Return to Service of Aircraft Items Recovered from Aircraft Involved in Accidents / Incidents

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Sofema Online (SOL) considers the best practices related to return to service of components recovered from Incidents / Accidents. Refer to AMC2 145.A.50(d) Certification of maintenance ED Decision 2020/002/R


The return to service of aircraft items from accidents or incidents is a highly specialized and regulated process. Ensuring compliance with EASA Part 145 and Part 21 is essential for the safety and airworthiness of the aircraft. Regular updates in technical knowledge, continuous training, and strict adherence to best practices and regulatory requirements are key to successfully managing this challenging task.

Returning aircraft items to service after their recovery from incidents or accidents is a complex and critical process, governed by stringent regulations and best practices, particularly under the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part 145 and Part 21 regulations. Here's a comprehensive guide:

Consider the following Challenges:

  • Accurately assessing the extent of damage to aircraft items is challenging. Hidden or internal damages might be overlooked.
  • Ensuring complete and accurate documentation, including the history and extent of damage, repairs, and testing.
  • Requires specialized skills and knowledge to evaluate and restore aircraft items.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring all repairs and restorations meet EASA Part 145 and Part 21 regulations.
  • The paramount challenge is ensuring that the returned items meet all safety standards.

Risks and Challenges When Assessing Damage:

  • Risk: Failure to detect hidden or internal damages in aircraft items.

>> Example: A component may appear undamaged externally but could have micro-fractures or internal circuitry damage.

>>  Mitigation: Use of advanced non-destructive testing methods and detailed inspections.

  • Risk: Incomplete or inaccurate documentation leading to a lack of traceability or accountability.

>> Example: Missing records of the extent of damage or incomplete repair history.

>> Mitigation: Ensuring detailed and meticulous records of all inspections, repairs, and tests.

  • Risk: Inadequate expertise leading to improper evaluation or restoration.

>> Example: A technician without specific training may not properly assess or repair a complex avionics system.

>> Mitigation: Continuous training and ensuring personnel are certified and knowledgeable.

Return to Services Best Practices:

  • Conduct detailed inspections, including non-destructive testing methods, to assess damage. When available utilizing advanced methods to detect any hidden damages.
  • Maintain comprehensive documentation of all processes.
  • Using Proper Facilities and Tools to ensure the maintenance organization has the necessary infrastructure to perform the task.
  • Follow EASA Part 145 (Maintenance Organization Approvals) and Part 21 (Certification of Aircraft and Related Products, Parts and Appliances) regulations strictly.
  • Ensure detailed and meticulous records of all inspections, repairs, and tests.
  • Use of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Parts (Preference should be for  OEM parts over Parts Manufacturing Authority (PMA) Parts for replacements to ensure compatibility and reliability.

EASA Part 145 & Part 21 Requirements:

  • Part 145 Maintenance organizations must have proper facilities, tools, and certified personnel.
  • Strict adherence to maintenance procedures and documentation.
  • Maintenance Release (Form 1) issuance upon satisfactory completion of maintenance tasks.
  • Part 21 Deals with the design and production of aircraft and components.
  • Requires design approval (Type Certificate or Supplemental Type Certificate) for major modifications or repairs.
  • Ensures that parts and appliances meet high safety and design standards.

Return to Service Process

  • Initial Assessment to evaluate the condition of the recovered items to decide if they can be feasibly and safely restored.
  • Undertake repairs in compliance with manufacturer guidelines and EASA regulations.
  • Obtain necessary certifications and approvals as per Part 21 for modified or newly installed parts, and Part 145 for maintenance tasks.
  • Complete all required paperwork, including a detailed maintenance record and issuance of EASA Form 1 for the return to service.


Next Steps

Sofema Aviation Service and Sofema Online provide multiple EASA and FAA compliant Stores & Logistics Courses -see the applicable website or email [email protected]

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