Aircraft Modification Essentials: Data Sharing Between OEMs

May 31, 2022

Data Access requirements for 3rd party part manufacturers white paper

In many aircraft modification projects, the data is often developed by several 3rd party suppliers. One of IAMA’s main objectives is promoting transparency in the market, which is why our approach to the topic of data sharing elaborates on the frictions that can arise during a modification project. Our primary aim is to expose the typical situation. Then we outline the requirements a Design Approval Holder must fulfill to obtain regulatory approval for the proposed modification, while also protecting their IP and cooperating to meet the end-customer’s contractual requirements.

Intellectual Property and Data Requirements in Aircraft Modification

Over the course of the project, the Design Approval Holder and the 3rd party suppliers find themselves navigating the tricky questions surrounding Intellectual Property. The discord around Intellectual Property is all too common. The salient issues include access to and the extent of data required, plus the legal terms which may apply to the Intellectual Property. The situation arises where the modifiers, usually a prime integrator of a collection of components and the 3rd party supplier are both contracted by the aircraft owner, but have no direct contractual obligations to each other. This is where the friction starts.

There is no question that these situations are deemed as complex issues in the aircraft retrofit market. However, our experts have distilled the data requirements for equipment and parts down to three scenarios. Bringing these challenges into the open and providing a straightforward explanation of how to avoid them is how IAMA and its members add value to the aviation industry and pave the way for uncomplicated aircraft modifications. Whether the data relates to Similarity or Re-Test, using already approved parts, or new parts, we have evaluated the typical scenarios and offer frank advice.

Takeaways for the Aircraft Retrofit Market

The critical takeaways are that planning, open, consistent communication and methodical analysis will help the Design Approval Holder and the 3rd party supplier to avoid many of these Intellectual Property friction issues. All of which facilitate a better end-user experience. In the tradition of IAMA’s growing resource library, the Position Paper offers simple advice for all modifier in the aircraft modification industry. And true to the alliance’s growing profile, it demonstrates again why IAMA-endorsed modifiers are the superior choice.

There are many challenges facing aircraft owners, operators, modifiers and integrators when it comes to modifications, Intellectual Property being just one. IAMA is a strong advocate for transparency in the aviation industry to help elevate the dialog around aircraft modifications.

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