The FAA is working with industry to expand its designee system and take a more risk-based approach to certification, Dorenda Baker, director of FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service, told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on January 21.
In 2012, Congress directed the agency to improve its certification processes and oversight consistency. Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner said the FAA has taken steps forward, but Boeing is still spending “an inordinate amount of time on things like seat certification.” Conner said the agency needs to increase its organization designation authorization (ODA), inspector training and harmonization of certification standards.
Baker acknowledged progress has been uneven, saying some companies would give the agency an A, others an F, and likely a C overall. But she added that the agency is working with industry to develop an ODA scorecard.
Duncan Aviation president and CEO Aaron Hilkemann noted the ODA system works well, but oversight needs better coordination. Duncan is continually audited by private companies, the FAA and international authorities, he said. As for improving consistency, Hilkemann endorsed the congressional recommendations for a regulatory database and Regulatory Consistency Communications Board, saying they could alleviate many issues. The FAAis acting on the recommendations, Baker said, but the database is still several years away.