IAMA Certified News - September 2020 Issue
Sep 21, 2020
To say that an eventual recovery for the aviation industry will be slow, is a fact that we are all learning to cope with. Since the last edition of “Certified News” the pace of business in aviation, as we all know, has been sluggish at best. Despite the collective hardships the pandemic has thrown on airline owners and operators and the organizations who serve them, we are seeing some optimism.
We continue to focus, as we have over the last few months, on sustainability. Fully engaged, we’ve been busy and this edition of our newsletter delves into a variety of topics about our people, activities and aspirations. We are proud to have released an updated version of the IAMA Rulebook, and we published a white paper on the topic of after-sales support. Our operational team is also growing. The IAMA executive and I are extremely pleased that senior aviation executive Andreas Gherman joined IAMA as senior advisor, authority relations. Additionally, we are thankful that senior aerospace engineer, Krunal Patel, is now volunteering with our IAMA Working Groups.
In the past months, we welcomed new subscribers Novus Aviation Capital and Merx Aviation And we want to thank all of our members and subscribers for their valuable contributions to the alliance’s vital mission.
Since our first IAMA Virtual Think Tank (IVTT) session, we’ve hosted several more. Held monthly, these lively online discussions give members and non-members an opportunity to discuss technical needs during the COVID-19 crisis. Our goal with these events is to help airlines ensure the airworthiness of aircraft that have been parked for long periods, while offering advice on preparing fleets for safe return to service in the new normal. These IVTT events are a great source for our Crisis Catalogue.
Our working groups continue to be very active. For example, our STC working group, led by Romain Mbwang Seppoh, head of Eclipse Technic’s design organization, has developed rules designed to elevate the standards for Supplemental Type Certificates. The results of this hard work are evidenced in our IAMA Rulebook, demonstrating our position as an authoritative voice on STC quality.
Our Community and Aligned Information Campaign Working Group, led by Thomas Frercksen, business development manager at Lufthansa Technik, is developing several new white papers. Having recently released “Structural Modifications and the Effects to Aging Aircraft through the Supplemental Type Certificate Process” and “Aircraft Modifications: STC After-Sales Considerations for Airlines”, the next two will examine the challenges of de-modification and prototyping. Our goal with these white papers is to demonstrate a holistic approach to critical modification topics from the perspectives of airlines and aircraft modifiers.
Under the leadership of Dilek Senay Yazici, head of airworthiness at Etihad Engineering, our Certification & Authority Affairs Working Group released their first information statement. This document briefs aviation authorities on IAMA as an organization and our goals. This group’s current focus is Reciprocal Acceptance of Minor Design Changes Approvals between FAA and EASA Systems.
Jeff Behlendorf, director of product management at Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, is leading our Intellectual Property & OEM Affairs working group. This group’s recent work includes contributing to a survey developed with the help of global association management and communications company, Kellen. The survey was used to evaluate the current status of accessibility of third-party Intellectual Property (IP) for modification development. Since all STC suppliers agree that predictable access to approved data is crucial for their own certifications, and to compete in a free aftermarket, the survey is an important tool for our association to develop necessary improvements and next-steps.
The IAMA team and I hope you’ll enjoy reading this newsletter, and encourage you to bring your ideas to us.
Top Story: IAMA Rulebook
IAMA Rulebook V 1.1 now available
Guide to higher quality modifications updated and current
The latest version of the IAMA Rulebook is now available to member organizations, and to airlines and lessors, upon request, through a free membership. The resource, available online, was launched in March of this year. An essential industry tool, it instructs aircraft modifiers and airlines in best practices of successful, superior modifications through Standard Type Certificates (STC).
“The purpose of the IAMA Rulebook is to give our modifier membership direction on how to develop and deliver the highest quality throughout the modification lifecycle, and advice to airlines on what to expect,” said Nicole Noack, managing director of IAMA. “The Rulebook’s guidance aims to streamline the STC project lifecycle from the point of view of airline owners and operators. Since the original version’s release this past March, updates and revisions continue, and we are gratified to see the Rulebook’s ongoing expansion.”
Driven by our IAMA STC Working Group, the Rulebook focuses on counsel addressing airline and lessor concerns. Fundamentally, it offers a standards-based process designed to provide consistent, reliable results. Since the first edition’s release, the Working Group continues to create an exhaustive guide, covering all aspects of an STC project. Topics ranging from documentation to communication and project management standards are conveyed in detail.
In the initial release, we addressed three critical elements in the management of a successful STC. First, how to ensure that complex aircraft modifications with multiple subcontractors have proper communication interfaces and clearly defined leadership to produce better outcomes. Second, guidance on ensuring reliable after-sales support through the early consideration and implementation in the STC project. And third, we integrated IATA cabin interior retrofit and entry into service best practices.
This latest version adds detail on how aircraft modifiers can address two important requirements: right to use and de-modification. It’s well known that STCs have commercial limitations attached, airline owners and operators face a key hurdle trying to obtain the right to use a specific modification. IAMA addresses this frustrating and difficult challenge through rules that ensure modification data can be used by any future legal aircraft operator. The result is that commercial right to use STC data are transferred with the aircraft. To handle a case where an owner or operator decides not to use an installed modification, IAMA created rules to ensure de-risking of such situations which uphold the de-modification option, ensure it is well managed while supporting the owner and operator’s expectations.
Leading our Standard Working Group, Romain Mbwang Seppoh said: “The Rulebook is a living document, and our goal is to continue upgrading its content with guidelines that will further streamline the STC process, and deliver high quality results with a strong focus on operator and owner needs.” Also head of Eclipse Technics design organization, an IAMA founding member company, Mbwang Seppoh further commented, “As part of our commitment to transparency and open communication, we are also welcoming feedback from airlines and lessors regarding new challenges and demands they may have. A future objective is to roll-out an auditing system that is currently in development. This program will target enforcement of the Rulebook’s principles, which is why it is important to understand that modifier members must commit to following the rules in order to display and retain an IAMA quality standing.”
Meet Andreas Gherman, Certification and Authority Affairs Advisor
The alliance recently welcomed Andreas Gherman, as its new senior advisor authority relations. Based in Hamburg, and member of the alliance since its inception, Andreas brings many years of experience with airline operations as vice president of Lufthansa technical operations, and as head of EASA approved Lufthansa Technik’s design organization and office of airworthiness.
“This is an exciting opportunity to employ my considerable experience to IAMA’s laudable mission to create an open and transparent STC ecosystem,” said Gherman, currently an independent aviation expert. “As head of design with Lufthansa Technik, I was privileged to be involved in the creation of the alliance. As a strong supporter of its goals, I am looking forward to working with the team to achieve them.”
Presently, Andreas is contributing part-time in his role as the alliance’s main contact with the various aviation authorities and to support the Certification and Authority Affairs (CAA) working group as required.
“The CAA working group’s activities are critical to accomplishing our overall mission for a free, open and transparent aircraft modification market,” said Nicole Noack, managing director of IAMA. “This group’s mission is to safeguard IAMA’s positions, by ensuring that all our working group developments and statements are compliant with worldwide aviation authority regulations, and by continuing to build our relationship with these authorities. We are extremely pleased that Andreas has joined us in this important capacity. We are confident that, harnessing his extensive experience, he will also help us improve the worldwide transferability of STCs.”
Ask an Expert: STC After-Sales Considerations for Airlines
New White Paper: Aircraft Modifications: STC After-Sales Considerations for Airlines An examination of how to secure better support outcomes
Airline operators and owners contemplating an upgrade to their aircraft have a lot to consider—particularly when deciding to use a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) project. It’s no secret that aircraft modifications require many phases to accomplish and need significant planning and coordination—both by the modifier and the airline operator. As IAMA, the Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance has learned, after-sales support, the last phase in an STC project, can present significant challenges to an airline’s ongoing operations. Fortunately, the experts at IAMA have lengthy experience with the obstacles that can accompany this challenge. Once again demonstrating their leadership in the field of STCs, they have produced a white paper, “Aircraft Modifications: STC After-Sales Considerations for Airlines,” to study the matter.
“Airlines around the world know that after-sales support is a critical factor in effectively maintaining both airworthiness and ongoing fleet operations. As we’ve learned though, it can be a challenge for airlines and maintainers to get the quality and type of support they require,” said Nicole Noack, managing director of IAMA. “Our goal, with this white paper, is to address airline owner and operator experiences, and to illustrate how IAMA modifier members run programs committed to standards-based, well documented support service principles. Our study of the challenges provides the backdrop for how airlines and modifiers can work together to overcome these hurdles.”
With the fundamentals of the IAMA Rulebook at its core, the white paper covers essential considerations for embarking on and successfully completing an STC project—including the all-important after-sales support phase. Starting with communication processes and documentation, unsurprisingly forethought and rigorous planning are key factors in a strong after-sales support program. Touching on the more routine phases of a modification project, the white paper also tackles more demanding topics such as Foreign STC Validation. Additional takeaways, including evaluation processes for understanding modifier capabilities and considerations for requests for proposals, may at first seem obvious. However, the guidance is presented in a relatively short, relevant document and helps illustrate necessary activities that genuinely contribute to the effectiveness of a support program.
It’s important to understand that IAMA members are required to commit to and follow the Rulebook to retain their quality standing. “IAMA and its members take a holistic approach to after-sales support, which is why we are committed to principles and best practices designed to ensure the needs of airlines in this critical area are met,” Noack continued. “A well run after-sales support program helps strengthen the relationship between the parties by fostering ongoing communication. As a result, in our experience, support outcomes are greatly improved, and by extension, ongoing operations.”
Where airline operators and owners may have experienced an absence of support, the methods and processes explored in the white paper provide a strong framework for how to create and execute programs that truly address airline after-sales needs. With an intrinsic acknowledgment of the strength and flexibility of STCs for modernizing airline fleets, the white paper delivers compelling insights.
“Aircraft Modifications: STC After-Sales Considerations for Airlines” is available to IAMA member organizations. The white paper is also accessible to airlines and lessors upon request, through a free subscription, which also permits access to the Rulebook. To become a member, visit the members section of our website. Learn more and request a copy of the white paper here.
Engage with Us
Want to learn more about IAMA? We look forward to connecting with you during any of these online events.
- IAMA Virtual Think Tank 11 | 07 October 2020 | 15:00 CEST
- RedCabin Panel Discussion | 07 October 2020 | 17:00 CEST
- MRO TransAtlantic | 27-29 October 2020 |
Contact us with questions or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Become an IAMA Member
IAMA is open to all aviation market participants including aircraft manufacturers, airlines, suppliers and lessors. The alliance offers three types of paid memberships: Full, Advisory and Basic.
Members have access to specific benefits depending upon their role in the aviation ecosystem, and their membership level. Full and Basic memberships are for organisations with STC capabilities, while Advisory memberships are for airframe and system OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers). Airlines, banks and lessors may join for free.
Find out more about our membership possibilities here!