Material Condition Tags
RB “Doc” Hecker
EAA Technical Counselor # 5453
EAA Flight Advisor # 1905
Material Condition Tags
I was recently walking through a hangar workshop where a volunteer was reassembling a spare aircraft component that had been disassembled and cleaned. While looking over the work in progress, I noticed a similarly completed component on the bench that had a green tag attached to it. As a matter of curiosity, I enquired as to the serviceable status of the completed component, and was told by the volunteer that it was ready to be placed on the serviceable spare parts shelf. The volunteer stated that since the part was “ready to go”, he decided to mark it with a green “go” tag. When I asked him what was generally understood by the term “green tag”, he seemed hesitant. He was definitely puzzled when I told him that a “green tag” was understood to mean that a part was unserviceable, but repairable. I then asked him if he knew what FAA Form 8130-3 was used for. Since the volunteer was not a certificated repairman or airframe or power plant mechanic, he was unfamiliar with what is known in the maintenance community as an Authorized Release (FAA Form 8130-3) Airworthiness Approval Tag. Only a part certified as airworthy (new, repaired or overhauled) can be issued a FAA Form 8130-3 for installation on an aircraft.
Material Condition Tags were initiated by the US Armed Forces early in the 20th Century to classify aircraft parts according to their airworthiness status. The system utilizes color codes for rapid identification of parts condition, and the current tag cards are marked with a Department of Defense (DD) number. The following Material Condition Tags are currently in use:
DD Form 1574 Yellow Serviceable
DD Form 1575 Brown Suspended
DD Form 1576 Blue Test / Modification
DD Form 1577-1 Red Unserviceable - Condemned
DD Form 1577-2 Green Unserviceable - Repairable
The term “yellow tag” is colloquially used in the aircraft industry, but it has no real formal meaning or value as to parts serviceability. Many serviceable repaired or overhauled parts are returned from Repair Stations with a yellow coded tag, but a close inspection will reveal that the tag is labeled as FAA Form 8130-3. A rejected or non-airworthy part may be “red tagged”, but will not have the FAA Form 8130-3 release. Without the FAA Form 8130-3 attached, the aircraft part is not suitable for installation. The FAA Form 8130-3 ultimately becomes part of the maintenance record of the aircraft to prove the “chain of approval” of the airworthy part.
FAA Form 8130-3 is a dual use form. It can be used to identify new manufactured aircraft components to be shipped both domestically and internationally (Authorized Release), and is used by FAA approved Repair Stations to certify repaired or overhauled status (Airworthiness Approval Tag). The legal document regulating the use of FAA Form 8130-3 can be found in 14 CFR FAA Order 8130.21.
Our organization is highly dependent on the use of volunteer labor, but any work performed on aircraft components must conform to current FAR and FAA requirements. If in doubt, please feel free to consult your Technical Counselor or A&P to assist you in returning serviceable parts to inventory, or identifying legal components to install on our aircraft.
RB “Doc” Hecker (EAA 789419) is a FAA Senior AME (20969) who retired from the US Army Medical Department in 1997 after 26 years of service. He holds a Commercial/Instrument Pilot Certificate for ASEL, AMEL and ASES along with an A&P Mechanic Certificate. He has logged over 2,500 hours and prefers small, intimate airparks. He has restored a 1965 Cessna C210E (N4904U), a 1946 Taylorcraft BC12-D (NC43306),a 1946 Aeronca 7AC (NC2241E), refurbished a 1943 Aeronca O-58B / L-3B (NC47185) and a 1947 Taylorcraft BC12-D (N43928). He is currently restoring a 1947 Aeronca 7BC / L-16 (N119TX). His other projects include building a RV-8 (N51TX) and he is assisting in the restoration of a 1976 Taylorcraft F-19 (N3556T). He has previously owned a Cessna C-172 (N61785), a Grumman AA-5B (N74447) and a Mooney M20C (N10AD). In his free time, Doc practices medicine in San Antonio, TX. He is a member of EAA Chapter 35 of San Antonio, TX, EAA Chapter 92 of Orange, CA, and is an EAA Technical Counselor and Flight Advisor. In addition, he is a Life Member of the Commemorative Air Force and affiliates with the Tex Hill Wing (Hondo, TX), and crews with the Gulf Coast Wing (Houston, TX) as a Flight Engineer and member of the maintenance team where he does sheet metal and fabric repair work on that magnificent 1945 B17-G war bird “Texas Raiders” (N7227C).
April 25, 2012
File: Material Condition Tags