Press Release — Englewood, CO
The FAA recently granted ODAR status to Adam Aircraft the Denver-based aircraft manufacturer and builder of the cabin class, centerline thrust, twin-engine A500 aircraft. ODAR (Organizational Designated Airworthiness Representative) denotes recognition that the FAA has approved the manufacturer's organization, processes, and qualified staff members authority to perform conformity inspections for manufacturing processes and aircraft parts as directed by the FAA. According to Bill Eckler, Manager of Quality Assurance and ODAR Administrator for Adam Aircraft, "It's unusual for an aircraft manufacturer to receive an ODAR designation this early in the process."
Without ODAR status, an aircraft manufacturer must depend on a Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR) to perform inspections on behalf of the FAA, but few exist in the Denver area and many offer limited availability. With ODAR, conformity inspections can be performed by in-house personnel--improving flexibility, access, and efficiency in the company's aircraft manufacturing operations.
The FAA requires a manufacturer to name a company ODAR Administrator who has experience in administering a quality system. Eckler, an Adam aircraft employee for over 2 years, more than qualifies with 5 years of experience as a DMIR (Designated Manufacturing Inspection Representative) and more than 11 years of experience in quality, 9 of those in the aftermarket aircraft parts industry. Mike Schuman, another Adam Aircraft ODAR, has a similar background as a DMIR before joining the A500 manufacturer earlier this year. Besides himself and Schuman, Eckler anticipates that Adam Aircraft will add more qualified individuals as ODAR designees through the type certificate process and production. Like all FAA designees, Eckler and Schuman attended a mandatory designee initialization seminar and are required to undergo recurrent training every 2 years.
Construction of Adam Aircraft's A500 culminated this summer with the July 11 inaugural flight of its first full scale, company-conforming model. Following a rigorous flight test agenda with three A500 aircraft, FAA type certification is expected in the first half of 2003. Eckler explained, "We set out from Day 1 to get a production certificate while many manufacturers first concentrate on type certification only." "In fact," he continued, "We presented the FAA with a quality manual long before we started building parts." Although not required for type certification, development of a quality manual and quality assurance procedures early in the process exemplified how the aircraft manufacturer has demonstrated credibility to the FAA.
The FAA has used the designee system for overseeing aircraft manufacturing and maintenance operations for more than 20 years. At the heart of the system are DMIRs-individuals who are not employed directly by the FAA, but are delegated to act with the authority of the FAA for a specific company at a particular location. In the past few years, the FAA has shifted its focus from designating several individuals within an organization as DMIRs to delegating ODAR status to the organization itself. Qualifying an organization eases the FAA's workload by providing a single point of contact for each manufacturer and allowing the agency to focus on more safety-critical functions.
The A500 aircraft - a 250 knot, pressurized, six-place, centerline-thrust twin - is planned to be certified to 25,000 feet. For more information, visit AdamAircraft.com or call 866-AdamAir (866-232-6247).