With another Fiscal Cliff on the Horizon, Aviation Safety Professionals should express their Expert Views on how the FAA might Perform More Effectively

by Joe Del Balzo on January 8, 2013

ARTICLE: The effects of political wrangling on LSA

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Sadly, the Fiscal Cliff has not been avoided, just delayed. Dan Johnson, in the attached piece, explains how this irrational reduction of government would impact the FAA’s auditing of LSA aircraft. The paper makes a strong, valid point on a micro economic basis. By making an across-the-board, mathematical, non-judgmental cut in programs, which Sequestration will compel, absurd results MUST occur. Fine policy decisions cannot/will not be made by such broad slashes of the budget.

Sequestration has been discussed here more than once. There is little doubt that every government agency has some program or programs which would not fail some assessment of relative worth. Vice President Gore was charged with the task of making such analyses of departments and agencies. That concerted 8 year effort produced no dramatic results. The Vice President brought together a big staff and produced many pages of activity, but very little real action. Clearly the lesson of the Gore National Partnership for Reinventing Government was that tough decisions, even by an able executive task force charged TO REDUCE/REORGANIZE government, will be not be made in order to avoid the political fallout from such controversial decisions.

A smaller assignment was given to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, also chaired by Vice President Gore. This group, composed of major, outside expert heavyweights, was told to determine what would strengthen the FAA and its ability to meet its safety mission. Again, few of that Commission’s recommendations on how the FAA might do its work better have been implemented.

The Fiscal Cliff’s goal of reducing government involves more than the FAA, but those of us involved in aviation have the knowledge of what is necessary, what is helpful and what may not be required as to the governmental body with which we deal. If not aviation professionals do not make such judgments known, then Hill staffers and/or OMB policy wonks or??? will decide how to cut the FAA’s budget.

Our collective experience can also provide insight into what might be done better within the FAA. Now is the time for every aviation safety professional to voice her or his opinion on the above questions. The Office of the Inspector General, for example, has initiated a review of the productivity of the ATC organization, a subject which would appear to follow its review of the contract tower program. THIS AND OTHER FORUMS SHOULD BE FILLED WITH THE EXPERT ADVICE ABOUT WHERE AND HOW APPROPRIATE ADJUSTMENTS IN THE FAA’S BUDGETS, PROGRAMS AND BUSINESS PRACTICES. Tough decisions have to be made; major changes in how the FAA does its business are required. The best source of information about where and what changes should be made is among those of us who labor in this industry; we should be heard now.

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