Transition = change in skills?
Announcement distinguishes ASI from ORA skill set
The Aviation Safety Organization has taken some bold, but required ,changes that will focus the scrutiny of the limited (Congress’ budgets have consistently reduced staff) Aviation Safety Inspector cadre by shifting from on-site surveillance to a proactive, constant assessment of risks, based on data and sophisticated analytics. This challenging transition is summarized in these past posts:
The Aviation Safety Inspectors under the old Compliance Philosophy honed their skills of pouring through mounds of records and marking them against a check list. The method was reasonably proficient at capturing PAST paperwork mistakes, but not at addressing future problems.
The above FAA personnel notice is calling for the new breed of ASI with the necessary data interpretation competence, one would presume. Not so. The announcement calls for two candidates- one operational and the other quantitative.
The description of the ASI job task, “to administer, investigate, and enforce safety regulations and standards for the production, operation, maintenance, and modification of all flying aircraft”, does not emphasize the new set of skills required for the Compliance/SMS regulatory framework. [Curiously, the picture accompanying the announcement uses an image more reflective of the past practices; see the cover graphic.] The announcement, however, includes a link to the Compliance Philosophy.
The detailed qualifications specifications reveal that the ASI must have a strong background in aircraft operations:
Air carrier operations inspectors must have a minimum of 1,500 total flight hours in multi-engine aircraft with takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds. General aviation operations inspectors must meet the same flight hours and experience requirements. All operations inspectors must have pilot experience and required certificates and ratings, such as airline transport and commercial pilot certificates.
The third listed opening, Operations Research Analyst, seems more directed at the new data-centric function –
to provide expert analytical support and to conduct significant analytical studies and projects related to aviation. Operation research analysts also use advanced techniques, data mining, statistical analysis, and mathematical modeling to develop solutions for business processes and to enhance oversight for all commercial operations.
It will be interesting to see how the practical experienced ASI will interface with the quantitative ORAs. Any risk assessment must assign likelihood and severity to each risk being evaluated; how these split perspectives are able to determine risks will have a great impact on the SMS/SRM/SASO program.
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