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FAA Realigns Flight Standards for Consistency, Agility

Sept. 13, 2017

The FAA recently began a service-oriented effort to change the culture of its Flight Standards organization. The initiative, named the Future of Flight Standards, aims to facilitate critical thinking, interdependence and consistency to better serve aviation safety.

“Part 91 operators have increasingly more contact with local inspectors for a number of reasons, including requesting letters of authorization and other operational requests,” said Doug Carr, NBAA’s vice president of regulatory and international affairs. “We hope the FAA’s reorganization of the Flight Standards organization will address industry challenges, such as siloed and inconsistent interpretations of regulations and policies, and result in more consistent outcomes for operators across the country.”

The FAA hopes to eliminate redundancies and promote efficiency and consistency by eliminating eight regional Flight Standards offices, instead creating four functional organizations:

  • Air Carrier Safety Assurance
  • General Aviation Safety Assurance
  • Safety Standards
  • Foundational Business

Now, local Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs) will receive direction from these four specialized functional offices, rather than the previous model in which geographic regional offices guided FSDOs on a wide range of topics.

The Future of Flight Standards initiative began in August, and the FAA has advised operators that the transition will impact documents, media and publications, though all existing FAA policies will remain valid. Documents that refer to “legacy” offices or organizations will be cross-referenced on the Flight Standards Information System.

Overall, the FAA hopes the reorganization will enable faster, more streamlined responses to operator requests, which in turn will create efficiencies for both the agency and the aviation community.

“Operators need to be aware of these structural changes.” said Carr. “While this reorganization will take time to fully implement, we do not expect any significant changes to the relationships between operators and FSDOs. Operators should contact NBAA if they experience any unusual delays in receiving authorizations, acceptances or approvals from the FAA.”

Learn more about the FAA Flight Standards Service.