The DLR constitutes a Design Organization accepted by the german aeronautical authority Luftahrtbundesamt. It is licensed to modify its own aircraft according to particular research tasks. In order to maintain this regulatory acceptance, the Design Organization has to provide a design assurance system to achieve the respective legal requirements. The purpose of this system is to ensure safe operation of the research aircraft including the modifications.By issuing laws and regulations, the legislator aims to satisfy the public interest regarding high safety standards in aviation. Therefore the DLR has the responsibility not only to meet the scientific and industrial customers’ demands but also to comply with the specific legal requirements concerning the design of aircraft modifications.
Legal foundations and standards
The legal basis and the resulting requirements regarding a quality management system are laid down in the Joint Aviation Requirements JAR 21 and the accompanying Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC). These regulations which originated from European cooperation have been transferred into German law. With the established quality management system the DLR meets the resulting legal requirements. The requirements to be fulfilled by the Design Organization are similar to those of DIN standard EN ISO 9001 et seqq.
Implementation and system monitoring
The organization structure, the procedures and tasks as well as the staff qualification requirements are held in the Design Organization Handbook. Every member of staff has to act in accordance with the rules as stipulated in the Handbook. DLR employees not involved in the design and approval of the aircraft modifications monitor the effectiveness and usefulness of the quality management system by means of audits. Their conclusions and the resulting measures established by the Design Organization assure that the system is continuously adapted to the requirements for optimum quality capability.The Luftfahrtbundesamt annually audits the DLR Design Organization to monitor the compliance with legal requirements and its adherence to the procedures described in the Design Organization Handbook. By means of these audits and the day-to-day cooperation with the Design Organization the authority verifies with respect to the public interest that the DLR assures the safe operation of its research aircraft.