Aircraft Parts: You Get What You Pay For
There are a lot of options for both aircraft owners and their mechanics when it comes to locating parts for an aircraft. Depending on the make and model of the aircraft, some may be more easily found than others, but the one thing that remains consistent is the cost. When you compare the cost of an aircraft part to a similar component you might buy for your car, the difference in price can be quite significant, but just because they look the same does not mean they are identical. Installing unapproved parts is both illegal and unsafe, and nullifies the aircraft’s airworthiness, which in many cases nullifies the insurance policy as well.
The FAA is very concerned with unapproved parts on aircraft, and for good reason. No matter what the part, the aircraft or equipment manufacturer has designed a specific part with certain specifications, tolerances, and purpose. By substituting parts, there is no guarantee that it will meet the manufacturer’s intended purpose, and along with that, there is also no documentation or traceability.
By purchasing the manufacturer’s approved parts, or parts for which there is after-market approval, you are guaranteeing that the part will serve its intended purpose, and help to keep the pilot and aircraft occupants safe. In addition to safety, installing unapproved parts can have serious legal ramifications.
Keep your aircraft safe by using approved parts. The few dollars you save could cost you greatly in the future.