Introduction to First Article Inspection (FAI)

What is First Article Inspection?

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.

What is a FAIR?

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.

Common Questions

When is a first article inspection required?

A First Article Inspection (FAI) is an official authentication method for a manufacturing process. An FAI report utilizes the dimensional properties of a production part in comparison to design specifications. Items to be checked by the FAI are wide and varied and may include distances between edges, positions of holes, diameters and shapes of holes, weight, density, stiffness, color or surface finish.

Learn more about when a First Article Inspection is required

What is Delta FAI?

A Delta FAI, or partial FAI, is done when there is a change in the manufacturing process. A partial or Delta FAI is required when: 

  • A change in design potentially affects form, fit, or function

  • A change in manufacturing source, process, inspection method, location of manufacture, tooling, or material

  • A change to numerical control programs or translation to another media potentially affects form, fit, or function

What does FAIR stand for?

A FAIR is a First Article Inspection Report. It is the output of an FAI, First Article Inspection, which is a set of actions that validate a manufacturing process. 

What is the difference between FAIR and FAI?

A FAIR, or First Article Inspection Report, is the documentation you provide to your customer as evidence of your First Article Inspection. FAI, or First Article Inspection, validates your manufacturing process.

Learn more about the difference between FAIR and FAI.

Free AS9102 Rev C First Article Inspection Template & Guide

What’s Included:

  • Free AS9102 Rev C Template as an Excel workbook with forms 1, 2, and 3.
  • Separate annotated guide with an explanation of every field in the AS9102 Template forms 1, 2, and 3.

What is the difference: FAI vs AS9102?


First Article Inspection is typically called for in a purchase order contract between the producer and buyer. The most common reason to conduct an FAI is because it's required by your customer. According to SAE, here are the times a First Article is required:

  • First production run of a new product
  • Design change
  • Materials or sources change 
  • It has been more than 2 years since the part was produced 
  • Change in process, tools, or location

Learn more about when a First Article Inspection is required. 



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 Inspections. Learn more about creating an AS9102 First Article Inspection Report. 

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Doug Murillo, Quality Engineer

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