I’m not going to waste time telling you that airplanes are very expensive to maintain – you know that. I am going to tell you there is an FAA-approved way to save money on replacement parts and it’s called PMA.
Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) parts for general aviation engines have been around since the 1950’s. To get the FAA’s approval, a PMA manufacturer must demonstrate through documentation and testing that the new part meets the precise performance of the original OEM component it is created to replace. Many PMA providers like Superior Air Parts – makers of the Millennium Cylinders – actually make engineering and materials improvements to create a more modern product.
By saving you lots of money. For example, if you overhaul a CMI IO-520-B engine using Superior’s PMA parts they will save over $3,000 compared to using only “OE” parts. I think $3,000 savings is hard to ignore.
Of course, this is just one example of how PMA pricing helps maintain a competitive balance. Take away the PMAs and the lack of any competition is how the original manufacturer can justify (get away with) the huge price difference.
And believe me, in the eyes of the FAA, all these parts are exactly the same, whether they are from Alabama, Pennsylvania or Dallas.
I hear aircraft owners and mechanics saying all the time that they don’t want PMA parts in their aircraft for whatever reason. Well, you’d be surprised to know that if you are using a top brand like Champion spark plugs, you’re using PMA parts.
From spark plugs to cylinders to airframe parts, cost-minded aircraft owners and maintainers are realizing that PMA parts are one way that they can save real money while taking advantage of new, and often improved, manufacturing and design technologies.
It’s not only general aviation owner/operator/maintainers that are taking advantage of what PMAs have to offer. Many commercial aircraft and engine manufacturers are themselves now supporting PMA efforts.
The bottom line is, if you want great quality at reasonable prices for whatever you fly, your best choice will always be PMA parts.