What does “PMA” stand for and what is a PMA?

PMA stands for ‘Parts Manufacturer Approval’

Checking the FAA homepage, you will find the following explanation:

PMA is a combined design and production approval for modification and replacement of articles. It allows a manufacturer to produce and sell these articles for installation on type certificated products.

  • PMA design approval:

The design approval phase of PMA certifies that a replacement or modification article complies with the airworthiness standards of eligible products (aircraft, engine, or propeller).

The applicant shows this compliance through tests and computations, unless the article is identical to the article design on a type- certificated product.

Identicality means that an article is the same in all respects to an article design in a type-certificated product.
Evidence of license agreement shows this identicality.

  • PMA production approval:

A PMA production approval allows to produce and sell FAA approved aircraft articles that are eligible for installation on FAA type certificated products.

An PMA is an approval issued to an organization to manufacture copies of an original part, and having the authorization to sell such a part on the market.

The approval is specific to a part number, and not a general production organization approval.

Consequently, for every additional part number, a new approval must be applied for.