The FAA tries to expand the consequences of being an Accountable Manager to include Criminal Liability

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ARTICLE: FAA and Repair Stations: Watch Out Accountable Managers!


You agreed to be listed as the Accountable Manager on your Part 145 certificate; someone had to be named there to respond to the FAA. You are the Director of Quality Control, the VP of Engineering, the Chief Operating Officer or some other position. Your span of authority may extend to some of the functions of your facility, but the notion that you know what is going on everywhere all of the time or more importantly that you could stop or change a practice, procedure or single isolated incident is absurd. Everyone within your company knows that.

But according to the legal argument explained in the linked article, the FAA is taking the position that you are responsible for everything associated within the authority of your part 145 operations. The legal term of art is “Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine” and as explained by this lawyer, the FAA may use it to attach criminal legal liability to your actions or, more accurately inactions.

Planely Spoken recites the threat, but does not advise you how to avoid this risk. That’s complicated and the actual specific prophylactic measures, which should be established, depend on the details of your operations. Probably best to talk to your regulatory counsel about a specific plan.

A collateral means of being prepared for this potential would be to get to know what the FAA expects of your Part 145 facility, what the FAA can/cannot do and what you might do to manage the FAA. The subject matter is called Regulatory Affairs and here is one source for such knowledge .It will not preclude the assertion of the Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine, but it will add to the tools which you have to protect your certificate and the Accountable Manager.

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