Saving Time on your STC with the ODA Process
As described by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), supplemental type certification (STC) is a type certificate (TC) issued when an applicant has received FAA approval to modify an aeronautical product from its original design. The STC, which incorporates by reference the related TC, approves not only the modification but also how that modification affects the original design. The FAA requires specific documentation, tests and approvals throughout the process leading to the issuance of an STC. Advisory Circular No: 21-40A, “Guide for Obtaining a Supplemental Type Certificate” describes this process.
Two approaches are possible:
- the classical STC process using FAA resources, or,
- a streamlined approach using an Organization Designation Authorization.
STC Process using FAA Resources
The primary process for securing FAA STC is for the applicant to follow the FAA required STC process, working with the applicant’s local FAA Aircraft Certification Office (ACO). Working in coordination with Designated Engineering Representatives (DERs) and the local ACO, the process timeline is determined by the FAA process and, ultimately, by the ACO workload.
ACOs provide the following services to organizations operating within their geographic area. These tasks include:
- Design approval and certificate management
- US production approvals
- Engineering and analysis questions
- Addressing matters of continued operational safety (COS)
- Designated Engineering Representatives oversight
The FAA response time can be driven by “within 30 day and 45 day” statutory requirements and policy guidelines, with 45 days or more being experienced depending on the ACO. The actual time is dependent upon office and personnel workload. Airlines, major airframe manufacturers and other higher priority projects can often take precedence over STC and other lower priority projects. Often, ACO schedules include a disclaimer “if no COS activities take priority.”
STC Process Streamlined Using an ODA
The alternative process is to utilize an FAA STC process associated with an Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) which is addressed in detail in the accompanying information paper. These are the only two STC processes acceptable to the FAA.
Similar to a Designated Engineering Representative (DER) and other designees of the FAA, an ODA works as a representative of the FAA and acts on behalf of the administrator. The unique element of ODA is that candidate ODA is invited to do so by the FAA. The ODA off-loads FAA certification workload while maintaining the same safety, policy and compliance as the FAA. An ODA uses Unit Member, typically DERs that have been designated by the ODA as qualified to make a finding of compliance; Unit Member and 8100-9 approvals are the ODA equivalent of DERs or 8110-3 approvals.
Employing an ODA allows the STC customer to have greater certainty and a timeline not constrained by projects external to the applicant’s requirements. Fundamentally, an ODA is a commercial service whose business and reputation is dependent on integrity, predictability, reliability and customer service.
The Peregrine ODA Advantage
Using an ODA will accelerate your STC project and can cut at least two-thirds of the process time compared with using FAA ACO resources.
Where the Peregrine is performing the STC activity on behalf of a customer, Peregrine Unit Members work with the applicant and the Peregrine ODA allows Peregrine, acting on behalf of the FAA, to streamline the entire process. Peregrine acceptance of an STC project includes the assurance of predictable schedules and timelines for the aspects of the projects assign to the ODA.