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Understanding the terminology used in the Airbus specification system

When selecting a chemical for use on an aircraft, choices are often made based on the approvals and specifications a product is manufactured to. Each Original Equipment Manufacturer (or OEM) uses their own terminology when classifying the different types of specification, and Airbus are no different. Below, you will see the difference between AIMS, IPS, AIPI, AIPS and other references when used in the context of Airbus product specifications.

Firstly, an important note. Customers should always check the drawing first, and follow the references listed on those documents.

The specific references on a drawing will differ depending on the aircraft model and age, with legacy documents being replaced gradually by the more current AIPS and AIPI.

Material Specifications, Product Specifications and Testing Methods

  • AIMS - Airbus Material Specification
  • IPS - Individual Product Specification
  • AITM - Airbus Testing Method

The AIMS specification is the full technical requirement, outlining the design requirements that must be met for the application in question. This will be referenced in the form of AIMS XX-XX-XXX.

The IPS specification is given to an individual product to indicate that this has met all of the AIMS requirements and has been approved by Airbus. The IPS reference follows the same numbering system as the corresponding AIMS specification, with an extra two/three digit number being the specific product identifier: IPS XX-XX-XXX-XX.

A working example is outlined below

AIMS 10-04-023 - this is the material specification, outlining the design requirements of the product.

  • Loctite EA9309.3NA AERO – tested and released to IPS 10-04-023-01
  • 3M Scotch-Weld EC-9323-150 – tested and released to IPS 10-04-023-02

As you can see, both the Loctite EA9309.3NA AERO and 3M Scotch-Weld EC-9323-150 are qualified to AIMS 10-04-023 and have been approved by Airbus under their specific IPS references. The testing methods set out to determine if a product can be approved or not are referenced under the associated AITM.

Process Specifications 

  • AIPS - Airbus Process Specification
  • AIPI - Airbus Process Instruction

Alongside an AIMS specification, you will see an AIPI and an AIPS called up. These are related to the process of using an AIMS approved material, with the AIPI instruction enabling any manufacturing process to comply with the relevant AIPS.

As an example, Socomore Socostrip A0103N is approved under AIPI 05-03-005, meaning it can be used for “chemical stripping of aircraft external paint system and repainting”.

Legacy Specifications

Finally, you may also see some legacy references which are a combination of engineering requirements and manufacturing instructions.

  • 80-T - German Legacy Specification
  • ABP - British Legacy Specification
  • I D-P - Spanish Legacy Specification
  • IPDA - French Legacy Specification