FAA Study Critiques OEM Views on Aftermarket

 - August 20, 2008, 12:08 PM

An FAA team explored whether there is a safety and compliance issue with aftermarket repairs and replacement parts made under applicable FAA regulations but without the blessing of the type and production certificate holders, meaning original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). “There are two primary issues at the root of this study,” noted the draft study, “which are the concern over safety and compliance (real or perceived) and the economic issue of business competition between TC/PC holders and the aftermarket maintenance and replacement parts providers.” The FAA launched the Repair, Alteration and Fabrication (RAF) Team last year to analyze these issues. Although OEMs complain to the FAA that aftermarket parts manufacturers and repair facilities don’t have to comply with the same standards as OEMs, the FAA found this not to be true: “What is the difference in airworthiness of parts from [OEM versus aftermarket] sources? The answer is ‘no difference.’ They all must comply with the applicable airworthiness standards, be repaired, altered or fabricated such that they conform to the approved or acceptable data and be safe for operation.” The study is open for comments until September 15.