Airframe Certification Plan Development
AlphaSTAR provides expert assistance in the certification plan development of FAA Part 23 or
Part 25 airframe of a new or modified aircraft or its components. FAA refers to such a plan
as a Project Specific Certification Plan (PSCP). AlphaSTAR can address all regulatory requirements
of the primary and secondary structure of the aircraft as well as structural issues of other
systems such as hydraulic line fatigue. Since the PSCP is a living document that matures throughout
the development of the aircraft, AlphaSTAR's assistance continues to certification.
We utilize a team of experts that is matched to the components being certified such that the
team has the full multi-disciplinary expertise required to aid in the development of a cost-effective
plan that meets the customer's developmental schedule and budget. The team develops the FAA
building-block approach to certification and establishes the best cost-effective and timely
blend of test and analysis at each building-block level. The team performs an assessment to
identify high risk certification issues that are likely to receive the critical attention by
regulatory agencies because they involve relatively new concepts, advanced material systems
or other non standard systems or approaches. It is also critical that the building-block tests
and analyses be judiciously chosen so that the risk of failing the full-scale component static
proof tests and damage tolerance/fatigue tests are extremely low. Dealing with these issues
early as to the tests and analyses that will be performed within the building-block framework
saves time and cost for it is these items that can become roadblocks to achieving timely certification.
The test and analysis matrices are created; initially presented to the regulatory agency in
outline form to achieve consensus and once achieved developed in detail form for implementation.
Expert Team Familiar in Working With FAA
The AlphaSTAR advantage in development of certification plans is three-fold. First team members
possess many years of experience as either engineers/designers with the aircraft industry, as
DERs, as former FAA employees or as appropriate experts from other relevant government agencies
such as NASA or universities. Team members such as DERs and former FAA employees have experience
in interacting with regulatory agencies on certification plan development know what needs to
be presented, how it should be presented and the appropriate protocols in dealing with regulatory
agencies. For example, it is important that there is agreement with regulatory agencies on
what tests and analyses will be performed, who will witness the tests and the expected results,
and what constitutes validation of analysis.
Expertise in Advanced Material Structures
A second AlphaSTAR advantage in developing certification plans is our special expertise in advanced
material systems such as composites that are highly desirable for future aircraft as airlines,
commercial air service providers and private owners seek lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft.
Because AlphaSTAR is a leader in the development of analysis software for advanced material
aerospace structures and because it has provided solution services to solve some of the most
challenging and complex aerospace problems of our age (e.g., Columbia Shuttle accident involving
a variety of advanced materials), it has first hand working knowledge of what can be done with
today's state-of-the-art analysis in replacing expensive and time consuming testing typically
associated with demonstrating certification compliance in advanced material systems or hybrid
systems acceptable to the FAA under all environmental conditions. Consequently, appropriately
defining analysis validation with the regulatory agency, validated analysis can be used in the
building-block process to reduce testing and reduce risk in passing expensive full-scale advanced
material or hybrid material full-scale component certification tests.
AlphaSTAR has its own test equipment and many years of experience in structural testing. This
knowledge and experience is critical in developing the building-block tests so that the tests
simulate as best as possible the flight loads and conditions. Analysis and test are developed
together with analysis guiding test and providing detail that tests cannot provide such as interlaminar
stresses in a composite.
These three advantages, (1) expert team that is experienced in developing and working with FAA,
(2) experience in developing building-block test/analysis process for advanced or material hybrid
airframes that saves time and cost, and (3) test-capable organization, makes AlphaSTAR the right
organization to assist you in certification planning.