FAA approval of articles (PMA, TSO)


Starting to get Involved
So you are looking for a Production Certificate like the OEM have? That involves a lot of requirements in dealing with the FAA. I am not an expert in that. But, I do recommend you contact your local MIDO and ask them. They would know all of the requirements needed of a Production Certificate.
Not necessarily. More so on the manufacturers that supply parts to those OEMs

Ie. does the FAA govern the requirements for these tier 1 & 2 manufacturers or is the OEM solely responsible for governing these tier 1 & 2 manufacturers?

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Super Moderator
Most of the time, the OEMs are responsible to manage this from the tier 1, but the tier 2 would be the responsibility of the tier 1. The OEM may want to be involved with all of the tiers. The only time the FAA might get involved is the PMA/TSO process.

Just my opinion.

Al Rosen

Staff member
Super Moderator
Hi Coury thanks for the reply, Im specifically looking into the manufacture of "original parts" not spares and from what I understand PMA is only for spares.
If you want to supply the OEM, you should contact the OEM. The FAA will not be directly involved with you unless you are applying for a TSO or PMA. Coury's description of the process is accurate. Like Coury, I haven't been involved in this for quite some time.


Quality Assurance Manager
We seem to be mashing up PMA and TSO.

in general, TSO does not require OEM approval or permission. TSO is an entirely different animal from PMA and should never be compared. TSO is granted by the FAA only when an organization can design a product and show "equivalency". The OEM is not even part of the equation. Seat belts are a great example of this.

As for PMA......... you MAY need to apply for PMA from the OEM OR the STC holder if it is an aftermarket installation. I have worked places where we needed to get PMA on our own products to sell them as "replacement parts" because they were used on an STC.

When it comes to OEMs, needing PMA depends on many things. I have sold parts to OEMs without PMA and there is no issue. You need whatever the OEM says you need. Many times the OEM will buy a "NON-PMA" sub-assembly and simply re-identify it and certify it themselves. Boeing does this quite a lot.

Here is another scenario. If Boeing came to your shop and said we need you to supply custom pins for us and here is the Boeing drawing. You would not need to apply for PMA in this situation. Boeing could even ask you to put their P/N on the parts per the drawing. Now if you sold them to the public DIRECTLY then you would need PMA authorization for this.

Replacement parts are NOT parts that are "replaced". They are parts that do not come from the OEM through their certification processes.

I could come up with 2-3 dozen different scenarios that are all slightly different.

The final issue is that the MIDOs are all different in interpreting the regs. They shouldn't be but they are and that has to be overcome. A PMI that is not understanding the regs properly can make your life a living hell.

Also, PMA is NOT aircraft specific. PMA effectivity was removed by the FAA in 2014. Before that PMA parts had to have applicable airframe info on the part. This is not required any longer. There are MILLIONS of PMA parts that are applicable to multiple airframes at the same time.


Captain Nice
Staff member
General comment (informational) re: Related Acronyms

Technical Standard Orders (TSO)

A TSO is a minimum performance standard for specified materials, parts, and appliances used on civil aircraft. When authorized to manufacture a material, part, or appliances to a TSO standard, this is referred to as TSO authorization. Receiving a TSO authorization is both design and production approval.

Receiving a TSO Authorization is not an approval to install and use the article in the aircraft. It means that the article meets the specific TSO and the applicant is authorized to manufacture it.

Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA)

Is a combined design and production approval for modification and replacement articles. It allows a manufacturer to produce and sell these articles for installation on type certificated products. Federal Aviation Administration Orders 8110.42 and 8120.22 prescribe the approval procedures for FAA personnel and guides applicants in the approval process.
Supplemental Type Certificates (STC)

A supplemental type certificate (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.

For complex design modifications, the Aircraft Certification Office may ask that you follow the Original Design Approval Process.


  • Establishment of Certification Basis
  • An STC Will Be Issued
  • An STC Will Not Be Issued

Supplemental Type Certificates (database of approved STCs in the on-line Regulatory and Guidance Library)

Manufacturing Inspection District Offices (MIDOs)

Contact the appropriate FAA Field Office that serves your geographic area for guidance on manufacturing and airworthiness related activities.

MIDOs assist with:
  • Production approval and certification (Manufacturing)
  • Airworthiness Certification
  • Manufacturing facilities approval holder issues
  • Manufacturing Designee oversight
  • Support to ACOs during design approvals
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