Aviation Investigation Report A98H0003

  1. Swissair
  2. SR Technics
  3. US Federal Aviation Administration
  4. Swiss FOCA
  5. Interactive Flight Technologies Inc.
  6. Hollingsead International
  7. Santa Barbara Aerospace
  8. Recaro and Rumbold
  9. McDonnell Douglas Corporation (now Boeing)

Swissair

Swissair, a scheduled airline operating under JAR OPS 1 Commercial Air Transportation (Aeroplanes) as of 1 April 1998, contracted with IFT to install a passenger entertainment system in its fleet of MD-11 and B-747 aircraft.[1]

On 10 October 1996, Swissair accepted an offer, dated 2 September 1996, known as the September 1996 Offer, from its technical services department to coordinate and oversee the installation.[2] The on-aircraft installation was carried out by HI. IFT was also a signatory to this document.

SR Technics

Located in Zurich, Switzerland, SR Technics is an approved maintenance organization under the JAR/FAR, Part 145. SR Technics performed aircraft and engine overhaul and maintenance.

Under the September 1996 Offer, SR Technics was responsible for providing logistical support to, and QA oversight of, HI. As part of its QA role, SR Technics was responsible for monitoring the installation work performed by HI.

As an approved repair station, SR Technics was responsible for releasing each aircraft to return to service following installation of the IFEN system. Each such release was based on receipt of the FAA Form 337 (Major Repair and Alteration) provided by HI following installation of the IFEN system. SR Technics Engineering Order 513051, which relates to the installation of the IFEN system in accordance with STC ST00236LA-D on HB-IWF (the occurrence aircraft), was completed on 12 September 1997.

IFT entered into an agreement with SR Technics in which SR Technics was subcontracted to provide the ongoing product support for the IFEN system for which IFT was responsible in accordance with its Sales and Services Agreement with Swissair.[3]

US Federal Aviation Administration

The LAACO of the FAA provided regulatory oversight of SBA, which acted as the certifying organization on behalf of the FAA. The FAA was also responsible for the ongoing oversight of SBA as a DAS(STI) The FAA approved SBA's LOI to certify the IFEN system.

The FAA did not consider HI to be exercising its repair station authorization in support of STC ST00236LA-D. However, the FAA was responsible for the ongoing oversight of HI as an approved repair station and holder of an FAA Parts Manufacturer Approval.

Swiss FOCA

As the regulatory authority in Switzerland, the Swiss FOCA had the authority to certify the IFEN installation in Swissair aircraft. The FOCA did not, however, issue a separate STC, but accepted the FAA STC ST00236LA-D and the use of Form 337.

FAA AC43.9-1E states:

FAA Form 337 is not authorized for use on other than US-registered aircraft. If a foreign civil air authority requests the form, as a record of work performed, it may be provided. The form should be executed in accordance with the FAR and this AC. The foreign authority should be notified on the form that it is not an official record and that it will not be recorded by the FAA Aircraft Registration Branch, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Although Form 337 is not typically used in Switzerland, this method was acceptable to the FOCA.

Interactive Flight Technologies Inc.

Located in Phoenix, Arizona, IFT developed and supplied the IFEN system. IFT was an approved repair station under the 14 CFR, Part 145, Certificate I9TR42N, issued on 16 May 1996 and held an FAA PMA for IFEN system components. IFT did not perform any work under its repair station authority in support of this STC.

Swissair contracted with IFT to install certified IFEN shipsets in its MD-11 and B-747 aircraft. IFT was also to install and operate the shipsets.[4]

IFT provided support for the IFEN system by supplying parts, providing software updates, issuing SBs, providing training, implementing product improvements, and addressing system-related problems. IFT also created the IFEN Maintenance Manual, which provided maintenance and trouble-shooting instructions and removal and installation procedures for the IFEN components.

Hollingsead International

HI was an approved repair station under the 14 CFR, Part 145, Certificate H51R428J, issued in 1953 and held an FAA PMA for the IFEN system wire bundles and equipment racks. HI facilities were located in Santa Ana and Garden Grove, California.

IFT contracted with HI to perform the IFEN certification, system integration engineering, and installation. HI manufactured the wire bundles, equipment racks, and structural supports necessary for installing the IFEN system. HI also created the Maintenance Instructions for Continued Airworthiness for the IFEN system, (STI) which included a general overview of the installation and basic removal and installation procedures for the IFEN system components. All installation work was accomplished by HI personnel at SR Technics facilities in Zurich, Switzerland.

Santa Barbara Aerospace

Located in Santa Barbara, California, SBA was an approved repair station under the 14 CFR, Part 145, Certificate S3BR755J, issued on 27 July 1994. SBA was also an approved DAS under the 14 CFR Part 21, Certificate DAS-14-NM, issued on 11 August 1994. SBA did not exercise its repair station authority in support of this STC.

HI contracted with SBA to provide the certification services necessary to obtain an STC. SBA did not perform any design or installation functions in support of the STC. SBA performed all certification activities, including approving data to demonstrate compliance with applicable regulations, test witnessing, drawing review, and parts and installation conformity activities.

Recaro and Rumbold

Located in Steinbeisweg, Germany, Recaro supplied the first- and economy-class seats. Located in Camberley, United Kingdom, Rumbold supplied the business-class seats. The seat manufacturers installed the IFEN system components into their respective seats under contract to IFT. This was accomplished under STC ST01373AT, a separate STC.

McDonnell Douglas Corporation (now Boeing)

The manufacturer of the aircraft was not directly involved in either the design or the installation of the IFEN system. On 26 July 1996, SR Technics asked MDC to provide specific aircraft data that would allow HI to integrate the system into the MD-11. MDC provided the requested data.

MDC was not requested to review the system design or integration, or to provide an NTO. An NTO was not required by regulation for this project.[5]


[1]    Prior to 1 April 1998, Swissair was operating exclusively under Swiss FOCA authority.

[2]    The technical department of Swissair became an autonomous company known as SR Technics under the SAirGroup of companies on 1 January 1997. For the purposes of this report, the name SR Technics will be used to refer to both entities.

[3]    The agreement between IFT and SR Technics, General Terms and Conditions for the Product Support Program In-Flight Entertainment System, became effective on 1 August 1997.

[4]    An IFEN shipset is an IFEN hardware system that, when loaded with appropriate software and program material, has or performs the following functions: exhibition on demand of motion pictures, short audio/video selections, video games, and gaming (all pursuant to and more fully set forth in Swissair's Detail-Specification for Interactive Inflight Entertainment & Cabin Management System (IFE) on Swissair's MD-11 and B-747).

[5]    An NTO represents a superficial appreciation of a project's impact on the manufacturer's product. It does not constitute manufacturer or FAA approval.

Date modified :
2012-07-27