What Is an 8130 Certificate?
The aircraft parts and maintenance industry must closely follow Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards in their operations. In some cases, this includes the utilization of form 8130-3. While most in the industry are familiar with the FAA 8130 form and the fact that it is required for various export and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) processes, many are unaware of what it is and how it is used.
In this article, we’ll provide an in-depth overview of the 8130 certificate, including what it is, how it is used and how to get one.
What Is an 8130 Form?
The 8130-3 form is an FAA-required document that is primarily used to verify parts and components within the global aviation system. Under the FAA Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), the 8130-3 form is required as an airworthiness certificate, certifying that an aircraft part is in good enough condition to operate safely within the U.S. and its global partners.
Within this scope, the 8130 serves two primary purposes:
- To approve or certify that new and used parts meet conformity requirements for airworthiness.
- To approve or certify that parts may return to service following maintenance.
The form itself is utilized differently for these two purposes, so it is essential to understand these uses in detail.
8130 Form Terms and Definitions
When working with an 8130-3 form, there are several terms that will come into play. These include product classes and descriptions, which are defined by 14 CFR Part 21.321 and have remained unchanged since March 1979. These terms are explained below:
- Class I product: A Class I product is defined as a complete aircraft, aircraft engine or propeller. To meet Class I requirements, the product type must be certified under applicable FAA or international civil aviation authority regulations.
- Class II product: A Class II product is defined as a major component of a Class I product that, if it were to fail, would jeopardize the safety of the Class I product. This includes wings, landing gears, power transmissions, controls and other critical systems.
- Class III product: A Class III product is any part that is not a Class I or Class II product. This includes all standard parts for aircraft and safety and survival equipment like fire safety and oxygen systems.
- Newly overhauled: “Newly overhauled” is a term used to describe a product that has not been operated since it was overhauled and approved for return to service, with the exception of applicable functional testing during the inspection process.
Originally, the FAA 8130 form was only used for exporting Class II and III new and newly overhauled products. However, the form was overhauled in the 1990s to accommodate return to service purposes.
What Is an 8130-3 Used For?
According to the FAA, the 8130 form is only applied to products within the jurisdiction of the FAA. Within this scope, the form is used for the following purposes:
- New products: The form may be used as a statement from the FAA that a new Class I or Class II product conforms to its design and is safe for operation.
- Newly overhauled parts: The form may be used as a certification that a newly overhauled product is approved for return to service.
- International use: The form may be used when exporting a new or newly overhauled product or shipping a prototype to another country that has a bilateral agreement with the United States.
Across these purposes, the form is used to improve the identification and traceability of aviation products across the global system.
What Can’t an 8130 Form Be Used For?
While the 8130 form serves multiple purposes, there are specific circumstances and functions for which it can’t be used. The FAA outlines some common examples of how not to use the form:
- Administrative purposes: The FAA Form 8130-3 should not be used for administrative purposes between two parties, including as a delivery or shipping document.
- Aircraft release: The FAA Form 8130-3 is only applicable to aircraft parts and should not be used as an aircraft release form.
- Installation approval: The 8130 form only serves as a confirmation of a part’s airworthiness — it does not function as an approval to install a product on a particular aircraft or aircraft part.
Additionally, there are multiple guidelines for how to fill out an 8130 form. For example, the form cannot be issued by organizations other than those authorized by the FAA to do so. While the form can be used for multiple products, the form cannot be used to approve a mixture of production- and maintenance-released products.
FAA 8130-3 Form vs. EASA Form 1
For the global aviation system to function smoothly and maintain essential standards, countries have to make regulatory agreements. One such example is the EU and U.S. bilateral agreement. Under this agreement, products that are exported or imported to either country must have a dual release form for domestic and international use. This applies to FAA Form 8130-3 and the EU equivalent, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Form 1.
The EASA Form 1 serves the same functions as the 8130 form, acting as the EU’s airworthiness approval form. The EASA Form 1 is often compared to the 8130 form, which is fully intentional — the U.S. FAA and the EU EASA began efforts to homogenize aviation regulations in the late 2000s and worked in the early 2010s on new versions of the form that would function harmoniously. The result was a new version of the 8130 form published in 2014 that closely resembled the EASA form.
The FAA Form 8130-3 comes in single release and dual release versions. The single release form is for domestic use only. The dual release is needed to meet both FAA and EASA requirements, provided that the part in question is assessed and approved under both regulations. To use the form for dual release, the form must be marked appropriately and contain a statement regarding its utility as a dual release. This is required in the following circumstances:
- Exporting aircraft parts for use in the EU
- Sending a part to an EASA repair station within the U.S.
- Returning a part to service for use in an EU-registered aircraft
To receive a dual release, it must be specifically requested from an approved issuer. For the past few decades, the standard has been to complete all 8130 forms as dual releases. However, all FAA Part 145 Repair Stations are now required to default to single release forms unless the end user provides written request for a dual release.
How to Get an 8130 Certificate
To get an 8130 certificate, the end-user must request it from the production approval holder (PAH) or the repair service from which they are receiving their parts. The service must then utilize the appropriate channels for receiving the 8130 certificate before the product leaves its quality control system. They can send a copy of the form to the requesting end-user while keeping a copy on file for their records. Upon receipt, the end-user must then verify the information on the 8130 certificate, including the correctness of the information contained and the validity of any signatures.
In some circumstances, an end-user may request a new or updated copy of their 8130 certificate. This is allowed under the following circumstances:
- Loss of form: If the end-user loses their original 8130 form, they may request a new copy from the originator. The originator may honor this request any number of times with no restrictions.
- Correction request: If the end-user receives a form with an error, they may request a corrected version from the originating service. The request must be in writing and must identify the errors on the original form. The originating service can then honor the correction request without recertification of the product. In these cases, the corrected form must be issued with a statement in Box 12 stating the nature of the correction and clarifying that the new form does not verify the current status of the part in question.
It is important to note that there are circumstances where an 8130 form may not be issued by a PAH or FAA repair station. An 8130 form is not required for domestic shipments, though it is recommended. Therefore, some services may not offer them unless specifically requested. Additionally, 8130 forms must be requested before a part leaves the service’s quality control system — the form cannot be issued after the product has left the service facility.
Who Is Authorized to Distribute an FAA 8130 Form?
Under the rules outlined by the FAA in FAA Order 8130.21, Procedures for Completion and Use of the Authorized Release Certificate, FAA Form 8130-3, Airworthiness Approval Tag, the following entities may issue an 8130 form:
- ASI: An FAA aviation safety inspector (ASI) can sign an 8130 form as a certificate of airworthiness or conformity certification.
- DMIR: A DMIR is a Designated Manufacturing Inspection Representative and is allowed to issue FAA 8130 forms for domestic or export parts.
- DAR-F: Designated Airworthiness Representatives for Manufacturing (DAR-Fs) may issue the form for domestic shipments.
- ODA: Some organizations may have an Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) unit, which can issue the form for products the organization produces. The ODA unit must inspect the product after the it has gone through the producer’s quality assurance program, at which point the ODA unit determines the product’s compliance with CFR requirements.
- Air carrier: Appropriately certified air agencies and air carriers with approved airworthiness maintenance programs can issue the 8130 certificates for approval to return to service.
- PAH: A PAH can issue the form for approval to return to service for domestic products, though this purpose is optional.
If you are working with a part manufacturer or repair service and need the 8130 form, contact them to learn more about how their 8130 forms are completed and issued.
What Are the Different Parts of an 8130 Certificate?
The 8130 certificate has several boxes containing essential information regarding the parts to be assessed. Boxes 1 through 5 have pre-filled or pre-determined information regarding the form and the requesting organization, while the remaining boxes pertain to the items assessed. These are described in detail below:
- Box 6 — Item: This box contains one or more numbers identifying the product, batch or group of items that are addressed with this form. If the number of items overflows the box, an addendum may be attached with the full list, along with identification information as required for boxes 7 through 11.
- Box 7 — Description: This field requires a descriptive product name for each item covered under the form.
- Box 8 — Part Number: This field requires the part or model number for each item addressed on the form.
- Box 9 — Quantity: This box identifies the quantity of each item listed in Box 6.
- Box 10 — Serial Number: If the product has a serial number, this is where it would be entered. If no serial number is available, or if a serial number is not required under CFR requirements, the person filling out the form can simply enter “N/A.”
- Box 11 — Status/Work: In this box, each part is described using one of four terms. New products produced in compliance with approved designs are described as “new.” New products that do not conform to standard designs are identified with the term “prototype.” For any repaired parts, the descriptor would be “repaired” or “overhauled,” as appropriate.
- Box 12 — Remarks: The remarks section is the largest field on the form and is used to communicate all information required to certify airworthiness. In addition to this information, this field is also used to communicate statements and disclosures, including whether the form is a corrected version or if it is to be used as a dual release.
- Blocks 13 and 14: Depending on whether the form is used for a new product or for RTS purposes, either section 13 or 14 will be filled out. Forms cannot be used for both purposes simultaneously, so one column will always be left blank. Either column will contain a certification of conformity or airworthiness, signatures from authorized authorities and the date of inspection.
If you are unsure if your form has been filled out correctly, speak to the issuer or to your region’s FAA Field Office.
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