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Aerospace Transition Deadline Has Passed - What Now?

22 October 2018
The deadline for the transition has now passed and there was an accelerated effort in 2018 to get everyone past the finish line in time.

This did not happen fully and although the deadline did not move out, there were some safeguards put in place for the organizations that left it just a little too late.

Originally the plan was that any organization that did not transition by the 14th September 2018 would have had their certificate withdrawn and they would need to start again (stage 1 and stage 2). This was later changed to as long as the audit had started before the deadline the current certificate would still be withdrawn but the organization would not have to start again, they can just close out whatever was remaining with their transition audit (may just be to close out NCRs) before 14th March 2019.
 
I am pleased to say that 99% of NQA clients transitioned fully before the deadline, there were just 2 organizations who couldnt quite get their corrective actions closed in time. Even though their certificates were withdrawn they will receive their new AS9100 D certificates within the next month or so. 
 
It happens every transition, all clients (not just aerospace clients) should aim to get their transitions completed as soon as possible and not leave it to the last minute, it is not worth the risk to their certificate and more importantly to the products they are supplying within the aerospace industry.

What does Brexit mean to the aerospace industry?

That dreaded word won't leave us for a few years! I recently attended a forum event hosted by ADS as part of our on going support for the industry and a worrying conversation was held with the Department for International Trade within the Government. None of us can control what is happening with the Brexit Deal as that is for Government Officials and the EU, but it was scary to hear that the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK and EASA have not yet had any discussions on what they are going to do as part of that deal.
 
EASA put out a statement a couple of days ago saying that there is no point in talking just yet as they don't know what the deal is, however, i am surprised that they haven't had discussions and looked at plans for “what ifs”.
 
As it currently stands, if we walk away with no deal then on the day we leave the EU (29th March 2019) all aircraft that have a part that was made in the UK (which is EASA Certified) will be grounded and not permitted to fly or in essence land anywhere as the aircraft isn't certified. Any parts which are in storage are junk and basically it would cause a global meltdown of the aerospace industry. 

This sounds pretty important to me and you would have thought that an acceptance of the UK CAA process can be considered as they are performing the EASA duties on their behalf currently, however, no one has actually put a plan in place to make this happen. EASA could actually deny any agreement if they wished.
 
It is that crazy that anyone with an EASA approval is being encouraged to seek dual approval and go down the FAA approval route as a backup which is obviously an additional expense. I am sure that common sense will prevail but who knows what will happen with this crazy situation.

Auditor competance and availability

For many years Certification Bodies, the CAA, MoD and other organizations have struggled to obtain new auditors and people who wish to join the auditing industry. The CAA struggle to encourage people with the relevant experience to join the auditing world and the MoD are investigating the possibility of developing a competency scheme to help drive a clear path for people developing their knowledge and allow them to get into the auditing industry.
 
The writing team for the Aerospace standards has been working on a new process for a number of years but unfortunately it keeps going around in circles as not everyone can agree on the approach. We need to make it easier for new auditors to get into the system as the auditor pool is diminishing each year as people retire and no new auditors are coming in.
 
The APMG group who are the UK awarding body for Aerospace Approved Auditors (AEA and AA) have developed a very helpful checklist which identifies the requirements they look for within someone's experience and CV as part of their evaluation process. 

Some people are not sure if they will have the correct experience or knowledge to become an aerospace auditor so we would advise them to use the checklist and fill in the blanks, if you can't fill in the blanks then you will likely not be accepted. If you can then it might be worth you investigating a career in auditing and speak to someone within the Aerospace Team within NQA on how we can support you in this endeavour. The checklist can be found here.

AS9104-1 being updated

Many of you should know that NQA are accredited to AS9104-1, this sets out the rules and regulations to which we must follow in order to provide certification to AS9100, AS9120 and AS9110. This is currently under a re-write and we expect to see some drafts out in the next 6 months. 

We do not know what will be within the standard but we are expecting some clarifications and enhancements and not significant changes to the scheme. However, I would expect an increase in the time required to perform an assessment as when you think about the new revisions, nothing was really removed from the standards but there were additional things added and more time would be required for auditing all requirements fully.
 
There is also a possibility of setting a minimum amount of time we have to spend report writing, Certification Bodies will generally add 10-20% for report writing within their audit time but with minimum requirements stipulated along with audit time then each CB should be quoting the same amount of time.

OASIS in full swing

OASIS is in full swing and all elements are now working, its like marmite, you either love it or hate it and the auditors feel the same way.  Apart from general bugs there will not be any additional changes made to the system, the last big change was the facility to download your reports in pdf format. 

This has been on the cards for a while and is now fully available, many of you may have already tried the function out and NQA use it for all reports to save locally. When a report has been fully closed off by the auditor you will now see a button that will allow for report download, no longer do you need to right click and print the webpage out which wasn’t very attractive. 

If you have any problems finding this function please contact the NQA Aerospace Team.