Free Essay Example on Aviation

Published: 2024-01-05
Free Essay Example on Aviation
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Aviation Security
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1174 words
10 min read


Counterfeiting is a menace that has affected nearly any sector in the world. The aviation sector is among the ones that are greatly affected by the cloning of parts. According to Boeing reports, elements such as rivets and bolts are easily counterfeited and passed in the market as genuine products. But the problem extends to electrical components such as semiconductors, which can easily fetch a good profit (Federal Aviation Agency 2020). The report says that cloning extends beyond the highly profitable margin parts, even components such as connectors and resistors, get faked. Counterfeiters can practically clone anything. The failure to recognize cloned parts leads to devastating results. Most aerospace parts are designed to last for an extended period; they have created obsolesces, thus raising counterfeit to fill this gap. According to a government committee report on oversight and coordination, some of these fake parts are made of inferior materials (Bajack, 1995).

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Cloned Materials

The pieces are production reject, which is sold to the brokers at a discount. Other features are defect parts with cracks that the brokers make an upper coat to mask the defect and sell. Some are stolen from aircraft after accidents (Wald, 1995). One such incident involved a Boeing 757, which after crashing into a Colombian mountain, the scavengers picked the parts and sneaked them to Miami (America) using helicopters. Others are reconditioned parts that do not follow the procedure, while others have been previously rejected and later pushed in the market in extreme cases (Bajack, 1995). Subcontractors have become the primary problem to this menace; they sell the parts directly to the client without being tested. One loophole that is highly exploited by counterfeiters is fake paperwork, as Goh (2017) noted. China becomes the primary source of cloned materials, given fake documentation without FAA approval, and later sold in the American market. One such case involves a Moog company that supply control systems for commercial and military planes. As reported by Reuters, Boeing 777 was fitted with 273 components outsourced from a subcontractor who was not authorized to make parts by FAA. This issue arose when the subcontractor of Moog (Suzhou New Hongji precision parts) faked their certificates and used substandard materials, and subcontracted work further without informing Moog. The subcontractor violated all procedures of making parts as laid by the FAA and Moog. FAA promptly investigated this incident and found that the product safe to use; this incidence raised the risk of falsification of data in the aviation sector. The issue is not limited to China. In other countries such as Japan, brokers were selling fake aluminum to the airline manufacturers.

Imminent Safety Changes

Besides, OEMs are under scrutiny in the face of a need for imminent safety changes and the adoption of novel production technologies. Most OEMs are profit-oriented at the expense of the safety of the passengers. Therefore, increased investment in production is inevitable after the declining demand for aero-engines, notably during the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies like Boeing strive to acquire new engines in response to the calls for optimal safety measures related to the prevalence of suspected unapproved parts (Michaels, 2020). The changes spark changes for other firms such as Airbus looking to harness technology-based production opportunities. Notables are electric propulsion and hybrid-electronic technologies that promise to deliver maximal safety for the aircraft. Besides, zero-emission aircraft are increasingly becoming a priority. Transitions from razor blade business frameworks are inevitable due to enabling the manufacture of efficient gas turbines. Remarkable changes are also occurring in down-gauging systems, with most OEMs adopting twin-aisle technologies.

The BDCA (2020) provided insight into how aerospace companies ship counterfeit parts from manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers. The stakeholders do not have the proper production approval to make the parts nor ship them directly. Certification requirements have become unnecessary for the counterfeiters. Besides, safety risks arising from the purchase of pieces that have been poorly-maintained, repaired or overhauled without considering their airworthiness information. The hired persons to maintain and repair are also likely to be unqualified based on statutory requirements. The report made a shocking discovery that most of the suspected unapproved parts come from the U.S. military stock. The military-based "BREAKOUT" program for the Department of Defense (DOD) allows bids for its approved drawings (BDCA, 2020). The program has inherent inadequacies since it does not require the bidders to comply with strict quality controls. Thereby, the bidders are likely to bypass certain FAA requirements, including continuous and periodic examinations and destruction-centered tests. The government has also been in the spotlight for using suboptimal specifications that align with those of the manufacturers, disregarding FAA design stipulations. However, the FAA has beefed up efforts to create public awareness of the potential risks of using counterfeit products for aeronautical parts. Thus, the FAA requires manufacturers to meet requirements related to maintenance and practical design.

Counterfeit Parts

Additionally, Nevison (2009) offered insight into how counterfeit parts had infiltrated the aerospace industry. The devastating outcomes of installing counterfeit parts on aerospace and military components portray the magnitude of the issue. The phenomenon underpins the aviation industry's market changes that allow substandard-based companies to sell their products. Counterfeited items even include fluid bolts, nuts, rivets, and bolts showing that nothing is safe with the aerospace parts. Counterfeiting extends to integrated circuits, capacitors, composite chemicals, semiconductors, connectors, and titanium. The military is the primary victim of counterfeit parts since 1990, which has caused it to opt for commercial manufacturers. The phenomenon has created more room for counterfeit products to penetrate the U.S. regulators. Counterfeiting has massive losses that cost companies approximately 100 billion to 200 billion. For instance, NASA reported that a counterfeit component had driven an aircraft project's costs up by $595 million regarding identification and replacement (Nevison, 2009). The article articulated that defense, space, and aerospace products are more counterfeit-prone due to the entire system's expected longevity. Thus, their parts, materials, and technologies are more prone to obsolescence. The Belize Department of Civil Aviation (BDCA) reported that the installation of counterfeit parts on aircraft also takes the form of technicians not using the ones specified in the illustrated catalog (2020). Besides, the inconsistency of standards for independent manufacturers aids in the evasion of inspection procedures.


Furthermore, Heavner (2010) articulated the need for aeronautical manufacturing regulations, alluding to the potential safety risks they pose. The researcher denoted that suspected unapproved parts led to 174 crashes in the U.S. between 1973 and 1976. The crash contributed to the deaths of 17 peoples and injuries to 39 individuals. Statistical evidence shows that 2% of aeronautical components installed each year are counterfeit, translating to almost 520,000 parts (Heavner, 2010). The number is alarming, and it has called for the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to conduct comprehensive investigations on the sale and the manufacture of the parts. The issue underlies the evasive practices related to the counterfeiting and trademark law in the U.S. Thus, brand owners and aircraft manufacturers are likely to maneuver the trademark regulations, especially those with counterfeit provisions. However, trademark policies vary from one country to another, allowing foreign manufacturers to take advantage of to produce, distribute, and sell suspected unapproved components.

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