How is obtaining CAAC certification different than gaining U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification?
The major difference is that here in the U.S., the FAA also performs audits for EASA, and the FAA is funded by taxpayers, so there is no charge associated with the audit-- other than the fee charged every other year by EASA. For the CAAC, we are required to fund the auditors, including travel to the U.S. every two years. For anyone in the U.S. seeking CAAC approval, they ought to have that as a budget consideration. The CAAC also requires its own repair station and quality manuals, written in its format, but they are not that much different then FAA manuals. It’s more of a formatting issue—and there is formatting guidance online.
How long did the whole process take, from start to finish?
It takes about one year from the time you initiate the application, including the time it takes to schedule it and plan for travel.
What were the challenges or unexpected aspects?
I think my repair station is a unique because it’s located within our manufacturing facility. Here in New Port Richey (Florida), we manufacture filter products for aircraft and other aerospace products. Given that we’re a manufacturing facility, we also deal with the military, so there were several regulatory items that we had to assure to have a foreign national in the facility.
What was the cost?
Without meals and travel costs, the CAAC charge was about the same as EASA: $7,000-8,000. That depends on how many parts you plan to rework, so the longer your capability list is the higher the charge.
By gaining this certification, what does Pall hope to achieve?
Pall Corp. is the leader in fluid separation. We’re on virtually every aircraft, and globally, we support the entire aircraft industry. Given the size of the emerging market is Asia, and China in particular, we see that having CAAC approval is going to be a mandatory requirement. For Pall to support our customer base and service our products, we think it will be a requirement in a couple of years.