What is DOA in Aviation? (Design Organization Approval)

Design Organization Approval (DOA) refers to the certification granted by the aviation authorities to a design organization involved in the development and modification of aircraft components, systems, and structures. It ensures that the design organization has met the regulatory requirements regarding competency, procedures, and quality standards, thereby ensuring the safety and airworthiness of the products they develop. In simpler terms, DOA is a recognition of a design organization’s capability to design and certify aircraft parts, systems, or structures in compliance with aviation regulations.

Benefits of Design Organization Approval

Obtaining Design Organization Approval in aviation can provide various benefits to design organizations. Some of the key benefits include:

1. Increased Efficiency

By having DOA, design organizations can streamline their operations and processes. They have the authority to approve and issue design data, which eliminates the need for additional oversight and approvals from regulatory authorities, resulting in faster time-to-market for their products. This increased efficiency allows design organizations to respond promptly to market demands and stay competitive in the aviation industry.

2. Flexibility in Design Modifications

Design organizations with DOA have the flexibility to make design modifications to aircraft parts, systems, or structures without seeking approval from the aviation authorities for each change. As long as the modifications are within the scope of their DOA privileges, they can proceed with the necessary design changes. This flexibility enables design organizations to quickly adapt to technological advancements, customer requirements, or regulatory updates, ensuring continuous improvement and innovation in their products.

3. Enhanced Quality Control

DOA requires design organizations to establish robust quality control processes and procedures. They must have adequate systems in place to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and standards throughout the design and certification process. This focus on quality control helps design organizations produce reliable and safe aircraft components, systems, or structures, reducing the risk of defects or failures that could compromise flight safety.

Requirements for Design Organization Approval

Design organizations seeking DOA need to fulfill certain requirements set by the aviation regulatory authorities. Although the specific requirements may vary depending on the jurisdiction, some common prerequisites include:

Evidence of Competence

The design organization must provide evidence of its technical competence to develop and certify aircraft parts, systems, or structures. This includes having qualified personnel with appropriate knowledge, skills, and experience in their respective fields. The design organization must also demonstrate its ability to carry out design activities in compliance with relevant regulations and industry best practices.

Established Design Procedures

DOA applicants must have established design procedures that outline the steps and processes involved in the development and modification of aircraft parts, systems, or structures. These procedures should cover aspects such as design methodology, verification and validation processes, configuration management, and documentation control. The design organization must demonstrate how these procedures ensure compliance with applicable regulations and standards.

Quality Management System

Design organizations seeking DOA must have a documented quality management system (QMS) in place. This system should address key quality control aspects such as quality planning, process control, inspections, corrective actions, and continuous improvement. The QMS should demonstrate the design organization’s commitment to maintaining high-quality standards throughout the design and certification processes.

Implications of Design Organization Approval

Design Organization Approval carries significant implications for both the design organization and the aviation industry as a whole. Some of these implications include:

Accountability and Responsibility

With DOA, design organizations assume greater accountability and responsibility for the products they develop and certify. They become an integral part of the safety oversight system, as their products directly impact the airworthiness and safety of aircraft. Design organizations must ensure that their designs meet all the necessary regulatory requirements, conduct thorough testing and validation, and maintain proper documentation to demonstrate compliance.

Industry Standards and Harmonization

Design Organization Approval fosters the establishment of industry standards and harmonization. As design organizations have to comply with regulatory requirements and industry best practices, their operations align with the broader standards set by the aviation authorities. This alignment promotes consistency and uniformity across design organizations, ensuring that all parties adhere to the same quality and safety standards.

Streamlined Certification Process

DOA streamlines the certification process for aircraft parts, systems, or structures. Instead of seeking individual certification for each design change, design organizations can self-certify their products within the scope of their DOA privileges. This reduces the regulatory burden on both the design organization and the aviation authorities, enabling quicker and more efficient certification processes. It also allows regulatory authorities to focus their resources on higher-risk areas that require closer scrutiny.


Design Organization Approval plays a vital role in ensuring the safety, efficiency, and quality of aircraft components, systems, or structures. It allows design organizations to operate with autonomy and flexibility while maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements. By obtaining DOA, design organizations enhance their reputation, gain a competitive edge, and contribute to the continuous improvement and advancement of the aviation industry.

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