Key SMS form does not have OMB paperwork OK
Data Collection Tool
Certificate holders likely to voluntarily Submit
Marshall S. Filler, Managing Director & General Counsel of Aeronautical Repair Station Association, wrote a three page letter addressed to Ali Bahrami, Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety and Charles M. Trippe, Jr., Esq. Chief Counsel. This is not your average ordinary ARSA letter to the FAA; it is potentially a blockbuster which potentially could put the SMS mechanism on hold.
The watchful eyes of the repair station staff noticed that Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS) requires that applicants for air carrier certificates and for Part 145 authority must to complete the data collection tools (DCTs) associated with the agency’s Safety Assurance System (SAS).Before and after SMS, the FAA loves documentation and the DCT represents a series of forms which align the certificate holder SMS system with the FAA SAS. Here is a copy of one header drawn from hundreds of them. To say that these electric forms are essential to the
FAA’s De rigueur safety system would be a gross understatement.
So, what is ARSA’s paperwork GOTCHA? Mr. Fuller cited the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. § 3507(a), which requires that the FAA must obtain OMB permission to collect, under a requirement, information. FSIMS, even a non-lawyer can tell, is addressed to the FAA Field Organization, not the certificate holders. However, as the ARSA Managing Director and General Counsel points out, the DCT is a requirement for all certificate holders to receive or maintain their authority. It would appear that the PRA applies.
Marshall acknowledges the impact of his request to suspend the DCT requirement:
“We recognize that the agency has instituted the SAS to implement a risk-based approach to its safety oversight responsibilities. We also appreciate the fact that those efforts were directed not only by the FAA’s desire to “do more with less” but by legislation and in response to various audits and findings by the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office. However, those pressures do not relieve the agency of its obligations under other laws passed by Congress; particularly those that reduce the burdens on small businesses. While “major” air carriers are not small enterprises, many part 135 operators and the majority of 145 certificate holders do fall into that category.”
- Many, most certificate holders will VOLUNTARILY fill out the DCTs because SMS/SAS has produces significant reduction of risks. Incumbents already have created the systems and hired the staff to implement SMS.
- Applicants, who may see the DCT to be a burden, likely will recognize that the absence of voluntary submission will likely result in the FAA staff dedicated to their application going slower. Systems and staff are, in the long term, going to be required.
- Given the success of SMS/SAS and even the claim that the 2017 safety record could be attributed to the White House, the OMB Director will quickly find that the DCT is justified.
The ARSA complaint hit a raw nerve within the FAA, but after OMB approves the DCT, the eight FAA senior staffers, who were copied, will remember the source of this pain for a while.
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