Amen to that! You would think that Gulfstream would work with Camp and others in a spirit of cooperation so that the overall safety issue would be enhanced. Not so here. Money is the bottom line. The big company apparently feels that the profit from its system and the control it wields over maintenance efforts are more important points. Most, including the court, would think differently. Indeed, many of its customers might feel the smaller company's programs are better? Perhaps this and costs explain the dispute.
As usual, the only people making any money from this fiasco are the lawyers. This decision will probably be appealed further in an attempt to change the result. But who knows … maybe sanity will prevail and a settlement will be struck.
Camp Systems lawyers, very wisely, cross- complained against Gulfstream for alleged anti-trust violations, copyright misuse, and interference with Camp's business. A decision on these claims remains open. The parties are in a good position to settle this. Many believe Gulfstream used poor judgment in pursuing the matter the way it did.
Similar dispute — FAR Part 13 complaint to FAA
The Gulfstream dispute is not the only variety of dispute between manufacturers and other competitors. FAR Part 13 allows formal complaints to be filed with the FAA in order to attempt to settle disputes within the industry between various competing interests. They are not lawsuits and are more like administrative matters.
For example, the ability to repair components of various aircraft is closely guarded by OEMs because of the profits involved. If they can keep some of this work in house they can continue their profit even where competition grows on the repair side.
Manufacturers create revenue streams through parts sales. Like Mr. Ford said many years ago …"I'll give you the car at cost if you will agree to buy all your replacement parts from me …" New parts sales and component repairs are a critical part of the bottom line at all aircraft manufacturers. It is in their interest to keep the repair and replacement parts business in their control. (If you have priced Ford parts at the Ford store and compared them with aftermarket providers, you know the difference.)
Many manufacturers use various techniques in order to prevent repair facilities from obtaining certain component repair procedures (repair manuals) among them, claiming that they are deemed to be proprietary and owned by the OEM. All repairs concerning these items must be done at the OEM or their designated repair facility. All you can do is remove and replace the item and then send it to them for repair.
A dispute now brewing between some OEM manufacturers (Allison/Rolls-Royce and Airbus) and some repair stations involves the repair facility's ability to acquire manuals and repair instructions for various engine and airframe components. The repair facilities claim that they cannot repair certain parts because they are not provided instructions to do so. They therefore must be sent to the manufacturer or its designated agent.
In a complaint to the FAA, repair facilities argue that the procedures are a form of Instructions For Continued Airworthiness (ICA's) that are mandated by FAA to be supplied by the manufacturers. The OEM people maintain that these repair procedures are proprietary data and therefore will not be released to the repair facilities. Further, Airbus states that off aircraft component maintenance is not essential to continued airworthiness, therefore they do not supply instructions for continued airworthiness for these components. FAA has not yet ruled on this case.
Again, here the OEMs appear to be attempting to protect their profits made on repair of certain components, fearing that competition would hurt their bottom line. Time will tell whether changes will be made. Perhaps these disputes on the part of the OEMs could also be described as …penny wise and pound foolish … Send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Stephen P. Prentice is an attorney whose practice involves FAA-NTSB issues. He has an A&P certificate and is an ATP rated pilot. E-mail: email@example.com.
FAA establishes legitimacy of PMA parts — Period.
By Bill O’Brien In an email from Joe Escobar, the editor of this magazine, he wrote: “There seems to be a trend for OEMs to cover their hind ends by incorporating language in their service...