Tamzin Hindmarch

The US Federal Aviation Administration has set up a free hotline for people wishing to report suspected unapproved aircraft parts.

Such products may look the same, but if they do not comply with FAA standards they may not be of the same high quality or be as compatible as those which are.

There is no doubt that using a cheaper substitute which fails to meet US legal specifications could be costly in terms of damage to an aircraft if it failed and - more importantly - in terms of crew and passenger safety.

Unfortunately, unapproved parts can be hard to detect because often their manufacturers go to great lengths to make them look like the real thing.


Not only do they duplicate materials, some go as far matching part or serial numbers.

And to make matters worse, some of the counterfeit goods may be being sold by suppliers alongside the genuine article.

Without a detailed inspection or material analysis, many of them can slip by unnoticed.

Signs to look out for include:

the quoted price is significantly lower than that of other suppliers;

the delivery schedule is significantly shorter than from other suppliers when supplies are depleted;

the supplier is unable to provide evidence of FAA approval for the part.

Buyers are also advised to look out for damaged containers, another supplier's name on the packaging and serial numbers which have been tampered with.


Visual defects, though often difficult to find, can also be a giveaway. It might be that a part's surface is unusual, or there is evidence of prior usage such as scratches, new paint over old or signs of corrosion.

If you have any doubts about a product, contact the FAA Aviation Safety Hotline (USA only) on 1 (800) 2551111, or complete the FAA Form 8120-11 (available from your local FAA office) and send it to: Federal Aviation Administration, System Surveillance and Analysis Division, AIR-300, PO Box 17030, Washington, DC 20041.

Source: Flight Daily News