Enhancements are Needed to FAA’s Oversight of the Suspected Unapproved Parts Program

The public depends on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the aviation industry to provide safe, reliable air transportation and ensure that aircraft are properly maintained and approved for flight. According to FAA estimates, there are approximately 7,000 commercial aircraft in service in the United States. One type of aircraft—the Boeing 737, the most widely used aircraft in the world— contains approximately 400,000 parts. FAA and the aviation industry are responsible for ensuring that all these parts are safe for use in transporting passengers. Part of this responsibility includes detecting and monitoring for Suspected Unapproved Parts (SUP)—aircraft parts that may have been manufactured without FAA approval or intentionally misrepresented. Over the last 2 decades, FAA has issued nearly 200 notifications to the industry, warning about potential safety threats caused by SUPs. The objectives of this audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) were to assess the effectiveness of FAA’s (1) process for monitoring and investigating SUPs and (2) oversight of industry actions to remove unapproved parts from the aviation supply chain. To conduct this work, OIG met with FAA Headquarters officials, including representatives from Aircraft Certification, Flight Standards, and the Hotline managed by FAA’s Office of Audit and Evaluation. OIG also visited or contacted seven FAA manufacturing and flight standards oversight offices, where they interviewed inspectors and reviewed SUPs investigation case files. OIG found that FAA’s process for monitoring and investigating SUPs is not as effective as it could be, because of recordkeeping weaknesses and the lack of a management control to capture and accurately report the number of SUPs; and FAA’s oversight of industry actions to remove unapproved parts is ineffective. Recommendations are included to enhance the effectiveness of FAA’s oversight of the SUPs program.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Audit Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 20p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01640856
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Contract Numbers: AV2017049
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 10 2017 5:14PM