Undocumented parts

Undocumented Parts By Brian Whitehead May-June 1998 Brian Whitehead is chief of policy development for the Aircraft Maintenance & Manufacturing branch in Ottawa, Canada. Undocumented parts have been in the news quite a bit lately, and...


Guidance will also be provided on the disposal of life-limited parts that have completed their allowable time in service, or for which the time in service is unknown. The new rules will emphasize the necessity of properly identifying parts, and segregating airworthy parts from unairworthy parts and from parts of unknown origin. The proposed changes recognize that, in parts that are not subject to the stringent controls on life limits, it may not always be possible to trace the part's history all the way back to its point of origin. In such cases, traceability back to the last documented time of installation on an airworthy aeronautical product will be acceptable.

Finally, the new requirements provide additional guidance on generic parts in common use, including definitions of "standard" and "commercial" parts and additional guidance regarding parts that were originally designed for nonaeronautical use, that have since been approved for installation on aircraft. Examples of the latter include some automotive parts that have been incorporated into the design of certain small aircraft.

Taken together, the changes provide a means for acceptance of genuine aeronautical products that for one reason or another may have become separated from their proof of origin, while ensuring that our primary concern of safety is not compromised. These proposals are a first step toward solving a widespread problem. Transport Canada will continue to work with other authorities with the aim of achieving a harmonized global solution to the undocumented parts issue.

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