Avionics News October 2016 - 62
Continued from page 61
a spot-check of the design organization's records.
The challenge, of course, is to develop a design quality
assurance system that ensures compliance and safety without inhibiting creativity and innovation. This is a challenge
that must remain in the forefront of everyone's mind as the
process moves forward.
So how will this work for repair stations?
Unlike manufacturing, where the same process is repeated for each unit being produced, repairs are frequently
diverse. They must be tailored to the specifics of the damage that is being repaired. Likewise, alterations can be
diverse as the installation must take into account the existing modifications and installation with which the alteration
must interface. Thus, MRO work frequently involves measurements, assessments and judgments about the right way
Performing repairs can be done strictly according to
the manual. This is relatively easy to manage under a
rigid quality system. But many repair stations are actively
expanding the limits of what they can do for their clients.
Using DER repairs, FAA-approved aftermarket parts and
STC programs, they are finding ways to repair and modify
their customers' aircraft to make flying safer, more economical and more fun. This sort of creativity is analogous
to the design process for a new product or article, and
would need to be managed in a similar way. It will face the
same challenge - developing a robust system for ensuring
safety and compliance without inhibiting creativity and
The concepts for these systems are not yet fully developed - this provides an unusual (and possibly unique)
opportunity for industry to weigh in on what the future
oversight model will look like, and how FAA certificate
holders will manage compliance in the future.
The global aviation community is facing a resource
threat, and the FAA is developing the solution that will
prevent that threat from becoming a crisis. It might make
for a boring science fiction story, but it does seem to
reflect good government. q
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