NATA-FAA exercise on Conformity Inspection should result in most interesting Aviation Safety Lessons

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NEWSLETTER: Maintenance Committee Tackles Conformity Inspection Inconsistency

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The FAA has an enormous jurisdiction, probably the largest fleet of civil aircraft distributed among the 59 states and located around the globe. In spite of many FAA proclamations, made in enforcement cases, that the FARs and all of the associated ACs, ADs, manuals, handbooks and other guidance can be read to provide a single, almost infallible, interpretation, there is great variance within the FAA folks in the field, regions and headquarters. In recognition of this pattern of multiple views, the FAA established an office, a task force and a program.

There may be no more varied field of application of the FARs to real world situations than Conformity Inspections. The above-linked Newsletter announces a joint project with the FAA to assess the current state of the art field check lists, underlying policy and practices. Such a focused review is most likely to be an incredibly useful study.

At the end, the obvious work product will be greater standardization of the Conformity Inspection, but there may be broader lessons. It is quite possible that this exercise will provide insights about the FAA’s capacity to read one sentence or paragraph with widely divergent meanings or even disagreements about what sections, guidance or handbook is the right source of information.

The results portend to be fascinating.

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