The Statutes are Clear Where the Exclusive Airworthiness Authority Resides; the Administration Appears Confused

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ARTICLE: LaHood: Boeing’s 787 fix a good plan

040813aThis article repeats a theme that someone is confused.

There is a statute, 49 USC § 44704 (a) (1) that clearly states:

The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall issue a type certificate for an aircraft… when the Administrator finds that the aircraft… is properly designed and manufactured, performs properly, and meets the regulations and minimum standards…

The Administrator shall make, or require the applicant to make tests the Administrator considers necessary in the interest of safety…

In this statutory sentence, the subject of the verb is THE ADMINISTRATOR, that is the head of the FAA is the person to determine airworthiness.

Another part of Congress’ definition of the powers within the Department of Transportation, 49 USC § 106 (f) (2)(D) states, again quite clearly:

Authority of the administrator. The Administrator

shall not be required to coordinate, submit for approval or concurrence, or seek the advice or views of the Secretary or any other officer or employee of the Department of Transportation on any matter with respect to which the Administrator is the final authority.

Why do all of the press releases about the airworthiness of the B-787 begin with a quote from Secretary LaHood and then include a statement from Administrator Huerta? The clear inference of these pronouncements is that the Secretary is making the judgments and the Administrator is merely implementing them. The Congress legislated that the Administrator need not even submit for approval decisions made under § 44704 (a) (1). He should be making the determinations in the first line of these actions.

Also, the NTSB’s statute does not confer § 44704 (a)(1) on that Board either.

Someone is confused about where the exclusive authority resides!

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