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Supporting technical information A98H0003

In-flight entertainment network (IFEN) – FAA STC ST00236LA-D reviews following SR 111 accident

FAA critical design review trip report

The FAA, along with SBA personnel, conducted a CDR of SBA's STC ST00236LA-D on 16 October 1998. The CDR team consisted of four certification specialists who spent approximately four hours reviewing the technical compliance data included in STC ST00236LA-D.

The CDR was completed, in part, to answer questions posed by the SR 111 investigation team. The investigation team requested specific information pertaining to the electrical bus to which the IFEN was connected, including whether it was a cabin bus, and if not, why not. The initial CDR incorrectly stated that the IFEN was located on a cabin bus. Based upon this erroneous information, the CDR team concluded that the STC complied with the applicable FARs.

ACO STC briefing report

On 2 November 1998, the TSB submitted a letter to the FAA advising the organization that the SR 111 investigation team was interested in potential safety issues concerning the IFEN installation and the certification of the system. The TSB also requested that the FAA provide a report from a second planned review of the STC by the FAA.

The LAACO submitted Briefing Report Rev 1, dated 6 November 1998, to the TSB. This report answered questions posed by the TSB, the NTSB, and the FAA. The document provided background information on the STC and corrected the CDR finding regarding the source of electrical power to the IFEN. The document confirmed that the IFEN system was not connected to a cabin bus. This report also referred to the IFEN system as a "non-essential passenger entertainment system." The Briefing Report Rev 1 also indicated that the FAA had submitted a letter to SBA on 29 October 1998 advising the organization that the FAA was planning an SCR of STC ST00236LA-D.

FAA special certification review

The FAA formed an SCR team to investigate the design, installation, and certification of the IFEN system installed on the Swissair MD-11 aircraft. The objectives of the SCR were to determine whether the IFEN system included any unsafe design or installation features and to review the practices of SBA with respect to their approval of the subject STC, including the FAA's oversight of SBA. The SCR was led by the FAA Seattle Transport Airplane Directorate, and was conducted in three phases beginning on 9 November 1998 and concluding on 29 January 1999. The SCR team produced a report dated 14 June 1999 (amended on 9 June 2000 to include the "Implementation Activity for the SCR Recommendations" section).