Service Difficulty Program

The Service Difficulty Program is an information system designed to provide assistance to aircraft owners, operators, maintenance organizations, manufacturers, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in identifying aircraft problems encountered during service.

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The Service Difficulty Program provides for the collection, organization, analysis, and dissemination of aircraft service information to improve service reliability of aeronautical products. The primary sources of this information are aircraft maintenance facilities, owners, and operators. The incentive for early detection is to expedite corrective actions and ultimate solutions, thereby minimizing the effect of equipment failure on safety.

Each problem reported contributes to the improvement of aviation safety through the identification of a potential problem area and the alerting of other persons to it. This focusing of attention on a problem has led to improvements in the design and maintainability of aircraft and aircraft products.

Advisory Circular (AC) 20-109 (as revised), Service Difficulty Program (General Aviation), describes the Service Difficulty Program as it applies to general aviation. It also includes instructions for completing FAA Form 8010-4, Malfunction or Defect Report. The information from these reports is compiled and published as Maintenance Alerts.

By pooling everyone’s knowledge about a situation, the FAA can detect mechanical problems early enough to correct them before they might possibly result in accidents/incidents which should make flying safer, more enjoyable, and certainly less expensive.


FAA Form 8010-4, Malfunction or Defect Report

General aviation aircraft service difficulty information is normally submitted to the FAA by use of FAA Form 8010-4. However, information will be accepted in any form or format when FAA Form 8010-4 is not readily available for use.

The information contained in the FAA Form 8010-4 is stored in a computerized data bank for retrieval and analysis. Items potentially hazardous to flight are telephoned directly to the Regulatory Support Division, Aviation Data Systems Branch (AFS-620) personnel by FAA aviation safety inspectors (ASIs) in local Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs). These items are immediately referred to, and promptly handled by, the appropriate FAA offices.

Aircraft owners, pilots, and mechanics are urged to report all service problems promptly, using FAA Form 8010-4 or any other form or format. You may obtain a copy of the form from any FSDO. No postage is required.

FAA Form 8010-4 is also available in a fillable PDF format on the FAA website at for mailing, or it can be submitted electronically on the FAA website at Figure 10-1 is a sample FAA Form 8010-4.

Figure 10-1. FAA Form 8010-4, Malfunction or Defect Report. You can obtain instructions for completing FAA Form 8010-4 on the FAA website at or from your local FSDO.

Figure 10-1. FAA Form 8010-4, Malfunction or Defect Report. You can obtain instructions for completing FAA Form 8010-4 on the FAA website at or from your local FSDO.


Maintenance Alerts

The FAA publishes AC 43-16 (as revised), Aviation Maintenance Alerts, monthly on its website to provide the aviation community with a means for interchanging service difficulty information and sharing information on aviation service experiences.


The Maintenance Alert program leads to improved aeronautical product durability, reliability, and safety. The articles contained in the Maintenance Alerts are derived from the Malfunction or Defect Reports submitted by aircraft owners, pilots, mechanics, repair stations, and air taxi operators.

Maintenance specialists review the reports and select pertinent items for publication in the Maintenance Alerts. The information is brief and advisory and compliance is not mandatory. However, the information is intended to alert you to service experience, and, when applicable, direct your attention to the manufacturer’s recommended corrective action.

Accessing Maintenance Alerts

You can access current and back issues of this publication on the FAA website at, which allows free access to each month’s Maintenance Alerts.

Contact Information

You can contact the FAA Aviation Systems Data Branch (AFS-620) regarding the Maintenance Alert Program.

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