Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) Parts

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Stacheair1's picture
Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) Parts

Many time owners and operators will purchase and install a Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) Part and the question comes up can PMA parts be installed on Type Certificated aircraft and articles. From the FAA point of view the answer is yes, they can be since they are an approved part under the PMA quality control system approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Just because a PMA part may be approved part does not mean all OEMs want or allow them on their products. In some cases, a PMA part may void a warranty on some engines or other components according to the manufacture. A PMA part is approved, but that does not mean the OEM allows them even if a PMA part costs less or may last longer. It all has to do with the OEM selling their parts to the operators at their costs.

For this reason it is very important of owners and operator to read all the requirements on OEM warranty documents to see what is allowed and not allowed.

PMA is a combined design and production approval for modification and replacement articles. It allows a manufacturer to produce and sell these articles for installation on type certificated products. Federal Aviation Administration Orders 8110.42 and 8120.22 prescribe the approval procedures for FAA personnel and guides applicants in the approval process.

Part 21, subpart K, is applicable to any person who desires to manufacture an article under a PMA. The PMA is both a design and production approval issued to an applicant who has demonstrated the capability to design and manufacture to specific FAA requirements. The FAA does not separate the State of Design from the State of Manufacture.

A PMA may be obtained for replacement articles for TSO articles that are approved as part of a product type design, provided that installation eligibility to that product can be shown. However, approval of an article that would constitute a major design change to the TSO article cannot be done under a PMA and would require a new TSO authorization. An applicant's design that could meet the identicality provisions of § 21.303 would normally not be considered a major design change.

A PMA may not be issued if the manufacturing facilities for the article are located outside the United States, unless it has been determined, in accordance with § 21.309, that such location(s) would place no undue burden on the FAA.

A PMA cannot be issued on the basis of a "one-time-only" STC or FAA Form 337, Major Repair and Alteration, approval. The applicant would have to reapply for a new STC, which constitutes a "multiple approval," before a PMA could be considered.

Other production approval holders Production Approval Holder (PAH) (TC, PC, or TSO authorization) may produce replacement articles for their products or articles under their existing design and production approvals. A supplier to a PAH may not produce replacement or modification articles for sale for installation on a type-certificated product, unless that supplier has a PMA for the replacement or modification articles. However, a PAH may authorize major inspection and grant direct-ship authority (with FAA approval) to a supplier.

An air carrier, operating under 14 CFR part 121, Operating Requirements: Domestic, Flag, and Supplemental Operations, or 14 CFR part 135, Operating Requirements: Commuter and On Demand Operations and Rules Governing Persons On Board Such Aircraft, may produce articles for installation on its own product without a PMA, provided the installation of those articles is approved in accordance with part 43 and complies with the air carrier's accepted maintenance procedures manual and instructions.

An aircraft owner or operator may produce articles for installation on their own product without a PMA. The installation of those articles must comply with part 43 and other applicable airworthiness standards.

The FAA does not require a PMA for production of commercial or standard parts produced for sale for installation on a type-certificated product. A PAH may purchase commercial or standard parts and subject them to more restrictive inspection criteria prior to approval for installation. When a question arises as to whether a part is a commercial or standard part, the certificating Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) and/or Manufacturing Inspection District Office (MIDO) should be contacted to determine whether the design of the part meets the criteria for a commercial or standard part.

Approval of an application for PMA requires an approval of the design by the ACO and a quality system approval by the MIDO. The PMA is issued to the principal manufacturing facility that controls the design and quality of the article(s) for which the approval was granted.

The Production Approval Holder (PAH) is ultimately responsible for determining that all products and articles conform to their approved type design and are in condition for safe operation. This responsibility cannot be delegated to, or relieved by the use of, approved suppliers, risk and revenue sharing partners, or co-producers or other service or manufacturing providers.

Parts Manufacturer Approvals
Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) is both a design approval and a production approval. It is issued for the production of modification or replacement parts, which includes materials, parts, processes, and appliances. Procedures for evaluation, approval, and maintenance of PMA are described in Order 8110.42.

This database contains the FAA Parts Manufacturer Approvals and may be viewed by make, PMA Holder, and part number.

The data contained in this website is for information only. The FAA assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this information. To obtain a PMA approval, please contact the FAA office located in your geographical area.

Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) References:
Regulations & Policies
Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR)
•Part 21, Certification Procedures for Products, Articles, and Parts
•Part 21, Subpart K, Parts Manufacturer Approvals (sections 21.301 through 21.320)
•Part 21, Acceptance of Articles, section 21.502
•Part 43, Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, Rebuilding, and Alteration
•Part 45, Subpart B, Marking of Products and Articles (sections 45.10 through 45.16)

Advisory Circulars (AC)
•AC 21-43, Production Under 14 CFR Part 21, Subparts F, G, K, and O
•AC 43-18, Fabrication of Aircraft Parts by Maintenance Personnel

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n14ky's picture

PMA is not only a design and production approval, it is also an installation approval. You need to be careful with that though. Most PMAs will have a listing of aircraft (or engines) for which they are approved to be installed on. Sometimes a PMA part is only associated with an STC, so the installation of that part would require the installation of the STC (or some other FAA approval).

johnny (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

I came across your website and your blog posting on PMA parts. I was also recently made aware of the Policy Statement (PS-AIR-21.50-01) that was issued by the FAA on March 23, 2012.

Do you happen to know if there have been any further updates made by the FAA to this Policy Statement since March 2012.

I am particularly interested in learning more about any guidance, direction or instructions that may have been issued by the
FAA in light of this policy. There are certain restrictive practices that are deemed per se violations by the FAA. I ask because the OEM we are negotiating with is insisting on a warranty provision that would void the warranty if non-OEM parts are used.


n14ky's picture

A couple things come to mind when reading your question. The Policy you referenced deals with ICAs, not replacement parts so I don't see the connection.

With regards to PMA parts, from a certification standpoint, PMA parts are fine when those parts are direct replacements for the original, and are so identified (or certified via STC). The act of installing them will not have a negative impact on the certification status of the aircraft involved. Warranty is a contractual arrangement between the buyer and seller and has nothing to do with certification or airworthiness. If a seller chooses to place a restriction in the warranty policy stating that only OEM parts are to be used, otherwise the warranty is void, he is free to make such a statement. The installation of non-OEM parts won't impact the airworthiness (provided they are PMA parts and the installation is certified in said product), but will void the warranty.

johnny (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

Thank you for your response. The last page of the Statement issued by the FAA states as follows: "While not exhaustive, the FAA finds the following practices of using restrictive language in the
ICA or through restrictive access or use agreements unacceptable under the provisions of 14
CFR §21.50(b) and related ICA airworthiness requirements:
1) Requiring the owner/operator to only install DAH-produced or authorized replacement parts, articles, appliances, or materials." While arguably the OEM may not be directly compelling the owner/operator to install DAH-produced parts, if the OEM engages in the practice of voiding the OEM's warranty, would this type of practice be deemed to violate the FAA's policy?

n14ky's picture

Warranty is part of Contract law, and has absolutely nothing to do with certification or the Federal Aviation Regulations (Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations). They can put anything they want in the contract as it relates to warranty. Not following the warranty policy will have no impact on the airworthiness of the item, but will only impact your ability to be reimbursed financially for said repair or part replacement.

As an aside to this, there are two documents open for comment on the FAA web site right now dealing with the ICAs and the specific wording that can or cannot be used regarding this very issue. Again, this is for ICAs, not warranty.

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