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Meeting FAA requirements with aircraft upholstery

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Working with aircraft interiors takes more than simply agreeing to do a job. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) implemented numerous regulations and procedures for upholsterers providing aircraft services. “Those people who want to get into the aircraft market have to do their homework,” says Rob Lucarelli, interior specialist at the National Flight Services Inc. facility in Swanton, Ohio.

Some of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) that Lucarelli says impact his work the most include FAR 25.853 and FAR 43.3(d). FAR 25.853 lists the interior components of an aircraft that must meet flammability specifications. FAR 43.3(d) requires a certified mechanic to supervise any maintenance or alterations being performed on the aircraft. To help upholsterers new to the aircraft market, Interior Flight Services Inc. offers advice on meeting FAA requirements, as well as FAA-certified interior products, on its website,

When Terri Madden, owner of Sand Sea and Air Interiors Inc. in San Juan, Puerto Rico, submitted a letter of intent to the FAA and began the certification process, an FAA inspector was assigned to her shop. The inspector helped Madden’s team write several manuals to be used for future jobs.

“All of the steps required for certification placed my business practices under a microscope,” she says, “and after nine grueling months, a new and improved fabrication shop was born.”

To learn more about the FAA certification process and regulations, visit

Abbie Yarger is a freelance writer and editor based in Minnesota.

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