Entrepreneur and Regulator: need for an internal advocate to facilitate aviation innovation?

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Entrepreneurs and Regulators are not on same page

Safety Rules challenge their pace and process

Might an Internal Entrepreneurial Advocate help?



Tesla Was Kicked Off Fatal Crash Probe by NTSB



“NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt relayed the decision in a call to Tesla’s Elon Musk that was described as tense by the person 
because the chief executive officer was unhappy with the safety board’s action.”

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And there will be more

As with the Sumwalt-Musk conversation, the entrepreneur and the regulator speak in different languages:

  • The innovative business person accepts risk and is driven to push it to the edge. They thrive in the gray, unexplored ranges of a new venture. Quick decision-making is critical to success. Spending a lot of time documenting what they have done is an anathema to their need for swift progress.


  • The regulator’s job is to protect the public from unsafe operations. To accomplish their mission, there must be clear, black-and-white rules, absolutes. They depend on a culture of compliance; expecting that the regulated will share their creed that regulations matter. Records are a primary means for the regulator to assure that the business is following policies, practices and standards.


These perspectives do not have much common ground. Their pace of business and their basic daily business pattern are not very compatible.

The good news is that UASs/drones, new business concepts, SSTs, flying cars, hypersonic engines and a list of new technology only limited by imagination are stimulating aviation. The bad news is that regulation is not designed to assist these innovations. Some libertarian critics argue that the governmental strictures should be unbound so that new ventures can prosper. They are of the opinion that safety oversight SHOULD be diminished in the face of these job-creating, economy-stimulating endeavors prosper.

Others disagree and assert that the public needs to be protected. The outrage, which followed the Tesla Model X fatal crash in March, does not have the same priorities as the Libertarians. There has been some vilification of the “callous” entrepreneur.

That review of the clash between the regulator and the entrepreneur evoked a memory of the Wright Brother. There was no FAA then and history has found them to be sympathetic entrepreneurs.

Following that positive image, the idea that the regulator should include within its resources a group of people who know the requirements of the FAA but have a facility to help the innovator deal with the complex rule. The SBA was established to advocate for the little entities dealing with big government. Maybe the FAA should have an Entrepreneurial Advocate. In response to the UAS surge, two, high profile positions to help that nascent industry and avocation deal with the FAA.


Might it make sense to establish that mission to include all new ventures coming to the FAA for authority?














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