What is a First Article Inspection?

By Mari Luke | September 13, 2019
Man sitting at keyboard staring at computer screen

First Article Inspection (FAI) is an authentication method for a manufacturing process. It is a detailed verification and comparison of the product design to the manufactured part. First articles are conducted on detailed, assembly, and sub-assembly parts.

A First Article Inspection Report (FAIR) is the documentation of the FAI that includes the dimensional data of a part in comparison to the design specifications.

What is the purpose of a First Article Inspection?

  • Provide objective confirmation that all engineering design and specification requirements are understood, accounted for, verified, and documented.
  • Verify the accuracy of part drawings, making sure all changes made to part designs are included.
  • Ensure the manufacturing process is reliable, repeatable, and consistent.
  • Validate the tooling used to produce a part and ensure the tools ability to produce parts at the required specification.
  • Ensure the manufacturing process is capable and can meet the needs of production.

What are the different types of FAI?

There are two different types of first articles: 

1. Full or Standard First Article Inspection

2. Partial First Article Inspection or Delta FAI

A Partial FAI/Delta FAI is conducted when isolated changes are made. Such as drawing changes after a change in the part design, or if a previous FAIR recorded nonconformance of characteristics.

For an AS9102  Delta FAI, it should be noted in box 14 on Form 1, with the baseline part number and reason for Partial FAI. Learn more about when a FAI is required

What is the difference between First Article Inspection and AS9102?

The AS9102 Standard is a document created by SAE that establishes the baseline requirements for conducting and documenting a first article inspection for the aerospace industry. Whether an AS9102 is required depends on your customer. If your customer has not made any specific FAI requirements, and you are producing parts for the aerospace industry, you may still use AS9102 as a guideline for performing first article inspection.

Learn more about First Article Inspection and get our free AS9102 template and guide.

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