On December 14, 1999, the FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) recommending an extensive rewrite of 14 C.F.R. ï¿½ 11, the regulations governing the publicï¿½s participation in the FAAï¿½s rulemaking process. The FAA issued the rulemaking proposal in response to an executive mandate to make federal communications with the public more understandable. In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to revise and clarify the existing part 11 by removing redundant and outdated regulations and by rewriting the rule using "plain language" principals.
Many AOPA members indicate that the Federal Aviation Regulations are overly complex and difficult to understand. Implementation of plain language concepts into the Federal Aviation Regulations can make the regulations more concise and easier to understand. However, many of the "plain language" provisions of the proposed rule may actually lead to wordy and confusing regulations. Most important, the proposed rule limits the publicï¿½s ability to contact officials within the FAA for further information once an NPRM has been published. Ultimately, this provision may make it difficult, or even impossible, for an individual to gain the information necessary to provide objective comments to the FAAï¿½s rulemaking actions.
The FAA makes several sweeping changes to the language of the current part 11. The most notable of these include:
AOPA supports any effort to make the Federal Aviation Regulations more concise and easier to understand. If carefully and properly implemented, the concept of plain language rulemaking can accomplish that goal. In this particular situation, the majority of the provisions of the proposed rule will lead to clearer and more concise rulemaking actions. However, without careful consideration, many of the proposed changes to part 11 could actually result in a rule thatï¿½s overly complex and difficult to understand.
AOPA is concerned with the FAAï¿½s prohibition of "non-public" contacts during the rulemaking process. Given the FAAï¿½s inability, administratively or financially, to support a public meeting for every request for information or clarification, AOPA implores the FAA and the DOT to reconsider its ex-parte policy and allow "non-public" contacts. Anything short of such action will be a departure from the true spirit and intent of plain language rulemaking and will severely limit the publicï¿½s access to the rulemaking process.
AOPA comments to proposed Part 11 changes, January 28, 2000