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An Example


For example, say you want to install an aftermarket emergency flotation system on your Airbus 350 B2. Prior to selecting which kit to install, a quick review of the FARs finds this landing gear alteration fits not only the Part 1 definition of a major alteration but is also listed in Part 43 Appendix A(a).


Note we didn’t use any of the float system documentation to determine it’s a major alteration. This is key.


And in order to perform a major alternation what do we need? Approved data. Here’s where the float documentation comes into play. Wouldn’t you know it, the first page of the float system data package is its FAA design approval, better known as an STC, which meets the requirements of FAA approved data for a major alteration.


Then why do I receive, or why I am required to buy, an STC for a part that does not meet the definition of a major alteration? Good question.


Remember, an STC is only a design approval which can be used in various ways by vendors. To confuse matters worse, sometimes STC data is used for the design portion of an FAA-PMA replacement part.


However, an STC is also considered intellectual property to a point, and therefore receives some regulatory protection. Part 91.403(d) states:


“A person must not alter an aircraft based on a supplemental type certificate unless the owner or operator of the aircraft is the holder of the supplemental type certificate, or has written permission from the holder.”


But keep in mind, not all non-STC parts and installations should be considered minor alterations either.


72


Jan/Feb 2019


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