember the below information only deals with 1) confirming that a 145 can inspect a part without an 8130-3, 2) tagging that part as inspected and 3) bringing it into the 145’s system (allowing a dual-certificated 145 to buy an aircraft part without an 8130-3 tag and use it in their work).

This does not change the NOTE section dealing with grandfathered parts.  This area is still being discussed with the FAA and EASA, but the grandfather clause has been confirmed by FAA to extend only to parts in the repair station’s inventory by October 1, 2016.

The edits to Notice 8300.380 are:

(b) Inspections. For the purposes of this notice, inspections may be performed on:

(1)  New parts received in inventory before October 1, 2016, that are not accompanied by FAA Form 8130-3, a dated certificate of conformance, or similar documentation issued by a U.S. PAH or supplier with direct ship authority in accordance with the notes in MAG CHG 6, Section B,Appendix 1, subparagraph 10k)(1)(a) and Section C, Appendix 1, subparagraph 7c)(1)(a); and

(2)  New parts released by a U.S. PAH received on and after October 1, 2016, that are not accompanied by FAA Form 8130-3.

The Notice clarifies a few points and provides no relief on several areas:

  • Effective date for MAG 6 parts documentation section is October 1, 2016.
  • Although MAG CHG 6 does not prohibit repair stations from inspecting an article or subcomponent that they are rated and approved to work on for return to service, the notice imposed certain limits on what parts are permitted to be inspected in this way. Repair station can issue an 8130-3 for any part received without the documentation required by the MAG and issue an 8130-3 with a dual release statement if the part meets one of these two conditions:
    • New parts in inventory prior to October 1, 2016 that do not have an 8130-3, dated C of C; or similar document issued by the PAH or supplier with direct ship authority.
  • So a repair station can purchase/inspect a new part from a distributor even if that part doesn’t have an 8130-3, before or after October 1, 2016. The 145 would inspect the part and issue an 8130-3 as part of the 145’s system.  This doesn’t apply if the part does not qualify for an 8130-3.
  • A repair station can also purchase/inspect a new part from a distributor before October 1, 2016, if that part does not have do not have an 8130-3, dated C of C; or similar document issued by the PAH or supplier with direct ship authority.
  • There are still some limitations to these privileges, so be sure to analyze your transactions carefully!

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q: What about new parts in a distributors inventory that were manufactured  before October 1, 2016 and that do not have an 8130-3?

A: After October 1, 2016, these parts need an 8130-3 to sell them to an FAA EASA dual certified repair station. ASA sought a re-interpretation of some language that would permit distributors to sell these parts to repair stations after October 1, 2016, and this lead to the new language of Notice 8900.380.  THE NEW NOTICE OFFERS SOME MORE OPTIONS TO DISTRIBUTORS.  One significant option is that for the limited one-year time period of the Notice, dual-certificated repair stations in the US may receive parts that do not conform to the MAG and inspect them for suitability.

 

Q: What if my parts don’t qualify for an 8130-3?

A: There are a number of categories of parts that do not qualify for an 8130-3 or Form One. One example is military surplus parts, which are permitted for use in civil aviation under conditions described in AC 20-62 and AC 20-142. For parts that are not permitted under the MAG and its interpretive notices, there may be no path to sell such parts to an FAA EASA dual certified repair station.

 

Q: What if my parts were made by a foreign PAH?

A: Although the FAA has signed bilateral aviation safety agreements in which the US has agreed to accept certain foreign-produced parts, if there is no mechanism in the MAG for accepting these parts, then this may inhibit repair stations from accepting these parts.  There appears to be no mechanism under the MAG for receiving a part made under production approval from a jurisdiction other than US, EU or Canada (like an Embraer part from Brazil).

 

Q: How do you get an 8130-3 when one does not exist?

A: For parts with evidence of airworthiness and that were produced under a US production approval, you can apply through a designated airworthiness representative (DAR).  We understand that the expense of a DAR may be too much in some cases.  If there are no DARs available, notify the FAA.  Please send a copy of your notification to ASA, so we can track these issues.

 

Q: What other remedies may be available?

A: ASA has pending litigation against the FAA but please know that there is no mechanism to force them to review this situation before October 1, 2016, and the actual resolution date is going to be sometime in 2017.  The US government opposes our appeal.  It is always possible that the court will rule against the industry.  ASA is also working directly with the FAA to achieve some reasonable resolution that will permit safe aircraft parts to be sold to the installers who need them, on an ongoing basis.

Update on MAG issue and ASA Efforts

What is the Issue?

The latest revision of the Maintenance Annex Guidance [“MAG”] creates a new system in which existing industry documentation (which is acceptable under current EU and US regulations) becomes unacceptable within US repair stations. It is objectionable because it imposes new documentation standards that do not exist in either US or European regulations, and in doing so creates a documentation requirement for aircraft parts that will render worthless significant portions of existing aircraft parts inventories.

Under current US standards, no documentation is required in order to receive an aircraft part into a repair station’s inventory. See, e.g., FAA Chief Counsel’s Opinion Letter (August 6, 2009) (stating “there is no Federal Aviation regulation that requires traceability of an aircraft part to its origin” and explaining that parts may be found airworthy based on documentation, markings, or inspection and testing).  The repair station may install the part as long as it confirms that the article will return the product to a condition “at least equal to its original or properly altered condition.” 14 C.F.R. § 43.13.

The European system is a bit different. The European system distinguishes parts into six different categories, but for purposes of this analysis only two are relevant.

The first is serviceable parts – those in a satisfactory condition. Serviceable parts must be accompanied by the European manufacturer’s document known as the EASA Form One, or an equivalent document. EASA 145.A.42(a)(1).  EASA has recognized that the FAA 8130-3 tag is an equivalent document for receipt purposes (when signed on the left side).  EASA AMC M.A.501(a) ¶ (5)(a) (documents under the terms of a bilateral agreement); Technical Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness and Environmental Certification Between the FAA and EASA, ¶ 5.1.10 (Rev. 5 Sept. 15, 2015) (the bilateral agreement).

Because there are many articles produced by US manufacturers that do not bear 8130-3 tags, a ‘safety valve’ provision allows European repair stations to accept articles without such documentation.

There is a second provision in the EASA regulations that permits “unserviceable parts” to enter into a repair station without documentation when they are intended to be maintained. EASA 145.A.42(a)(2).  The European definition of “unserviceable” includes articles that are missing “necessary information to determine the airworthiness status or eligibility for installation.” EASA M.A.504(a)(3).  Thus, any new aircraft part that is missing an EASA Form One or 8130-3 (whichever is appropriate) is deemed unserviceable and can enter a repair station without documentation. Such an article may then be inspected to serviceable condition and installed if it passes inspection. See, e.g., EASA AMC M.A.501(a) (Installation); EASA AMC M.A.613(a) (Component certificate of release to service).  It cannot be treated as serviceable until it undergoes that inspection.

The problem with the MAG is that it closes the safety valve that allows acceptance of new parts without an 8130-3 or EASA Form One. It does this by establishing two different categories that are inconsistent with the “serviceable/ unserviceable” categories established under European law. The two categories are “new” and “used.” Under existing European law, a new part without the correct documentation can be received as unserviceable, and subsequently inspected to serviceable condition, but under the MAG, a new part is required to have an 8130-3 or EASA Form One. There is no exception under the MAG for new parts without the designated documentation – they are simply excluded.

So How Does this Affect Members?

Actual implementation has already shown that the language of the MAG is being enforced by FAA field inspectors as mandatory even though there is no regulatory basis under US or EU law for such enforcement. Thus, the real implementation has been that all US repair stations with EASA credentials are required to have a written manual (known as a Supplement) requiring them to exclude new parts without 8130-3 documents or EASA Form One documents – even though both US and EU regulations permit acceptance of these new parts.

This is starting to have a real world effect that will be expanded with the October 1, 2016 implementation.  Distributors are finding that parts that they could sell with manufacture’s trace (or other reasonable trace) are no longer “good enough.” Repair stations are starting to demand 8130-3 tags on everything (including parts that are not eligible for 8130-3 tags).

What is ASA Doing About It?

ASA continues to work with the FAA to achieve a solution.  FAA management recognizes that this is a potential problem, and they have been optimistic about finding a solution.

Our first efforts were to find a way to “grandfather” existing aircraft parts inventories.  FAA supported this solution, but EASA opposed it.

We have also asked for guidance explaining that repair stations can apply US standards to parts destined for US registered aircraft, but early implementers have shown that this idea is not consistent with what FAA inspectors are requesting so it is likely to be ineffective.  In addition, it creates a logistical problem for component repair stations who may not know the ultimate destination of the components on which they are working.

We are now looking at new ways to obtain 8130-3 tags for good inventory.  This will not be a 100% solution to the impediment created by the documentation requirements, but it should help preserve the value of some inventories.  We expect to continue discussions of this proposal with the FAA, next week.

On the legal front, we continue to pursue a halt to the MAG documentation requirements.  This would not affect the EASA regulations – they still apply where appropriate – but to the extent that the MAG imposes additional standards that would be enforced by the FAA, we have asked the DC Circuit Court to issue a “Stay” that would prevent the FAA-enforcement of these new documentation requirements.

Today, as part of this effort, we filed this Motion for a Stay.  We would like to thank the many ASA members who worked with us to develop  affidavits explaining the factual situation of 8130- 3tags and aircraft parts inventories.

Do NOT state “domestic shipment only” or “not an export approval” on an 8130-3 tag

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 tended to impede subsequent exports.  Many people mistakenly thought that this language was meant to prevent a subsequent export.

History

Use of this sort of language also ignored the original purpose of the “domestic tag.”  It was originally meant to create a kludge that made 8130-3 tags available to exporters.  It was called a “domestic” tag because it only certified compliance to domestic US standards, and not to any special import requirements of an importing nation.

Years ago, distributors were unable to obtain an export tag for parts. The reason for this began in 1963, the FAA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish the rules for export airworthiness approvals (Subpart L of 14 C.F.R. Part 21).   They classified the world of aircraft assets into three classes:

(1) A Class I product is a complete aircraft, aircraft engine, or propeller, which—

(i) Has been type certificated in accordance with the applicable Federal Aviation Regulations and for which Federal Aviation Specifications or type certificate data sheets have been issued;
or
(ii) Is identical to a type certificated product specified in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section in all respects except as is otherwise acceptable to the civil aviation authority of the importing state.

(2) A Class II product is a major component of a Class I product (e.g., wings, fuselages, empennage assemblies, landing gears, power transmissions, control surfaces, etc), the failure of which would jeopardize the safety of a Class I product; or any part, material, or appliance, approved and manufactured under the Technical Standard Order (TSO) system in the ‘‘C’’ series.

(3) A Class III product is any part or component which is not a Class I or Class II product and includes standard parts, i.e., those designated as AN, NAS, SAE, etc.

This can be found today in older versions of the Code of Federal Regulations.  But this distinction no longer exists in the modern regulations.

The original 1963 NPRM suggested that export airworthiness approvals would be available for Class I and Class II products. It explained that export airworthiness approvals would not be necessary for Class III products, and that exporters could self-certify airworthiness with respect to those units.   This dramatically limited the impact of the proposed rule, because most articles fell into class III.

During the comment period for this new rule, a manufacturer wrote to the FAA and said that it could foresee a possible need in the future to apply for Class III export airworthiness approvals for its own articles.  The stated purpose of the rule was to facilitate trade, so when the Final Rule was published in 1964, the FAA added a clause stating that manufacturers could also apply for Class III export airworthiness approvals in order to meet the request of the commenter.  This was 30 years before ASA existed, so ASA was not around to broaden the language to include non-manufacturer exporters.

Years later, as the export 8130-3 tag became more popular in international commerce, and the FAA signed international agreements promising to provide the 8130-3 tags with exports,the distribution community began to see a need for the tags to facilitate their trade.  But the regulatory language only permitted manufacturers to apply for the export 8130-3 tag.  So the “domestic tag” was born in order to provide a tag that distributors could seek.  The “domestic tag” only certified compliance to US domestic standards – it did not certify compliance to any special import standards of any importing nation (it was up to the exporter to address such conditions, and at the time foreign trading partners were happy to take this tag).

The domestic tag also quickly became popular among domestic users in the US (notably, Northwest Airlines in the late 1990s was an early proponent of the use of the 8130-3 tag for domestic transactions).

For a short time, this limiting language (“domestic shipment only”) actually appeared in an earlier version of Order 8130.21. ASA sought clarification from FAA Management at the time.  We pointed out that the original purpose was to facilitate export for distributors, and FAA Management agreed that this language was inappropriate.   FAA Management confirmed that the inclusion of that language had been a mistake, because it contradicted the original purpose of the domestic tag.

In order to discern the reason for this errant language, FAA Management called in the employee who was responsible for the text of the Order and asked “why did you include this language?”  The FAA employee’s reply was to shrug his shoulders and say “I don’t know … it seemed like a good idea at the time.”  The language was removed from the next revision of 8130.21, but it continued to find its way into 8130-3 tags.

Over the years, the FAA has recognized that this language impeded export transactions without offering any redeeming value.  The policy memo closes the loop on this language by forbidding it.

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 FAA policy memo.

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