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FAA and WSU-NIAR will host free FAA Certification Tutorial in Wichita August 21

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

On Monday August 21, the Federal Aviation Administration and Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research will present a complimentary Certification Tutorial in Wichita to teach the basics of FAA Composite Certification.

The tutorial, which will be instructed by Cindy Ashforth, FAA Senior Technical Specialist for Advanced Composite Materials, will feature content typically covered in the CMH-17 certification tutorial, which includes a detailed review of the content in FAA Advisory Circular 20-107B.

The tutorial covers the basics of FAA certification for design, production, and airworthiness approvals and requirements relevant to composite materials and structures. Attendees will gain an overall understanding of aircraft certification and substantiation and will benefit from opportunities to interact with other attendees. The tutorial complements and extends the topics in CMH-17 Volume 3, Chapter 3 by providing added content depth. The tutorial emphasizes:

  • Structural substantiation and proof of structure of type design
  • Production support
  • Manufacturing defect disposition
  • Continued operational safety

Additional material will discuss newer industry engineering guidelines and regulatory guidance and policy such as:

  • Bonded repair size limits
  • Damage threats
  • High energy wide area blunt impact (HEWABI)
  • Fatigue and damage tolerance

The workshop will be held at the National Center for Aviation Training, 4004 N. Webb Rd. To register, visit


8:30 a.m. FAA Certification
9:30 a.m. Composite Technical Challenges
10:30 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. Composite Technical Challenges (continued)
11:15 a.m. Material & Process Control
12:15 p.m. Lunch (onsite)
1:15 p.m. Static Strength Substantiation
1:45 p.m. Fatigue & Damage Tolerance
3:15 p.m. Break
3:30 p.m. Other Requirements
4:30 p.m. End

Biography: Cindy Ashforth, Senior Technical Specialist for Advanced Composite Materials, Federal Aviation Administration

Cindy Ashforth began her career as a certification and test engineer with McCauley Propellers in 1992. She worked for The Lancair Company (later Columbia Aircraft) for nine years in the production of general aviation aircraft. She held several key positions as a structural test engineer, composite material and process (M&P) engineer, and later a certification manager. In this capacity, Cindy led certification of the all-composite Columbia 300, 350, and 400 aircraft.

At Lancair, Ms. Ashforth was an Administrative DER and a Composite M&P DER. Ms. Ashforth coordinated FAA approval of type design changes, manufacturing review board activities, and service instructions. She also planned and performed testing, developed new material test protocols, and analyzed and approved test results. Ms. Ashforth was a member of the NASA AGATE program (Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiment), and author of several AGATE publications on composite materials.

After leaving Lancair, Ms. Ashforth worked as the Director of Quality and Regulatory Compliance for an infrared camera manufacturer. Her role was to oversee production quality control and manage the company STCs. She subsequently joined Epic Aircraft as the Certification Manager and Materials Engineer. At Epic, she provided technical direction in the engineering, manufacturing, and quality control of their six-place composite turboprop airplane.

Ms. Ashforth joined the FAA in 2010 as a Program Manager in the International Branch of the Transport Airplane Directorate. She managed certification of the Embraer Legacy 500 business jet and was responsible for oversight of continued operational safety (COS) and design change approvals of the Embraer E-jet fleet. She authored the branch quality procedures and was identified as the international focal for compliance with the FAA's widespread fatigue damage rule. While performed these duties, Ms. Ashforth actively supported the FAA's composite initiatives. She wrote class content for the FAA's Composite Structural Engineering Technology course and was the prime developer of the Composite Manufacturing Engineering Technology course. Ms. Ashforth is an active member of CMH-17 and co-chairman of the Safety Management Working Group.

As a Composite STS, Ms. Ashforth manages the FAA's Composite Plan and supports composite COS, certification, and education initiatives. This includes the technical support of composite applications on all FAA type certification and production programs.

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