Assessment of FAA's Risk-Based System for Overseeing Aircraft Manufacturers' Suppliers [open pdf - 432KB]
"This report presents the results of our audit of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) oversight of aircraft manufacturers' quality assurance systems for suppliers. Because aircraft and engine manufacturers are increasingly taking an international partnership approach to business, aircraft parts and component suppliers now produce significant parts of U.S.- and foreign- manufactured aircraft. For example, suppliers may ship a completed section of an aircraft body (fuselage), with much of the wiring already completed, to the primary manufacturer who assembles the final units together. U.S. and foreign aircraft and engine manufacturers have opted for this approach because it spreads risk and cost across a network of domestic and foreign partners, speeds up product development, and simplifies assembly procedures. The audit objective was to evaluate FAA's oversight of aircraft manufacturers' quality assurance systems for domestic and foreign suppliers. Although aviation manufacturers are ultimately responsible for the quality of their products, FAA's Aircraft Certification Service personnel oversee manufacturers' processes for ensuring that the products meet approved design specifications and are in a condition for safe operation."
FAA Report No. AV-2008-026
DOT Office of Inspector General: http://www.oig.dot.gov/