New Part 21 regulations that will take effect in about six weeks on April 16 mean the companies that produce aerospace parts must submit quality manuals for FAA approval.
The Aviation Suppliers Association points out a looming bottleneck for the agency and potential problem for others in the industry -- according to FAA, nearly 47% of the manufacturers affected by the regulation haven't submitted a quality manual for approval.
The way things sit now, nearly half of these parts makers would be considered non-compliant after April 16. The impact on the supply chain could be truly disruptive for distributors, ASA notes in its March 2011 Update Report.
"Given the volume of manuals that still need to be approved, it is important for manufacturers to get their manuals into their local FAA offices NOW if they have not already submitted them," writes ASA.
Furthermore, ASA spoke with FAA Director for Aircraft Certification Dorenda Baker, who believes that the lag in submitting manuals indicates that many suppliers' quality systems no longer comply with FAA requirements.
"This could be used as a criterion for targeting enforcement resources," ASA writes. "And this could open the doors to allegations that distributors handling those parts dealt in unapproved parts."
I suppose the bottom line is: know your supply chain. Do you think this will result in a major industry bottleneck next month? Or do you see a lot of quality manuals pending approval piling up on some lucky FAA official's desk in the coming weeks?