The aerospace industry has long been acquainted with the significance of First Article Inspection Reports (FAIR), which are essential for ensuring product quality and compliance. However, many organisations might not be aware that the FAIR Standard, AS9102, underwent a revision from Revision B to Revision C in July 2023. This transition has brought about several important alterations, impacting the way FAIRs are conducted and managed.

Key Revisions

The latest iteration of the standard introduces numerous clarifications and specific changes that directly affect the FAIR process. Auditors will scrutinise organisations to ensure they are cognizant of these changes and how they influence both internal operations and customer requirements. Notably, some customers may still require adherence to Revision B, while others may insist on compliance with Revision C.

Key changes include:

1. Mandated Ballooned Design: Ballooned design, although commonly practised, is now formally required, ensuring a standardised approach across organisations.

2. Clarification on Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Items: The updated standard delineates specific categories for COTS items, eliminating ambiguities that previously allowed some organisations to bypass FAIR requirements.

3. Documented FAI Planning Process: A formalised process for planning First Article Inspections is now obligatory, involving cross-functional teams and comprehensive documentation.

4. Enhanced Change Management Process: Organisations must now establish a documented change management process that integrates seamlessly with existing AS9100 management systems, encompassing all AS9102 requirements.

5. Replacement of Fit, Form, and Function: The concept of Fit, Form, and Function has been replaced with “Invalidated or not represented characteristics,” ensuring that any changes made by organisations are duly accounted for, irrespective of customer notification.

Additionally, there are significant modifications to AS9102 forms:

– Notable changes to fields across Form 1, Form 2, and Form 3 emphasise the requirement for comprehensive data recording and validation.

Key AS9102 Form Changes

Form 1:

• Field 4 “Fair Identifier” is now mandatory, whereas previously it was optional.

• Field 14 “Full FAI / Partial FAI” now requires a reason for conducting a full FAI. Previously, documentation was only needed for partial FAIs.

• Field 17 “Part Type” has been altered from Part Serial Number to include COTS designation, among others.

• Field 19 “Does FAIR contain a Documented Nonconformance(s)?” has been modified from simply indicating FAI completion status to include documented nonconformances.

• Field 20 “FAIR Verified By” has changed its purpose from indicating a date.

• Field 22 “FAIR Reviewed/Approved By” is now mandatory and must be a different individual from Field 20.

• Field 23 “Date changed from Customer Approval” no longer requires customer approval, a step often overlooked previously.

Form 2:

• Field 4 “Fair Identifier” is now a required field, whereas previously it was optional.

• Signature and date fields have been removed.

Form 3:

• Field 4 “Fair Identifier” is now mandatory, whereas it was previously optional.

• Field 8 “Requirement” has been added to record software details, particularly embedded software within supplied products.

• Signature field has been removed.

In summary

It is imperative for organisations to stay abreast of standard revisions relevant to their operations to avoid non-conformities. Conducting a thorough gap analysis between Revision B and Revision C is recommended to ensure full compliance. Moreover, proactive communication with customers regarding their preference for FAIR revisions is essential, as there is no official transition timeline. The updated template forms are available on the IAQG website, although acquiring the complete standard is advisable for comprehensive understanding and implementation. By embracing these changes and aligning with the updated AS9102 standard, organisations can enhance quality assurance practices and maintain compliance within the aerospace industry’s rigorous regulatory framework.

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