The FAA continues to move closer to an industry-supported strategy of taking a more risk-based approach to compliance and certification issues for general aviation.
In an Oct. 6 speech, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said the agency is adopting a new compliance philosophy designed to help identify and correct potential hazards before they result in an incident or accident.
“The FAA wants safe operators, not operators who inadvertently make a mistake and then hide it because they’re afraid they will be punished,” the agency said in a news release following the speech.
“We are pleased to see the FAA continuing to move toward an increasingly risk-based strategy in its approach to both compliance and regulations,” said David Oord, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. “AOPA has long supported this approach, and we are grateful to Administrator Huerta; John Duncan, the FAA’s director of flight standards; and others who have worked with industry to bring about these changes. We believe that better understanding the real-world issues operators face and preventing problems is the most efficient path to continuing to improve GA safety.”
The FAA’s new compliance philosophy focuses on avoiding penalizing operators for inadvertent violations, and instead using the cases to gather data that can help predict and prevent future problems. In announcing the new philosophy, the FAA said it recognizes that most operators comply with the rules and use safety management systems to identify hazards and mitigate risks.
The goal of the changes is to encourage open and honest communication and information exchange between industry and the FAA. A similar approach has been used in commercial aviation for more than a decade, and the FAA claims that system has helped reduce risk in U.S. commercial aviation by 83 percent in the past 10 years.
While the new approach means the FAA is reducing its emphasis on enforcement for inadvertent violations, the agency said it remains committed to vigorous enforcement of violations involving intentionally reckless behavior, falsification, and repeat failures.