A Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA), is an alternate replacement part approved by the FAA. PMA parts are used in maintenance for type-certificated aircraft and engines. Approval for PMAs are granted based on a combination of design, production, and installation in one single document. PMA has a long history dating back almost 60 years to World War 2. After the war, there was a big supply of surplus military aircrafts. During this time, most OEMs who manufactured aircraft parts and aviation hardware components during the war went back to their regular production of automobiles and appliances. This made securing aircraft parts difficult. To assist this growing market, the FAA introduced PMA regulations to assist in the availability of aircraft replacement parts.
There are three PMA certification processes. The first is identicality with a license agreement. The Original Equipment Manufacturers licenses a supplier to produce a part and permits the supplier to sell directly in the aftermarket. The second process is identicality without a license agreement. This means a PMA company has access to information such as drawings, to demonstrate the company can produce a part that is identical to the OEM part. This happens without approval from the OEM. The last process is test and computation, which is the most common of the three. During this process, a PMA specialist utilizes test data to evidence the part as equivalent to the OEM part.
OEM and PMA suppliers follow the same rules. The FAA views PMA parts as equivalent to the OEM part. The use of PMA allows for a big saving in funds over an OEM product and has an extensive availability. PMA parts provide good solutions to the aviation market such as using the most up to date technology regarding design software and also providing in-house CCM capabilities.
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