Change, Change, Change is coming to Flight Standards, for better

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New FAA Flight Standards Alignment

Change, Change, Change
Change, Change, Change
Oh I wish I had the power, the power to change the world
But I’m just one man trying to do it on my own

FAA Flight Standards Revamp Takes Effect in August by Sean Broderick

Change is said to move, perhaps more relevantly to be accepted, at a glacier like rate. Human behavior is programmed by past positive reinforcements and a new approach rips that predictability/reliability from an employee’s guidance system.

Here are a few milestones along to the Flight Standards reorganization explained in Mr. Broderick’s article:

The FAA executives from the Administrator on down have come to realize that SMS is a better way to attain a higher level of safety, that SMS is a more efficient use of the FAA field resources, that aircraft certification can no longer be prescriptive, and that consistent interpretation must be attained on a national basis. All of these changes, every one of them calls for a different set of skills from the individuals in the field and the efficiencies which are inherent in these changes can be best captured by consolidation/reorganization.

faa flight standards alignment

To return to Mr. Broderick’s report of what John Duncan said (though only applicable to Flight Standards, the same guidance is relevant to Certification):

“’I don’t see any magic in moving the [org chart] boxes around,’ said FAA Flight Standards Service director John Duncan. ‘What’s important here is the change in mindset of how we’re doing business.’ The new organization groups operators under a single executive by function, rather than by region. Current plans call for Part 91 and 135 operators and Part 145 organizations to be grouped into a general aviation branch. Three other branches, encompassing air carrier oversight, standards personnel and support staff round out the new structure. Each will be led by an executive who reports to Duncan.

While the branch names might change, Duncan said the goal of streamlining eight ‘relatively independent’ FAA regions will not. The changes will help industry ‘elevate issues that you have, so you get the answers you need, and get consistent responses,’ he concluded.”

faa new alignment

Change is difficult. Some will opt not to transition to a new job or location. That is indeed sad; in some ways, the new job descriptions were tantamount to technological obsolescence. Thirty years ago, GADOs and ACDOs were merged into FSDOs; many feared that that transition would not work, but it did. There will be those who lament this new regimen. Those who embrace the SMS/compliance/consistency/the new Part 23 will succeed, and most importantly, long term aviation safety will be the ultimate beneficiary.


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