A blog post
by veteran aviation regulatory attorney and MARPA
President Jason Dickstein highlights some very interesting language on Goodrich-Messier's Aircraft Wheel and Brake technical publication web site
In short, it says that anyone wishing to use its manuals (like, say, a Part 145 repair station) must agree to use "only Goodrich-Messier, Inc.-authorized parts" in performing work detailed in the manuals.
Explains the Goodrich-Messier subscription agreement
There are concerns that the use of replacement parts that are not authorized by Goodrich-Messier, Inc. may compromise the performance and reliability of the wheel(s) and braking system. Replacement parts that are not authorized for use by Goodrich-Messier, Inc. can also affect the operating limits of all interfacing systems such as (in torque generation), anti-skid (in response times), wheel assemblies (in temperature exposure), brake assemblies (in wear rates and wear balance) and tire life (in overhaul frequency).
"Effectively," notes Dickstein in his post, "it is a license whose purpose is to preclude the use of PMA parts."
Goodrich disagrees. A spokesman for the company underscored that the language refers specfically to "authorized" parts, not PMA parts. Further, he noted, there are several PMA-approved parts that are authorized for use in Goodrich wheels and brakes (and are referenced in the component maintenance manual).
Regardless, as Dickstein points out, the language seems to be a crafty example (but hardly an isolated incident) of how OEMs are using FAA's own regulations to back repair stations into a corner on PMAs. Part 145.109
is clear that repair stations must have "the documents and data required for the performance of maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations under its repair station certificate." Having the PMA manual isn't enough; if that PMA is going on a Goodrich-Messier assembly, then the repair station must have the OEM's manual, too.
The 145's possible choice, then: use so-called unauthorized PMAs and violate the Goodrich-Messier license agreement, or use FAA-approved but not Goodrich-authorized parts and do the work without the required manuals on hand, thus violating the FARs. Neither one sounds appealing.
Dickstein noted that MARPA has expressed its concern to FAA, and the agency "shares some of our concerns."
It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, the agency does next.NOTE: an earlier version of this post indicated that Goodrich did not reference any PMAs in its wheels and brakes component maintenance manuals; this post has been updated with the OEM's response.