Airworthiness Directives (ADs)

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) defines MCAI as “mandatory requirements for the modification, replacement of parts, or inspection of aircraft and amendment of operating limitations and procedures.” An Airworthiness Directive (AD) is one type of such information. ICAO requires that member States have a system to maintain the airworthiness of aeronautical products on their registry. As part of this system, States publish and exchange MCAI.

FAA Order 8040.5 describes policy and procedures for developing FAA ADs on imported products where the State of Design authority has issued MCAI.

How does the FAA obtain MCAI from other countries?

MCAI is provided by the State of Design to the Aircraft Certification Service, Continued Operational Safety Section, AIR-6D1, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. All MCAI is logged into a national database and forwarded to the responsible standards branch.

Does the FAA issue an AD to correspond to MCAI issued by another airworthiness authority?

The FAA office responsible for the foreign product, either an Aircraft Certification Office or standards branch, will review an MCAI to make a determination that an unsafe condition exists, and is likely to exist on products of the same typedesign, on products registered in the United States, or that may be registered in the future. The FAA will then begin the process to issue an AD to correct that condition.

What requirements do Civil Airworthiness Authorities (CAA) and foreign manufacturers have regarding ADs?


CAAs and manufacturers in other countries are excluded from the reporting requirements of 14 CFR 21.3. However, the ICAO Annex 8 requires the exchange of MCAI.

Are ADs or MCAI issued by foreign authorities mandatory for U.S.-registered aircraft?

Federal aviation regulations only require owner/operators of U.S.-registered aircraft to comply with the requirements of ADs issued by the FAA.

What type of AD will be issued after the FAA receives an MCAI from a CAA?

The unsafe condition determines the FAA response. An Emergency AD or a "Final Rule; Request for Comments" AD can be issued. Normally, a NPRM would be issued first to allow for a comment period before an FAA AD. However, if there are no U.S.-registered aircraft affected by an MCAI when it is issued, a "Final Rule; Request for Comments" AD may be issued by the FAA since the corrective action will not affect any current U.S. operators.

Why is an AD issued for a type of aircraft not registered in the U.S.?

If an aircraft of that type is imported into the U.S. at a future date, the aircraft must comply with the AD before an airworthiness certificate is issued.

Last updated: Monday, June 3, 2024