What DERs Do
As Designees of the FAA:
Designated Engineering Representatives (DER) approve data to Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The delegation by the FAA allows us to approve, within a specified area, data to certain parts of the regulations. As an example, a DER that has a delegation of Structures – Static analysis and Design and Construction – Fuselage – part 23 – repairs and alterations, could approve a drawing for 23.607 – fasteners (and some other things). In the most basic case, a DER with his DER hat on just reviews data and finds compliance to the regulations. Most consultant DERs do more than just review data, we often produce the data, or oversee its production.
As Regulatory Consultants:
DERs also must be well versed in the regulations and their history. When we approve data for one specialty, we are expected to also mention what other specialties likely need approval. Another service we provide is certification planning. This includes determining what regulations need to be addressed and by what method compliance will be shown. This process can be a simple list stated on an 8110-3, to a complex matrix of regulations and compliance documents. Certification planning works best when it is planning ahead and not end of project “we need to do what?” DERs can also assist with different means to get a project approved, such as repair processes, coordinated field approvals, one time STCs, full STCs, and amended Type Certificates.
As Consulting Engineers:
The data DERs review has to be created by someone. Some applicants create their own data, or portions of it. Others ask us to create all the data from the client’s idea. When reviewing complex data, the review and checking can often take a significant amount of time in comparison to creating the data in the first place. For this reason, it is often cost effective to have the consulting DER create or oversee the creation of the reports. The design data (drawings, instructions, and specifications) is often produced or at least drafted by the client. They usually know what they want to make. Consulting DERs will work to get the design to an FAA approvable design. Part of this is the detail drawings, which must be of sufficient detail to get a consistent aircraft product using acceptable materials. The other part is process specifications that explain how to make a product.