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New FAA Review Board Offers Clarity on Inconsistent Interpretations of Regulations

March 29, 2017

Business aviation operators have a new recourse when faced with conflicting or inconsistent FAA interpretations of regulations by the Flight Standards Service (AFS) or Aircraft Certification Service (AIR).

On March 9, the FAA established the Regulatory Consistency Communication Board (RCCB) to provide guidance to internal and external stakeholders by clarifying inconsistencies related to the application of regulations.

“We commend the FAA on the formation of the RCCB, which will be a welcome mechanism to help standardize agency responses and interpretations to regulations, particularly those coming from Flight Standards District Offices,” said David Norton, an aviation attorney and member of NBAA’s Domestic Operations Committee. Norton, who also served as the industry co-chair of the RVSM Process Enhancement Team, said that NBAA members will benefit from the RCCB, which operates under clear and comprehensive guidelines and under specific timelines.

“Operators have frequently expressed frustration with inconsistent or conflicting interpretations regarding application of FAA regulations by different FSDOs, or sometimes even by different staff at the same FSDO,” said Norton. “By properly utilizing the new tool that the RCCB provides, NBAA members can seek clarification – anonymously, if they choose – and get answers by raising the issue with the RCCB.”

Even though the formation of the RCCB was required by the Consistency of Regulatory Interpretation Aviation Rulemaking Committee ARC, Norton noted that with implementation of the board, the FAA appears to have implemented a clear and thorough process for reviewing issues brought before it.

“Issues brought to the RCCB must involve regulations and policies overseen by AFS or AIR and include an inconsistency in how regulatory requirements are described or applied,” according to the order establishing the RCCB. “The RCCB will focus on addressing inconsistencies within or between these services that require input from more than one policy division, service, line of business or international civil aviation authority.”

Brian Koester, NBAA manager, operations, said that cases already brought to the RCCB during a test phase include decisions on revision dates for aircraft maintenance manuals and a question on type certificate data sheets.

Learn more about the RCCB.