By Nicole Noack, Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance & Lindsey Sander, Envoy Aerospace
Doing modifications to their fleet is usual for operators to meet new customer expectations, enhance the aircraft capacity and efficiency or simply refurbish the cabin up to the newest standards.
While there are two main ways to get a modification approved – either by using the Airframe Manufacturer or an independent Design Organization – there are several hurdles within the life cycle of the modified fleet.
The Independent Aircraft Modifier now again addresses a topic being a known pain point to operators worldwide: What happens when an Original Aircraft Manufacturer (OAM) issues a Service Bulletin (SB), which interferes with an already installed modification?
When an OAM issues a Service Bulletin that interferes with an existing Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), the aircraft owners/operators are oftentimes left in the lurch without a clear path forward as to how to integrate the new SB into the existing aircraft configuration.
Most OAMs issue SBs based upon the delivery condition of their aircraft, so when an STC modification exists in the same area as the proposed SB, the pre-modification conditions for the SB are not met. Consequently, the aircraft owner/operator is left with a gap that must be bridged between the actual installed configuration and the SB’s required pre-modification configuration.
Often, it is not entirely clear to the operator/owner what steps need to be taken to bridge the gap. Several different paths could be taken, but all require some form of type design change approval. A combination of the OAM, STC provider or an independent modifier may need to be involved to develop the type design change (herein referred to as the “bridge” modification). The path that is selected is ultimately the owner/operator’s decision, so it is important to understand what paths are available to select the most cost-efficient and time-effective option.
In their upcoming IAMA Virtual Think Tank on September 22nd at 3 PM CEST, the experts of IAMA will outline the steps to take and options to consider when determining the best “bridge” modification. The session will be followed by a Q&A time where Airlines, Lessors, and the IAMA Member Design Organizations share experiences and discuss the outlined pathways. OAM are invited to participate as well.
The event is free to register for Airline, Lessor, and OAM participants. Click here to register. https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEqdeCsqzwjGdIS_9qAPgAMINAEYCjImGOD