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WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A CONFORMITY INSPECTION

Conformity inspections involve the review of all design data and production documents generated as part of a design approval program with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  In recent years, the FAA has been moving in the direction of becoming an agency whose function is that of oversight.  Rarely do Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASI) conduct conformity inspections or issue Airworthiness Certificates themselves.  Instead, these tasks are now performed by designees, the Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR).

Prior to beginning the inspection, the DAR will need the following signed forms:  FAA Form 8120-10, Request For Conformity (RFC) from the MIDO delegating the inspection to him, and Form 8130-9, Statement of Conformity from the applicant.  The Statement of Conformity requires that the applicant comply with Section 21.33(a) of Title 14 CFR Part 21.  Click here to see what you as the applicant are atesting to: §21.33.  FAA Form 8110-1, Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) may be generated instead of or in conjunction with the 8120-10.  The 8120-10 (and the TIA) generally originates from the Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) in which the project resides.  In some cases, a Designated Engineering Representative (DER) will be granted authority by the FAA to issue the 8120-10 directly to the DAR.  Note that if your company is not the program applicant with the FAA, the DAR will need a letter authorizing you to act as an agent on their behalf.  This letter must be signed by the program applicant.  Please note that the inspection cannot begin until the DAR has received authorization to do so in the form of the above referenced documents.  And ground and flight testing cannot begin until the conformity is complete and found to be satisfactory.  This is so that the FAA can have a known configuration to base their finding on.

In basic terms, a conformity inspection determines that the applicant has correctly performed all processes and tests to produce parts and assemblies called for by the design data and has inspected those parts and assemblies and found that they are in compliance with the design data.  For first article parts and assemblies that are part of a design approval project, this means that the applicant has performed a 100% inspection.  No deviations from the design data are allowed.  Items that are found to be unsatisfactory may have to be remade or reworked in order to bring them into conformance.  These items will have to be reinspected.  It is also possible that the design data can be changed to take into account certain deviations found during the inspection.  NOTE:  a conformity inspection is not to be used in place of a final inspection.  By the time the conformity inspection takes place, the applicant should have performed all necessary tests and inspections and found 100% conformance to the design data.  The DAR will perform no tests or measurements himself, rather he will examine all production records and request that certain random inspections be conducted again as a spot check to verify that the parts, assemblies, and installations are in compliance with the design data.  The DAR does not do your job, he verifies that you have done your job.  The DAR will examine some or all of the following documents and records:

There are two types of conformity inspections, parts conformity and installation conformity.  A parts conformity reviews all design data and production records used to build the parts and assemblies, and an installation conformity reviews all design data and production records used to install those parts and assemblies on an aircraft.  In both cases, the parts and assemblies and the installation of those same parts and assemblies must be in 100% conformance with the design data.  No deviations from the design data are permitted nor is any Material Review Board action allowed.  NOTE:  the conformity for any given part must be completed prior to it being installed on or in the aircraft.

Post inspection activities include the filling out the following forms and paperwork:

The required forms for any given inspection are listed on the Request for Conformity or on the Type Inspection Authorization (TIA).  Except for the 8130-3(s) which must remain attached to the part(s) and/or assembly(ies), the completed forms are sent to the program office.


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Web page created by S-Tech Enterprises.  Last revised: November 19, 2012