Aircraft maintenance is critical to the safety of your passengers and crew. Part of that maintenance is complying with manufacturers’ service bulletins. The challenge is that many service bulletins are marked mandatory when they may not be. Furthermore, there are some key factors to consider before making the final decision to comply with the service bulletin.
What is a Manufacturer Service Bulletin?
A service bulletin (SB) contains recommendations from manufacturers that can result from various factors, including an improvement developed by the manufacturer, a product defect or an error in published documentation. These are issued because the manufacturer believes that as the aircraft owner, you should comply with the recommendations in the bulletins as they often reflect a safety issue. It is important to recognize that these bulletins are not always sent to aircraft maintenance providers, so it is up to the owner to ensure compliance. To ensure that the aircraft you are about to ride has good quality, you can contact 737 services. At this service, you will also find fleet engineers who are of good quality.
Service bulletins may be called various names, including:
- Mandatory SB
- Technical SB
- Service letter
- Service instructions
The manufacturer issues the bulletins to recommend specific action, depending upon the nature of the bulletin subject. For example, SBS can recommend a type of aircraft inspection, replacing parts, performing specific maintenance or limiting operations under certain conditions.
Not all Manufacturer Service Bulletins are Mandatory
If not all are mandatory, then why should you comply? The issue of safety is the primary reason. Determining whether or not a service bulletin does address the issue of safety is a different concern. Many manufacturers will mark a service bulletin as mandatory whether it truly is or not. Most likely this is to provide legal coverage for the manufacturer. The only way to know for certain if it is critical is to thoroughly discuss the issue with a qualified aircraft maintenance provider. You can then determine its critical nature as it applies to your aircraft safety concerns.
If the aircraft maintenance provider determines that the SB is not mandatory, then you as the owner must decide as to the priority of the issue. There are several factors to consider, including cost. One suggestion is to outline the benefit obtained by compliance versus the cost of labor and parts to make the necessary adjustment. Another consideration is a liability. If complying with the manufacturers’ service bulletin will limit your liability exposure to third-parties, then it may be worth the cost associated with compliance.
When to Comply?
In the United States, the only organization with jurisdiction over aviation matters is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA has gathered all policies regarding legalities in aviation within Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1 through 183. This makes up the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) which outline the owner’s responsibility concerning aircraft maintenance, safety, and inspection among other things.
The FAA mandates rules on operators and determines if a manufacturers’ SB is required to correct airworthiness issues. These mandates are adopted in either an Airworthiness Directive (AD)or an amendment to the operating rules.
Depending upon which Part you operate underdetermines whether or not manufacturers’ service bulletins are mandatory. For example, Part 135 Commuter Air Carrier and On-demand (commercial operator) requires compliance with everything in that Part, including additional aircraft maintenance requirements and approved Operation Specifications. Under these Op Specs, SBs can become mandatory.
Whether you are a commercial or private operator, the reality is that manufacturers’ service bulletins are sent to you to address potential safety issues. Deciding whether or not to comply is a matter of common sense, but best practices should apply. Speak with a knowledgeable aircraft maintenance provider to understand the requirements as well as the costs and benefits associated with the compliance. Making an informed decision will ensure your aircraft is safe, you are protected, and have effectively complied with all appropriate manufacturers’ SBs.