An operational aircraft must utilize airworthy designated parts from certified manufacturers as it is illegal to install or use any part that does not meet airworthiness standards. In addition, non-certified parts or components can compromise the safety and efficacy of a plane. Therefore, several organizations such as NATO and other international civil aviation groups work to regulate and maintain standard production requirements for all aircraft parts. One such organization is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which offers standards and certificates such as Technical Standard Orders (TSO) and Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) which signifies a part’s airworthiness or ability to meet specific performance standards. When ordering parts online, one must consider these standards to guarantee the high quality and reliability of parts for an aircraft. In this blog, we will discuss TSO and PMA standards and certifications offered by the FAA so that you may better understand their use and difference.
The FAA is America’s biggest transportation agency, and it is charged with handling civil aviation and its related aspects. Within the US, the agency’s processes include controlling air traffic, providing certifications, standardizing airports, etc. The FAA designates a part or component as a Technical Standard Order (TSO) item when considered airworthy by meeting specific performance expectations. To be certified, a part must meet the minimum standards set for a civil aircraft. To acquire TSO design approval, an applicant must prove to the FAA that the developed article meets TSO specifications, is airworthy, and has a developed manufacturing quality system to ensure that every produced part meets expected standards. For international manufacturers, on the other hand, approval will require one to contact the exporting CAA and submit an application form and all required data. The CAA will then coordinate with the FAA to move ahead with the process. Then, the FAA will issue a TSO design approval to manufacturers for specific parts. It is important to note that the only international manufacturers that can get TSO design approval are those located within a country that has an applicable bilateral agreement with the USA.
TSO certification allows a manufacturer to design and produce parts, but does not permit part installation on an aircraft. Therefore, the part must be authorized by the FAA to be installed on a particular aircraft. Moreover, the FAA can withdraw or cancel TSO certification under any given circumstances. A canceled TSO implies the part’s approval has been rendered inactive, but the manufacturer can continue to produce parts while simply being unable to receive any new authorization from the FAA. In contrast, a withdrawn TSO indicates that the FAA has revoked the license, halting part production entirely.
Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) is a license provided to aircraft manufacturers by the FAA. This license assures that parts are airworthy and equivalent to or better than the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) option. PMA-certified manufacturers have permission to produce parts that can be used as a replacement in type-certified products and aircraft. Though the FAA precisely controls the aircraft part production market, the process of PMA approval is similar to the automobile spare part market. For PMA certification, an applicant should submit a PMA form while applying for either identicality, which means that the proposed item is identical to parts provided by the original approval holder (OAH), or identicality by licensure, where an applicant submits proof of having part licensing of the part data from the OAH.
Another method of getting a PMA license is through tests and computations that require general and comparative analysis. The FAA compares the presented part with the original part based on functional requirements when installed for a general analysis. For a comparative analysis, both parts are compared based on their operation. Finally, in order to withdraw PMA approval, one would send a letter with a cancellation request to their local manufacturing inspection district office (MIDO), followed by returning the FAA accreditation letter and informing the provincial MIDO about any remaining inventory.
All the parts used in your aircraft must be high quality with proper certifications for airworthiness and safety. If you are looking for a reliable TSO and PMA-certified provider for your aviation needs, your search ends here. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, Veritable Aviation is an AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accredited distributor that provides an interface with the largest selection of parts for civil and military defense applications on a single platform. We are a premium part supplier that provides rapid lead times and exceptional cost savings on all items with a NO CHINA SOURCING pledge. For more related information, call or email us at your convenience; we will be happy to serve you 24/7x365. If you have trouble locating a particular item in our inventory, take advantage of our instant RFQ services. Submit your request now, and we will be in touch with you within 15 minutes.
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