Gaps Between Civilian and U.S. Department of Defense for Determining Airworthiness of Additively Manufactured Parts
AM LEAP fuel nozzle printed by GE Aerospace (Courtesy of GE Aerospace; Source:

Posted on January 19, 2023 | Completed on June 8, 2022 | By: Matt Seidel

What gaps are there between civilian and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) aerospace for determining airworthiness of additively manufactured (AM) parts and repairs?

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has made some progress certifying additive manufacturing (AM) parts for airworthiness, but certification has been limited to the lab, with significant engineering and inspections required for each part. Over the last two decades, each branch of the DoD developed their own processes for AM certification, thus fragmenting certification and slowing the widespread acceptance of AM. The Federal Aviation Administration allows repair and replacement of parts using AM if they have the same quality and strength characteristics as the original parts. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration recently issued its in-depth standard governing AM parts. However, it remains unclear which, if any, aerospace companies are currently following this standard. There are no known general standards or procedures publicly available to understand how private companies certify AM parts. Therefore, we recommend establishing a working group of subject matter experts from industry to directly discuss strategies for certifying AM parts with the DoD.

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