Frustrated by the FAA’s slow progress on congressional directives to improve its certification processes and oversight consistency, industry leaders are urging Congress to readdress those issues in the next reauthorization bill. Duncan Aviation president and CEO Aaron Hilkemann testified before the House Transportation &Infrastructure (T&I) Committee today, saying that the FAA’s lack of progress is harming businesses.
For example, it took Duncan two years to resolve a “reinterpretation” of FAA’s position on mobile maintenance units, said Hilkemann, who is vice chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Regulations “were clearly intended to support this type of operation,” he added, but recent orders provided inconsistent messages to FAA field personnel.
Further, inspectors often are reluctant to discuss differing or new regulatory interpretations, leaving a lack of clarity, he said. Sometimes FAA inspectors will issue a letter of investigation or levy fines before organizations can discuss the issue with their local or regional offices. “This puts industry in an untenable position,” he said, because then it becomes a legal action cutting off the possibility of working together.
He also noted industry struggles with redundant inspections. These inspections, many by foreign agencies, should be better coordinated, he said. “Simply stated, the current system is not efficient.”