FAA Certification & Accreditation: What is Quality?

This week, S3 AeroDefense celebrated its 10 year anniversary of being an FAA Certified Repair Station.  Our dedication to providing the highest quality products and services to meet or exceed customers’ requirements has made us industry leaders in quality.  We sat down with Hasan Al Saleh, S3 Director of Quality Control – MRO Services, to talk about quality in the aviation industry.


S3: Hasan, you have been serving as S3’s Director of Quality for MRO Services for almost two years now, Tell me a little about your role.

HASAN: The purpose of my job here is to manage the quality system of the company and to monitor its compliance with the applicable regulatory requirements and standards.  We have established an independent strict quality management system to monitor the adequacy of and compliance with the applicable requirements and standards. From our in-depth yearly internal audit program to maintain FAA Certification, to the Day-to-Day quality management tasks working directly with the technicians in the shop, quality is really integrated with every process here at the S3 repair station.


S3: You mentioned FAA Certification Standards, S3 just celebrated their 10-year anniversary of being an FAA Certified Repair Shop, what is the process to maintaining this certification and why it’s so significant.

HASAN: FAA has the highest standards across the entire industry.  Even outside of Aviation their dedication to quality is key.  An FAA Certification promises to follow strict regulations from the Repair Station Manualwhichat houses all the procedures that shops must follow to ensure the highest standards.  Maintaining this certification requires training, tracking, and auditing constantly to ensure the safety of all components.  Being FAA Certified ensures our customers the highest quality and safest components for their fleet and their operators.


S3: Quality seems to be a buzzword for some people, and it gets thrown around quite often.  Can you tell me what is quality at the highest level?

HASAN: A component free of defects. The quality and the customer satisfaction are closely related, and once we implement high-level quality measures in our processes this will enable us to provide a product that meets the standards and the customers’ requirements. Quality is not a one-time production on a component, it is an ongoing live system that ensures consistency.


S3: We often hear “cost is key”, or “the lowest price in the market gets the deal” with gray market shops, how and why should aircraft operators care about where and how their repairs and being done?

HASAN: Shops implementing high standards through the training of their personnel and providing all needed resources under a strict quality system can provide customers with components free of defects. Although this may raise the prices of the provided services, it will ensure the proper maintenance of these components. Shops that lower the prices of their provided services would lack one or more of the needed resources and will compromise the maintenance performed on the component and subsequently its reliability. When operators put their efforts and funds in the incorrect direction and focus on the cheapest deal, it can end up costing a client lots of time and money on their components.


S3: You have past experience has been as an Airworthiness Inspector, what does Airworthiness mean?

HASAN: Airworthiness can be thought of as a process loop for ensuring the aircraft’s ability for safe flight.  It all starts with the design organization of the aircraft.  This organization or entity needs to be certified by the national aviation authority, that’s the first step in the airworthiness loop.  For the next part of the loop, someone needs to operate this aircraft, and this is the role of the airlines and operators who must also be certified by their national aviation authority This is key to ensuring the operational readiness and performance standards of the platform.   Repair stations are the third part of the loop, they also need to be certified by their national aviation authority to properly maintain the aircraft and its components.  So its design, production, operations, and repair all working together to provide confidence to the operators that their aircraft are always ready to go when needed.

In my previous roles, I was responsible for auditing and approving these three parts of the airworthiness loop.   Internally, here at S3, I am able to take things that I have seen during my audits on several organizations, and apply what worked well, or set up standards and processes to ensure those common mistakes or errors that repair stations often well victim to, are taken care of here.  I can confidently say that the quality standards here at S3 are one of the best out there.


S3: What does it mean to be an OEM certified repair station?

HASAN:  Being an OEM Certified Shop is something we are very proud of.  It means that OEMs have selected us, often exclusively, to perform repairs on their behalf.   Because of our commitment to high-quality standards, we are able to maintain part numbers that belong to some large OEMs in the aerospace industry, and we are just as selective as they are when it comes to choosing who we partner with, because of that dedication and commitment to our customers.  One of our big initiatives going on right now is to set aggressive KPIs that we can measure and set, to report out on the quality of our repairs to our OEM partners.  It is very exciting to see the drive and passion of the entire company here to commit to our partners and customers that we will continually improve and grow our quality processes.


S3: That’s great information Hasan, thank you for sharing your insights and knowledge.  Do you have any parting advice for those searching for MRO services, what would that be?

Safety cannot be compromised. Always follow the applicable requirements – do not use shortcuts. Do not be duped or tricked into sacrificing the safety and proper performance of maintenance, there are repair stations out there that are sacrificing this. They promise quality but don’t really care about the full scope of what quality means. 


At S3, we strive for quality excellence through continual process improvement and total team commitment. Our resources and expertise create a great opportunity to provide compliance solutions and additional support to our customers.

Learn more about of commitment to quality and our industry certifications here.