First Article Inspection (FAI) | The Beginner's Guide
for 2020

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First Article Inspection Excel Template &
First Article Inspection Input Guide

4 mins read | Updated by Guthrie CAD/GIS Software on 8 January 2020

First Article Inspection Overview

First Article Inspection (FAI) consists of a detailed verification and comparison of a requirement (product design) versus results (production result). A supplier needs to do a First Article Inspection due to its industry requirements like AS9102 or customer requirements before the manufacturing process begins.

first article inspection form3 requirement vs measured data The part must conform to certain dimensional specifications. For example: Requirement #1 is 5.000 inches in diameter with a plus or minus tolerance of 0.01. Result #1 is 5.005. The result has conformed to the specification.

 • What is a First Article?
 • What is a First Article Inspection?
 • First Article Inspection Process Flow
 • What is a First Article Inspection Report?
 • How to create a First Article Inspection Report step-by-step
 • When should First Article Inspection be performed?

What is a First Article?

A first article is the first item that is manufactured using the same production processes as mass production by any subcontracted factory or supplier.

So that the client can validate how the supplier is capable of producing parts, and assemblies that meet all engineering and design requirements on a mass scale.

What is a First Article Inspection?

Once a new or revised part is manufactured on the first production run, it is necessary to ensure that all requirements (such as the specific drawings and specifications) have been met by inspecting a random sample of the first production run. This is called "First Article Inspection (FAI)".

In First Article Inspection, many organizations inspect every single dimension and specification of this sample against the drawing, as part of the detailed verification of production results versus product design, before the manufacturing process begins.

First Article Inspection Process Flow

Below is an example of the First Article Inspection Process Flow. First Article Inspection is conducted during the first production run. If you find something, not 100% compliant to requirement, you need to take the corrective action.

First Article Inspection Process Flow

What is a First Article Inspection Report?

To validate that a product has been manufactured to the correct specification, First Article Inspection Report (FAIR) consists of 3 forms (form 1 Part number accountability, form 2 Product accountability and form 3 Characteristic accountability) plus 1 ballooned drawing.

first article inspection report form1 form2 form3 The necessity of fields to be filled out depends on filed color:
 • Yellow - Required fields
 • Blue - Conditionally required fields
 • No color (white) - Optional fields

How to create a First Article Inspection Report step-by-step

Form 1: Part number accountability – this form is used to summarise the part of the article that is being first inspected (FAI part) and associated sub-assemblies or detail parts.

Download Free First Article Inspection AS9102B Template & Input Guide

Form 2: Product accountability – is used for all raw materials, specifications, processes and functional tests defined as a design requirement.


Form 3: Characteristic accountability – is used to summarise actual specific design characteristics such as dimensions, tolerances, drawing notes, etc. as well as actual measurement results of the first article inspection parts for every design characteristic on the drawing.


Balloon Drawing (also called Bubble Drawing) – is an essential part of a First Article Inspection Report package to support Form 3 and to verify every design characteristic requirement. In this drawing, each design characteristic has its own uniquely numbered balloon. For traceability purposes, this number needs to match with the characteristics numbers on Form 3.

ballooned drawing example Ballooned Drawing Example (We also offer First Article Inspection Software, QA-CAD which helps you to create First Article Inspection Report and ballooned drawing efficiently. Please click here to view its details.)

When should First Article Inspection be performed?

Once all designs and production processes have been finalized, a full FAI must be performed on the first production run. On the other hand, partial FAI should be executed when there is any change in the design or manufacturing process that affects the fit, form or function of the product.

Full FAI is necessary when one of the following occur:

• New part introduction
• New supplier or new location of manufacture
• When this part has not been manufactured for more than 2 years
• When the customer requested

first aritcle inspection is required for new supplier Full FAI is required by a new supplier, a new factory and new part introduction

Delta FAI (Partial FAI) is necessary when one of the following occur:

• Design change which can potentially affect fit, form or function
• Production process change (e.g. tooling, materials, processes, inspection method, machine, NC program, product manufacturing process, etc.).
• Change to a different media program that can potentially affect fit, form or function

delta first article inspection is required for design change Design change