The FAA today published a Final Rule regarding False and Misleading Statements Regarding Aircraft Products, Parts, Appliances and Materials. The final rule amends existing FAA regulations to create additional rules banning certain false or misleading statements about type-certificated products, and products, parts, appliances and materials that may be used on type-certificated products. According to the FAA, the final rule will “help prevent people from representing that these items are suitable for use on type-certificated products when in fact they may not be” and is “intended to provide assurance that aircraft owners and operators, and persons who maintain aircraft, have factual information on which to determine whether a product, part, appliance or material may be used in a given type-certificated product application.”
The final rule is the result of the FAA’s determination that “the installation of products, parts, appliances and materials that are mistakenly believed to be airworthy or suitable for installation on type-certificated products creates an unacceptable risk to aviation safety.” It believes that the final rule will improve safety because it: (1) Fills gaps in the legal and regulatory structure by extending the prohibition on fraudulent or intentionally false statements beyond those now covered by parts 21 and 43; (2) Creates a new standard to determine what constitutes “misleading;” and (3) Provides a means for the FAA to investigate possible violations.
The final rule is “applicable to any person who makes a record that is conveyed to another person when there is an associated potential for compensation if the record relates to a type-certificated product or a product, part, appliance or material that may be used on a type- certificated product.” However, it does not apply to experimental or military aircraft that are not otherwise type certificated. A “record” is defined broadly to mean “any writing, drawing, map, recording, tape, film, photograph or other documentary material by which information is preserved or conveyed in any format, including, but not limited to, paper, microfilm, identification plates, stamped marks, bar codes or electronic format, and can either be separate from, attached to or inscribed on any product, part, appliance or material.” The final rule prohibits the making of false or intentionally misleading statements in records produced in connection with sales transactions and in advertisements.
Under the rule, an intentionally false statement consists of (1) a false representation, (2) in reference to a material fact, (3) made with knowledge of its falsity. A fraudulent statement consists of these three elements, plus (4) it was made with the intent to deceive, and (5) action was taken in reliance upon the representation. Thus, the FAA considers “intentionally false” and “fraudulent” statements to be two separate categories. A misleading statement requires: (1) A material representation or omission; (2) That is likely to mislead the consumer; and (3) The consumer is acting reasonably under the circumstances.
The final rule is effective October 17, 2005. If you would like further information regarding the final rule or the issues raised by the rule, you can contact Beverly Sharkey, Suspected Unapproved Parts Program Office (AVR-20), Federal Aviation Administration, 13873 Park Center Road, Herndon, Virginia 20171-3223; telephone (703) 668-3720, facsimile (703) 481-3002, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.