How Do I Avoid Counterfeit Jet Parts?

Are the parts in your aircraft the real thing? Counterfeit aircraft parts, called Suspected Unapproved Parts (SUPs), could not only prevent you from meeting safety standards, but could also spell disaster for you and your crew if they fail.

What are SUPs?

SUPs are counterfeit aircraft parts that have been passed off as legitimate either without paperwork or with falsified documents. In most cases, both the part and its accompanying paperwork look genuine. How do these fake parts make their way into your aircraft? With the constant upgrade cycle in the consumer electronics and aviation industries, manufacturers cannot make parts for older aircraft forever. When parts from the original manufacturer are no longer available, counterfeits begin to emerge.

These bogus parts are often not re-manufactured but are simply old parts being resold. Part identification may have been tampered with; for example, a serial number may have been stamped over. A 2012 U.S. congressional study found that in 2009 and 2010, there were 1,800 cases of bogus parts reported, involving more than one million electronic components. The scariest part about this scenario is the level of sophistication of the counterfeiting: Many times methodical analysis is required to detect bogus parts.

How can we avoid SUPs?

As this problem has become more widespread, the FAA has begun to take more aggressive action and has developed programs to help protect consumers against SUPs. The FAA maintains a running list of Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) articles in the Regulatory and Guidance Library (RGL). This database contains the FAA Parts Manufacturer Approvals by make, PMA Holder, and part number. In addition, the FAA maintains an Unapproved Part Notifications list. And if you come across SUPs, be part of the solution by reporting them to the FAA’s SUP program.

For your part, be wary and keep a watchful eye. When buying replacement parts,

  • check labels against those of parts from a legal and trusted source,
  • Know who you’re buying from and be suspicious of low-ball or bargain-basement pricing, and
  • Be skeptical of damaged shipping boxes, reused labels, smudged or odd-looking stamps, and any other indications of tampering.

Better yet, take advantage of the knowledge and experience of a reliable jet broker. A jet broker’s expertise can be invaluable in finding certified, safe replacement parts for your aircraft.

Contact L & L International if you need assistance in purchasing or selling a private jet. You can reach our sales specialists today at, call us any time at 877-453-8276 (+1.305.754.3313), or visit us online.

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