First Article Inspection Forms & FAI Reports

Easily identify non-conformances and prevent costly production delays with a powerful inspection app for automated FAI reports

Published December 8th, 2020

What is a First Article Inspection?

First Article Inspection (FAI) is the process of verifying the design requirements of a product from the first production run. First article inspections can reduce costly production delays by ensuring the manufacturing process produces output that meets design requirements. An FAI is required by the 9102 standard developed by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) and published through the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

This article will briefly discuss:

What is a 9102 FAI?

A 9102 FAI is the first article inspection that adheres to the AS9102B, or the Aerospace First Article Inspection Requirement. SAE offers a practical guide that sets the baseline requirements for performing and documenting FAI. Essentially, a 9102 FAI focuses on providing objective evidence the manufacturer’s processes can produce compliant products and that they have also incorporated statutory and regulatory requirements.

What is a Delta FAI?

A delta FAI, also referred to as a partial FAI, is one of the two most common types of first article inspections—the other one is called a full FAI, or a complete re-accomplishment of the first article inspection. Usually, a partial FAI is conducted only under certain circumstances such as changes in the design of a product, where the delta FAI report shows the difference between the original first article inspection report (FAIR) and the revised drawing.

First Article Inspection Frequency

Quality inspectors perform FAIs when there is a 2-year lapse in production or when there are significant changes in the product, including design, manufacturing source/process, location of manufacture, tooling/materials, or computer-generated program that can affect its fit, form, or function.

First Article Inspection Process

First article inspections provide assurance of product conformance at the start of series production and after design changes. Generally, here are the steps taken by quality inspectors when performing first article inspections:

  1. Prepare the engineering design and specification requirements

    Quality managers should regularly coordinate with design engineers and fabrication managers to ascertain that the as-built technical drawings (electrical, mechanical, pneumatic and process schemes) are followed. Before the first article inspection, prepare the instruments calibration certificates and refer to the equipment and materials data sheets to deliver high-quality machines with performance that clients can trust.

  2. Determine the part or assembly to inspect

    The “first article” to be inspected is neither the prototype model nor the first product from a production run. Quality inspectors should randomly select a representative item from the first production run and document part number accountability which includes the part number, part name, and manufacturing process reference.

  3. Conduct raw materials, special processes, and functional testing

    Quality inspectors measure and verify design characteristics through product-specific tests with required design tooling. For product accountability, each material and process used to manufacture the product is listed and certificates of conformance for special processes are added. Functional test procedures should also be cited with corresponding acceptance reports as supporting documents.

  4. Evaluate characteristics accountability and compatibility

    Inspection results can ascertain the necessity of a delta FAI or a full re-accomplishment of the first article inspection. In case of non-conforming characteristics, design revisions should be implemented. Quality inspectors should review the manufacturing process and non-conformance documentation to improve the performance of a delta FAI.

  5. Report the first article inspection with proper documentation

    Upon the completion of the first article inspection, quality inspectors validate the FAI report with their signatures, indicating that all characteristics are accounted for; meet drawing requirements; or are properly documented for disposition. FAI reports should include photos of the product’s make and packaging to provide objective evidence.

What is an FAI Report?

An FAI report, or FAIR, is a document completed by quality inspectors which usually includes part number accountability, product accountability, and characteristic accountability. Generally, electronic signatures are acceptable in a FAI, as long as their usage and control are clearly defined in the organization’s quality management system (QMS).

iAuditor – First Article Inspect & FAI Report App

Quality inspectors can use iAuditor by SafetyCulture to streamline FAI documentation and reporting, standardize product quality, and prevent costly production delays. With iAuditor, you can:

  • Perform inspections offline or online
  • Capture photo evidence
  • Assign actions for non-conformance
  • Gather digital signatures
  • Automatically generate FAI reports
  • Get unlimited online data storage
SafetyCulture Staff Writer

Shine Colcol

Shine has been professionally writing about virtually anything since her internship for a digital publisher of niche blogazines. She is passionate about building a culture of continuous improvement in the environmental, health, safety, and quality space through well-researched, engaging, and impactful content.

Shine has been professionally writing about virtually anything since her internship for a digital publisher of niche blogazines. She is passionate about building a culture of continuous improvement in the environmental, health, safety, and quality space through well-researched, engaging, and impactful content.

SafetyCulture Staff Writer

Shine Colcol

Shine has been professionally writing about virtually anything since her internship for a digital publisher of niche blogazines. She is passionate about building a culture of continuous improvement in the environmental, health, safety, and quality space through well-researched, engaging, and impactful content.

Shine has been professionally writing about virtually anything since her internship for a digital publisher of niche blogazines. She is passionate about building a culture of continuous improvement in the environmental, health, safety, and quality space through well-researched, engaging, and impactful content.