Comparing IPC and ATA Chapters in Aviation: Understanding the Differences

Posted on May 18, 2023 linda strong aviation

The Illustrated Parts Catalog (IPC) and Air Transport Association (ATA) Chapters are classification systems that are widely used in the aviation industry, serving to organize various parts and components that are used on aircraft. Despite each system serving a similar role in providing reference documentation and organizational structures for the industry, the way in which they classify parts and are used differ. Below, we will provide a brief overview of the Illustrated Parts Catalog and Air Transportation Association Chapter system, allowing you to have a better understanding of each.

Illustrated Parts Catalog (IPC)

The IPC is a detailed reference document that provides information about the parts and assemblies present on a specific aircraft. An Illustrated Parts Catalog (IPC) is created by the manufacturer of an aircraft model and is supplemental to the Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM). The IPC typically includes a comprehensive collection of part numbers, descriptions, and illustrations of various components, covering every single article that is installed. The IPC acts as a reference for maintenance personnel, engineers, and technicians when it comes to identifying, ordering, and replacing parts in and on an aircraft. Meanwhile, the AMM is referred to for the actual removal and installation of parts.

An IPC will be organized in a hierarchical structure that breaks an aircraft down into systems, subsystems, and individual components. Each part is also listed alongside its unique part number for easy identification and ordering. The IPC further provides information on the interrelationship of parts and assemblies within the aircraft, allowing maintenance personnel to understand how different components work together.

Air Transport Association (ATA) Chapters

ATA Chapters, on the other hand, refer to a standardized numbering system developed by the Air Transport Association, now called Airlines for America, for organizing technical information in the aviation industry. While the original 100 chapter system has since been superseded, ATA Chapters still serve as a great system that categorizes and groups specific systems and components of aircraft based on their relation and use. Each ATA Chapter covers a wide range of topics and systems within an aircraft, such as airframe structures, electrical systems, fuel systems, landing gear, avionics, and more. By referencing ATA Chapters, one can minimize costs and effort, enhance information quality, and facilitate data delivery to meet operational needs.

While the IPC provides detailed information about individual parts and assemblies on a specific aircraft, ATA Chapters provide a broader organizational framework for classifying and accessing technical information related to the different systems and components of an aircraft. What this means is that ATA Chapters are more universal, where one chapter will be applicable to all aircraft models instead of just one. With this difference, ATA chapters should not be referred to when one wishes to find specific details on a particular article that pertains to a single model.


Aviation Sourcing Solutions is a leading supplier of aircraft parts, and we have organized catalogs that follow IPC and ATA Chapters standards for your benefit. With our dedication to quality control and export compliance, we proudly carry out business with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation. Take the time to peruse our expansive catalog as you see fit, and you may always use our online RFQ service to request quotes on any items of interest that you come across. Within 15 minutes of receiving and reviewing a completed form, a member of our staff will contact you to present a tailored solution for your comparisons.

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