Winston Churchill once wisely noted:
The British nation is unique in this respect: they are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst.”
Or as noted British author, Richard Llewellyn put it in his book, How Green was my Valley,
“Bad news has good legs.”
Journalists find it hard to write about good news; nothing sells newspapers like a gruesome murder or corrupt politician. It is even more taxing to write about the absence of bad news.
If one minimizes the cacophony directed at the FAA by drone nation and the vociferous voices complaining about the impact of NextGen flight patterns on neighborhoods, the level of negativity from the press and the DC corps of critics (Congress, the OIG and the quintessential Inside-the-Beltway Institution, Think Tanks) has been at an unusually low level.
- The FAA Reauthorization – that battering ram has moved its target up the Hill to Congress. Chairman Shuster is still trying to pass his transformational privatization provisions; so that will attract much heat.
- It was forecast that the new kinder, gentler policy about variances (formerly known as “violations”) between the FARs and actual airline practices, now called compliance opportunities, might have received resistance from the field. Procedures were established which appear to have circumvented the resistance among the inspectors.
- As a consequence of the SMS safety regime, 2015 qualified as one of the safest in recent history. The absence of accidents is not likely to attract much news
- Crashes have historically generated long strings of stories. It has been almost three years since the last US fatal commercial accident.
- SMS is a preventative process and its methodology seems to meeting its goals.
- A lot of the remedial work of the SMS is done within the 360°review process. That internal effort is not as visible AND most importantly, delivers solutions quickly.
- The management of the largest civilian technology/ infrastructure project, NextGen, is a massive challenge for the FAA. All manner of experts have found fault with their management of the science and engineering and with their acquisition The rate of OIG’s opening of investigations has appeared to decrease from one a week/month to a quarterly occurrence.
- The OIG has targeted other problems like hiring controllers, privatization, ODA and other difficulties which are not as polarizing.
- If the Reauthorization bill is passed and the proscriptive language in the Senate bill about Foreign Repair Stations, Part 23 modernization and older contentious collateral issues are enacted, some of the problems would be eliminated.
- Without any specific proof, it seems as though the flow of NPRMs from the FAA has been a little slower than in the past. That means some of the Congressionally mandated NPRMs are not moving, but fewer proposals translate to less about which to comment.