Tuesday, October 31, 2000, 12:00 a.m. Pacific

FAA certificates are a stamp of approval

by Chuck Taylor
Seattle Times aerospace reporter

In a letter to Boeing last year, Federal Aviation Administration chief Jane Garvey wrote, "Fifty years of holding a production certificate at Commercial Airplanes speaks to your company's high standards of quality and safety. The FAA looks forward to working with Boeing to maintain the production certificate for many years to come and to continue to improve quality and safety along the way."

Boeing's FAA production certificate, designated PC-700, is steeped in history. First issued 51 years ago, it has been amended for every new airplane model and every new factory.

But six months after Garvey congratulated the company, FAA inspectors were in Boeing's factories after a series of quality-control problems came to light.

Normally, a team of inspectors would visit each Boeing plant for a few weeks every two years. Results of such routine audits help the handful of on-site FAA inspectors at Boeing customize their scrutiny of the company's manufacturing.

Those few FAA inspectors supervise hundreds of "designees" - inspectors and engineers who are employed by Boeing but who have special FAA authority for such tasks as uncovering defects as planes are built and certifying finished planes as airworthy.

The special audit last winter found manufacturing deficiencies that apparently escaped the notice of the designees, the on-site FAA inspectors and previous routine factory audits.

The special-audit inspectors interviewed designated engineers and other engineers and found they believed that the system for approving and implementing design changes, for example, is working.

"This belief is held even though they do not understand this system and they do not verify to ensure the system is working," says the executive summary of the FAA's audit report. "The current system is disjointed to the point that it does not positively ensure compliance" with manufacturing standards under the company's production certificate.

There are two FAA certificates necessary for Boeing to build an airplane.

The first is called a type certificate, which is approval of a specific airplane design, based on standards of airworthiness that include such things as redundant systems and safe performance. Every Boeing model -737-600, 737-700 and so on - has its own type certificate.

The other is the production certificate, which is a blessing of how a company will build a plane.

While the requirements to obtain a type certificate are spelled out in detail, production-certificate requirements are broad. Essentially, a company must propose how it will ensure the plane is manufactured as designed, with inspections and documentation to prove it.

The manufacturer also must spell out how it will scrutinize suppliers, how it will inspect parts and assemblies, how it will conduct tests - and what paperwork all this will generate.

The FAA yesterday said Boeing had the proper plans in place but was not always following them.

Copyright 2000 The Seattle Times Company

From this LINK

Boeing Production Certificate 50 Years Old

SEATTLE, June 10, 1999 - The Boeing Company this week celebrates 50 years of designing, building and selling safe, high-quality airplanes under its Production Certificate 700

The production certificate is issued to a manufacturer by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after the manufacturer demonstrates it has adequate facilities and a quality-control system to ensure it meets stringent safety and reliability requirements.

The Boeing production certificate was originally issued in 1949 by the Civil Aeronautics Administration, predecessor of the FAA, before the first jet transport was put in service and before the average Boeing employee was born. Every jet transport built by Boeing has been delivered under the privileges of what is now PC 700, which includes the incorporation of the McDonnell Douglas Production Certificate 27 in 1998. 

"PC 700 has allowed us to build the machines that ushered in the safest means of mass transportation in history, and 75 percent of all large jet transports in the world carry the Boeing name," said Liz Otis, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group vice president - Quality. "When viewed in these terms, the 50th anniversary of PC 700 is truly significant."

The Boeing production certificate is a single certificate with a one-page supplement that lists all approved production sites, and a seven-page Production Limitation Record (PLR) that lists all approved airplane models. PC 700 goes all the way back to the -G2 - an early version of the venerable DC-3 - which was approved for production on July 7, 1941. The latest airplane to be added to the PLR is the 757-300, approved for production on January 22, 1999.

The most significant change to the Boeing production certificate took place in 1998 after the merger with McDonnell Douglas, when its PC 27 was returned to the FAA, and the models and facilities from that document were added to the "new" PC 700.

"On the 50th anniversary of PC 700, we celebrate many achievements, including our strong relationship with the FAA," said Scott Peterson, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group director - Regulatory Affairs. "We continue to work together to provide customers and the flying public with airplanes that are designed and manufactured to the highest quality standards." 

A production certificate must, according to law, be displayed in the "main office of the factory in which the product concerned is manufactured." Boeing always displays the original current certificate in the office of the president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group, which today is occupied by Alan Mulally.

To view a commemorative publication on the PC 700, visit the following URL: http://www.boeing.com/news/features/prodcert/html. 

# # #

Contacts: Yvonne Leach 
253-931-5834




A letter from Jane Garvey
Administrator, FAA


A letter from Alan Mulally, President,Commercial Airplanes

The Importance of Our Production Certificate

Air Commerce Act of May 20, 1926, launched the FAA

Boeing Home

PC 700 Home


The Importance of Our Production Certificate



Production Certificate 700 (PC 700) was originally issued in 1949 by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), predecessor of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), before the first jet transport was put in service and before the average Boeing employee was born. Every jet transport built by Boeing has been delivered under the privileges of what is now PC 700, which includes the incorporation of the McDonnell Douglas PC 27 in 1998. PC 700 has allowed us to build the machines that ushered in the safest means of mass transportation in history, and the Boeing name is carried on 80 percent of all large transports in the world. When viewed in these terms, the 50th anniversary of PC 700 becomes truly significant.

PC 700 has been modified many times over the years to incorporate multiple new models and facilities, and it is one of the primary documents that has allowed us to build and sell commercial airplanes.

Before an airplane can be produced and sold, it must receive a Type Certificate (TC), which is issued by the FAA as evidence that they have evaluated and approved a new airplane model for compliance to FAA design regulations. If the holder of a TC is also the manufacturer of the product, as is the case for Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group, then the manufacturer may be issued a production certificate. The PC is issued after the holder demonstrates it has adequate facilities and a quality control system to ensure the product can be reliably and repeatedly built as designed. Within this system, each employee is responsible for complying with the approved quality system requirements. Failure to comply with our own quality system requirements might expose Boeing to FAA enforcement action and possible civil penalties, which can reach up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Boeing was engaged in commercial aviation when the Civil Aeronautics Administration was barely one year old. For example, the Model 40A, produced for the mail trade, flew for the first time in May 1927; and the first modern, all-metal, twin-engine airplane--the Boeing Model 247--flew for the first time in 1933. These and others, like the 314 Clipper, are not listed on the production certificate.

The production certificate is a single certificate with a one-page supplement that lists all approved production sites, and a seven-page Production Limitation Record (PLR) that lists approved airplane models going back to an early version of the venerable DC-3, the -G2, approved for production on July 7, 1941.

A single asterisk by that model and several others declares that we still have FAA approval to build and deliver spare parts for those out-of-production airplanes. The latest airplane to be added to the PLR is the 757-300, approved for production on January 22, 1999.

When the production certificate is amended, the previous version must be returned to the FAA. The most significant change to the Boeing Production Certificate took place in 1998 after the merger with McDonnell Douglas, when their PC 27 was returned to the FAA, and the models and facilities from that document were added to the "new" PC 700.

A production certificate must, according to law, be displayed in the "main office of the factory in which the product concerned is manufactured." Boeing always displays the original current certificate in the office of the president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group, which today is occupied by Alan Mulally. All eight pages of the production certificate are framed and displayed in the BCAG Regulatory Administration Office and in all the facilities listed on PC 700.


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Copyright 2000 The Boeing Company - All rights reserved

 




A letter from Jane Garvey,
Administrator, FAA


A letter from Alan Mulally, President,Commercial Airplanes

The Importance of Our Production Certificate

Air Commerce Act of May 20, 1926, launched the FAA

Boeing Home

PC 700 Home


A letter from the FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration is proud to celebrate this landmark milestone with Boeing today. The FAA's primary responsibility is to improve and maintain quality and safety standards in the aviation industry. Fifty years of holding a production certificate at Commercial Airplanes speaks to your company's high standards of quality and safety. The FAA looks forward to working with Boeing to maintain the production certificate for many years to come and to continue to improve quality and safety along the way.



Jane Garvey
Administrator
The Federal Aviation Administration


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Copyright 2000 The Boeing Company - All rights reserved

 

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