In recent years, the FAA has intensified efforts to educate its inspectors and the public regarding the potential safety threat posed by aeronautical parts that do not meet applicable design, manufacturing, and maintenance requirements. In 1993, the Suspected Unapproved Parts (SUP) Program was established to coordinate efforts and address issues posed by the entry of unapproved parts into the United States aviation system. (http://www.faa.gov/aircraft/safety/programs/sups/)
In August 1995, the FAA convened a Task Force to conduct a thorough review of SUP issues and devise a program plan which would build on past initiatives and increase the existing programs effectiveness. A vision for the Task Force and SUP Program was set forth as follows:
"To promote the highest level of aviation safety by eliminating the potential safety risk posed by the entry of unapproved parts in the U.S. aviation community".
To achieve this vision, the Task Force developed a SUP Program Plan. The plan included several special emphasis areas, and specific recommendations. The recommendations identified the need for the FAA to establish an organizational structure capable of providing clear and consistent guidance, enhanced training, more timely SUP case processing, access to usable management information system data, and improved coordination with law enforcement authorities.
Following acceptance of the recommendations, the SUP Program Office was established effective November 13, 1995. Functions of the SUP Program Office include:
- Providing a primary point of contact on SUP issues.
- Providing technical support to FAA Offices and industry.
- Developing basic SUP Program policy and guidance material.
- Developing and maintaining a parts reporting information system and analyzing data in that system.
- Disseminating SUP information to FAA Offices, other government agencies, and industry.
- Identifying SUP related training requirements, overseeing training program development, and evaluating training.