Volume 3 General technical administration
chapter 41 APPROVE CONTRACT RELIABILITY PROGRAM FOR 121/135.411(A)(2)
Section 1 Safety Assurance System: Approving Contract Reliability Programs
3-3811 REPORTING SYSTEM(S), SAFETY ASSURANCE SYSTEM (SAS) AUTOMATION.
This section is related to SAS Element 1.1.4, (AW) Reliability Program.
3-3812 OBJECTIVE. This chapter provides guidance for approving contract
reliability programs for Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part
121 and part
1) Operator: An air carrier contracting with another air carrier
for a maintenance program controlled by a reliability program.
2) Contractor: An operator contracting out an approved maintenance
program controlled by a reliability program to another operator.
B. Responsibility. This task is performed by the Airworthiness
Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASIs) assigned to the operator/applicant. Special
attention must be given to evaluate each element of a proposed program.
3-3814 CONTRACTUAL MAINTENANCE AGREEMENTS.
A. Contractual maintenance agreements are used by operators for
various reasons, including:
· The impracticality of staffing and equipping maintenance facilities,
· Lack of a technical support staff to develop effective maintenance
· Insufficient reliability control due to a lack of statistical
B. Under contractual maintenance agreements, an operator's aircraft
are treated as part of a contractor's operating fleet. The operator is not required
to develop its own reliability program for this arrangement. The operator must,
however, have a continuing analysis and surveillance system (part
121.373 and §
135.431) and must participate in the contractual arrangement as necessary
to uphold its airworthiness responsibilities.
C. An operator/applicant must provide the Principal Airworthiness
Inspector with the information and data needed to show the effectiveness of
D. Traditionally, an aircraft maintenance program is based on:
· Integrity of the system, component, or installation,
· The capability of the facility performing the maintenance, and
· The types of operation and environmental conditions in which the
equipment is used.
E. Equipment similarities and operating characteristics, such
as utilization, flight cycle length, and environment must be considered when
evaluating a contractual arrangement. Program approval and the need to adjust
inspection intervals, overhaul periods, etc., must be based on the suitability
of the program.
3-3815 OPERATOR/APPLICANT AND CONTRACTOR COMPATIBILITY. When evaluating
a contractual arrangement for a reliability program, the following must be considered:
A. Equipment. When model, configuration, or previous maintenance
programs vary between the operator/applicant's equipment and the contractor's
equipment, the program must identify the maintenance tasks required to include
the operator/applicant's equipment in the contractor's program. The program
also must show additional tasks required to address specific differences in
B. Utilization. If the operator/applicant's projected annual
utilization differs significantly from the contractor's, consideration should
be given to imposing calendar limits for inspection intervals in place of or
in addition to flight hours.
C. Flight Cycle Length. If the operator/applicant's ratio of
flight hours per cycle differs significantly from the contractor's ratio, the
operator/applicant's maintenance program may need adjustment to compensate for
D. Environment. The operator/applicant's maintenance program
may also need to be adjusted if the operating environments of the operator/applicant
and contractor differ significantly. The operator/applicant may need to change
existing maintenance tasks, adjust intervals, and/or add new maintenance tasks.
3-3816 RELIABILITY PROGRAM DOCUMENT. When an air carrier develops
reliability programs for use by other air carriers, the reliability program
document must define the responsibilities of the participating air carriers
and include procedures for interface between the two. The document must be based
on the premise that the operator/applicant adopts appropriate portions of the
contractor's approved aircraft maintenance program. The reliability program
must meet the requirements of Volume 3, Chapter 40, Approve A Maintenance Reliability
Program for 121/135.
3-3817 DATA ANALYSIS. The contractor's reliability program must describe
the data analysis system. The contractor should consolidate all data collected,
analyze the data, and return it to the operator/applicant in a usable form.
This analysis should compare the mechanical performance of the operator/applicant's
aircraft to acceptable levels and to the performance of the contractor's fleet.
3-3818 PROGRAM DISPLAYS AND STATUS OF CORRECTIVE ACTION PROGRAMS.
Displays and reports must highlight the systems that have exceeded the established
performance standard. “Over alert” conditions should be carried over from previous
reports and a status of ongoing corrective action should be provided.
A. The contractor's program must describe the reports, charts,
and graphs used to document operating experience. Responsibilities for these
reports must be established and the reporting elements must be clearly identified
B. A program display, containing the essential information for
each aircraft, aircraft system, and component controlled by the program must
be described. Each system and component must be identified by the appropriate
Air Transportation Association (ATA) Specification 100 system code number.
C. The following must be displayed:
· Performance trends,
· The current month's performance (graphical or tabular presentations
may be used),
· A minimum of 12 months experience, and
· The reliability performance standards (alert values).
D. The status of corrective action programs must include all
corrective action programs implemented since the last reporting period.
E. The contractor must have manual procedures or a contractual
requirement to provide the operator/applicant with reports that reflect performance
experience and status of corrective action.
3-3819 CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT. The requirements imposed on the contractor
by the operator/applicant's maintenance program, reliability program, and operations
specifications must be supported by the contractual agreement. The operations
specifications issued to the operator/applicant are not binding on the contractor.
It is the operator/applicant's responsibility to ensure that all requirements
of the specifications, program, and manual are met.
3-3820 APPROVAL. The Principal Airworthiness Inspectors assigned
to the operator/applicant will approve the use of the reliability program by
issuing operations specifications. Program changes must be approved by the Principal
Airworthiness Inspectors either on an individual basis or by procedures approved
as part of the reliability program.
3-3821 COORDINATION REQUIREMENTS. This task requires coordination
between Airworthiness Inspectors, the regional office, and headquarters.
NOTE: This task must be coordinated with the contractor's certificate-holding
district office (CHDO).
3-3822 REFERENCES, FORMS, AND JOB AIDS.
A. References (current editions):
· 14 CFR part
· Advisory Circular (AC)
120-17, Maintenance Control by Reliability Methods, as amended,
· The operator/applicant's maintenance program, and
· Order 8900.1, Airworthiness Inspector's Handbook, appropriate
B. Forms: FAA Form 8400.8, Operations Specifications (OpSpecs).
C. Job Aids: Automated operations specifications checklists and
A. Meet With the Operator/Applicant. Provide the operator/applicant
with the appropriate information.
1) Upon request for reliability program information, provide AC
120-17, as amended.
2) Advise the operator/applicant that the application for authorization
to use a contractor's reliability program consists of at least the following
· Contractor's approved reliability program,
· Operator/applicant's manual procedures to support the reliability
· Operations specifications checklist/worksheet, and
· The contractual agreement between the operator/applicant and the
3) Advise the operator/applicant that the reliability program
must include the following:
a) For the operator/applicant and contractor:
· Adequate organizational structure,
· Data collection and analysis,
· Program revisions, and
· Details of contractual arrangements.
b) For the contractor only:
· Adjustment of time limits and process changes,
· Definition of significant terms, and
· Procedures for revising performance standards.
c) Provisions for compatibility between the operator/applicant and the contractor
regarding types of equipment, operational environment, flight length, and aircraft
B. Contact the Contractor's Certificate Holding District Office.
Accomplish the following:
1) Ensure that the contractor has a valid certificate, an approved
continuous airworthiness maintenance program, and an approved reliability program
(if applicable) for the type equipment operated by the operator/applicant.
2) Review the content of the contractor's reliability program
3) Determine the types of equipment the operator/applicant has
C. Determine if the Operator/Applicant's and the Contractor's Equipment,
Utilization, Flight Cycle Length, and Environment are Compatible.
D. Evaluate the Program Application Procedures. Ensure that the
contractor's reliability program includes the following:
1) Components, systems, or complete aircraft controlled by the
program. Individual systems and/or components are identified by Air Transportation
Association Specification 100. A list of all components controlled by the program
must be included.
2) A complete aircraft inspection program, including the portion
of the maintenance program controlled by the reliability program (overhaul and/or
inspection, check periods, etc.).
3) Evaluation of conditions and trends found during the inspection
of the aircraft that will result in corrective action.
E. Evaluate the Operator/Applicant's and the Contractor's
Organizational Structures. The organizational charts must show the following:
1) The relationship between the participants responsible for
administering the program.
2) The authority delegated to each organizational element.
F. Evaluate the Organizational Responsibilities.
1) Ensure that the contractor's reliability program document
and the operator/applicant's procedures describe how information is to be exchanged
between organizational elements. This may be displayed in a diagram.
2) Ensure that the reliability program document and the operator/applicant's
procedures define the activities and responsibilities of each organizational
element (Engineering, Quality Control, Flight Operations, etc.) and/or reliability
control committee for enforcing policy and Compare the operator/applicant's
organizational structure and personnel duties and responsibilities with the
requirements in the contractual agreement and the reliability program.
G. Evaluate the Data Collection System.
1) Ensure that the contractor's program fully describes the data
collection system as it relates to the aircraft, components, and/or systems
to be controlled. The program must:
· Address the flow of information,
· Identify any sources of information,
· Specify the steps of data development from source to analysis,
· Describe the organizational responsibilities for each step of
2) Ensure that the program includes samples of data to be collected,
such as reports for the following:
· Powerplant disassembly and inspection,
· Component condition,
· Mechanical delay and cancellation,
· Flight log,
· Premature removal,
· Confirmed failure,
· Internal leakage, and
· Engine shutdown.
3) Verify that the operator/applicant's manual includes procedures
for collecting the required data and sending it to the contractor in accordance
with the contractual arrangement. The required data should include corrective
actions as well as shop repair records for work performed away from the contractor's
H. Evaluate the Methods of Data Analysis and the Application to Maintenance
Controls. Ensure that the data analysis system includes the following:
1) One or more of the types of action appropriate to the trend
or level of reliability experienced, such as:
· Actuarial or engineering studies employed to determine a need
for maintenance program changes,
· Maintenance program changes involving inspection frequency and
content, functional checks, overhaul procedures, and time limits,
· Aircraft, aircraft system, or component modification or repair,
· Changes in operating procedures and techniques.
2) Effects on maintenance controls, such as overhaul time, inspection
and check periods, and overhaul and/or inspection procedures.
3) Procedures for evaluating critical failures as they occur.
4) Documentation required for maintenance program changes, modifications,
special inspections, or fleet campaigns. The contractor's manual must provide
procedures for retaining these documents.
5) A corrective action program that shows the results of corrective
actions in a reasonable period of time. Depending on the effect on safety, a
“reasonable” period of time can vary from immediate to the time period of an
6) A description of statistical techniques used to determine
operating reliability levels.
7) Procedures to inform the operator/applicant of changes to
8) Data analysis that considers the past experience of both the
contractor and the operator/applicant.
9) An adequate, timely flow of information between the contractor
and the operator/applicant.
I. Evaluate the Operator/Applicant's Manual. Ensure that the
operator/applicant has manual procedures to accomplish the following:
1) Performing corrective action through the person responsible.
2) Notifying persons responsible for taking corrective action.
3) Informing the contractor when corrective action changes were
made and the extent of those changes.
4) Follow-up to ensure corrective actions taken are effective.
NOTE: A corrective action is effective if the out-of-limit
condition is brought back to an acceptable level of performance.
J. Evaluate the Procedures For Revising the Reliability Program.
Ensure that there are procedures for the contractor to obtain Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) approval before changing any of the following elements
of the reliability program:
· Performance standards,
· Data collection,
· Data analysis system,
· Procedures/organization concerning program administration,
· Changes from alert-type programs to non-alert-type programs or
vice versa, and
· Adding or deleting aircraft, components, or systems.
NOTE: Changes to these aspects of the reliability program must
be coordinated between the Principal Airworthiness Inspectors (PAI) assigned
to the operator/applicant and the contractor.
K. Evaluate the Procedures for Revising Performance Standards.
1) Ensure that the contractor's procedures specify the organizational
elements responsible for monitoring and revising the performance standard and
the content of those revisions. Performance standards should be revised when
they are not responsive or sensitive enough to reflect changes in actual performance.
2) If the operator/applicant submits a program which does not
incorporate statistical performance standards or which deviates significantly
120-17, as amended, contact the contractor's assigned PAI.
a) Examine the basis for the deviations and the integrity of the program
and determine if any restrictions apply.
b) If unresolved issues about the contractor's program remain, contact the
regional office for guidance.
L. Evaluate Definitions. Verify that the reliability program
clearly defines unique terms, acronyms, and abbreviations as applied to the
M. Evaluate the Program Displays and the Status of Corrective Action
Programs. Ensure that the contractual agreement or the contractor's manual
requires the contractor to provide the operator/applicant with reports that
reflect performance experience and corrective action status.
N. Evaluate the Procedures for Maintenance Control Changes. Verify
that the contractor's reliability program document:
1) Describes the procedures for maintenance control changes to
the reliability program.
2) Identifies the organizational elements responsible for preparing
reports that justify maintenance control changes. At least two separate organizational
elements are required, one of which exercises inspection or quality control
responsibility for the operator/applicant.
3) Specifies the processes used to determine maintenance control
changes, such as sampling, functional checks, bench checks, decision tree analysis,
and unscheduled removal.
4) Provides procedures to cover all maintenance program activities
controlled by the program.
5) Recognizes critical failures and contains procedures for taking
6) Provides procedures to ensure that any maintenance interval
adjustments will not interfere with ongoing corrective actions.
7) Contains procedures for notifying the CHDO when time limitations
adjustments or other program changes occur.
O. Review the Contractual Arrangement. Ensure that the contract
accomplishes the following:
1) Identifies the participating parties.
2) Identifies all applicable equipment.
3) Defines the responsibilities of both contracting parties.
4) Supports the responsibilities of the contractor specified
in the reliability program.
P. Inspect the Contract Maintenance Facility. Determine if the
contractor is capable of meeting its contractual obligations. Provide the district
office with the information necessary to perform the inspections, such as the
contractual arrangement and operator/applicant's manual procedures.
Q. Analyze the Findings. Follow SAS guidance for module 5.
3-3824 TASK OUTCOMES.
A. Follow SAS guidance for modules 4 and 5.
B. Completion of this task results in one of the following:
1) Issued OpSpecs authorizing the use of the contractor's reliability
2) A letter to the operator/applicant denying the authorization.
3-3825 FUTURE ACTIVITIES. Follow SAS guidance.
RESERVED. Paragraphs 3-3826 through 3-3840.