Approaching repairs in already modified areas with a supplemental type certificate
Feb 08, 2022
When an aircraft is damaged in an area that has already been modified with one or more Supplemental Type Certificates, it can be challenging for operators/owners to get the technical support they need and we explain the pitfalls and offer practical advice.
Getting Down to the Problems
Our experts have articulated the two main issues: Firstly, Supplemental Type Certificate providers are not required to provide aircraft maintenance support beyond addressing service difficulties. And secondly, aircraft OEM repair support is typically not available because they generally do not have access to the necessary STC data. These two factors pose a considerable challenge to the owner/operator attempting to have their aircraft repaired. However, our team of experts at the Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance have a solution.
Take, for example, a fuselage-mounted radome delivered, installed and certified by a Design Approval Holder. A second DAH removes the radome and provides a certified repair to the fuselage. At some later date, the area where the repair was completed is damaged. It’s crucial to recognize that two different DAHs hold the relevant data for the two aircraft modifications which creates a challenging situation. How will the damage be fixed? It can be tackled with direct, open communication, bringing all the stakeholders together, and agreeing on the data required for the repair. It’s not surprising that IAMA members are committed to providing the required data and technical support from the outset.
IAMA’s Part in the Solution Process
We are actively engaged in opening the lines of communication across a modification’s lifecycle by encouraging providers, OEMs, owners, operators and other stakeholders to commit to our STC standards and the IAMA Rulebook. Transparent communication is a cornerstone of the Rulebook and our membership is committed to following the rules. Our white papers, position papers and other resources also support this goal.
Core rules that address the multiple-DAH aircraft-repair issue include: the Right to Use Statement; After-sales Support; De-modification Considerations; and Data Access Agreements. Combined, these regulations—among others—form the basis for an IAMA-endorsed Supplemental Type Certificate. The key point is that potential headaches associated with such repairs are considered right from the beginning, at the Request for Proposal stage and follow right through to the after-sales support phase. It’s easy to see that choosing a modifier offering IAMA-endorsed Supplemental Type Certificate s can simplify many aspects of a modification. All of this is made possible by IAMA’s STC Standard Working Group. They are responsible for the Rulebook’s content, holistically evaluate challenges like repairs, and actively work to alleviate owner/operator pain points.