Choosing between OEM or PMA Aircraft Parts

Just like any machine, your jet will need maintenance at some point. The problem might come down to a part requiring replacement.

When looking for replacement parts, you might be torn between Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) or those manufactured by companies that have been approved by FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and have the PMA (Parts Manufacturing Approval).

OEM or PMA Aircraft Parts

In the past, OEMs could be heard talking negatively about PMA parts because of the competition they have created in the market. OEMs focused their arguments on safety and convinced buyers that PMA parts violated safety standards.

OEMs even went as far as requesting the FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to carry out an investigation on the safety and quality standards of PMA aircraft parts. The FAA and EASA then carried out a thorough investigation into the raised concerns by the OEMs.

In the end, the investigation found no evidence suggesting that PMA parts were unsafe. The same investigation also established that the criteria used in approving the PMA parts were in order.

Ultimately, it is up to the owner, and operator of the aircraft to take responsibility for the airworthiness of your aircraft. It doesn’t matter where you find the parts; make sure you take all the necessary steps to ensure that your aircraft is safe and airworthy.

Some operators might still feel that parts for an aircraft should only be bought from the manufacturer because they are questioning the safety and legality of PMA-approved parts.

They will therefore get everything they require – from airframes, engines, avionics, and propellers and so on from OEMs. They will only go for cesna fasteners for example, if that brand is the original manufacturer of the aircraft. Most of them probably have this mindset because of tradition; for others it is because they are still new to the aviation industry.

Aviation has a very complex regulatory industry. If you are new, the acronyms alone are enough to confuse you. It is important to take time and educate yourself about everything so you can make informed choices about parts, hiring of mechanics, airworthiness, and so on. Just make sure the parts you get are approved and have been certified by the FAA as safe. They don’t have to be from the original aircraft manufacturer. Sometimes, PMA parts can be of better quality than the original and even better when it comes to functionality.

You Can Trust the FAA

The FAA is a trusted authority that only approves and certifies parts, after they have met all the required standards. Even the PMA suppliers have to undergo vetting by the FAA to ensure that every part they manufacture always adheres to the set design approval by FAA.

It is always up to the operator when maintenance time comes, to think beyond mere cost or convenience. Not all PMA parts are inexpensive, some of them are quite costly because they last longer. The question of safety can only be confirmed by the FAA, therefore always look for FAA-approved parts.

It’s All about Safety

Safety remains the highest priority for the producers, the FAA reviewers and everyone else involved – right down to the end-user flying the aircraft with the replacement part installed.

Being vigilant as a buyer and looking for the best quality and compliant parts is always advised. Remember, flying an aircraft that isn’t safe is the biggest risk an operator can take because they are not only endangering their own lives but the lives of passengers as well.