FAA rolls out new designee program with big changes

 - October 17, 2006, 10:36 AM

The FAA on November 14 will implement its organization delegation authorization (ODA) program, which will replace the current designee program. The new ODA program, proposed in January last year, expands the functions that designees may perform, permits non-FAA-certified individuals and organizations to become designees and eliminates the existing designee categories.

Under the far-reaching changes, current designated airworthiness inspectors, maintenance inspectors, engineers and other designees have until Nov. 14, 2009, to transition their credentials to qualify for the new designation. The ODA program covers designees certified under Parts 21, 121, 135 and 183 (representatives of the FAA).

Nearly 40 organizations and individuals submitted comments after the FAA published the proposal. Eleven, including the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Gulfstream Aerospace, the Aerospace Industries Association and International Aero Engines, expressed general support for the rule. Fourteen commenters–including United Airlines, the Professional Airways Systems Specialists and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association–opposed the rule in general.

GAMA was the first general aviation organization to issue a statement after the final rule was adopted last month. The organization applauded the FAA’s action, saying the ODA program is a “win-win situation for both the FAA and industry.” Said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce, “The ODA program increases the number of manufacturers eligible for organizational designees and expands the scope of approved tasks that organizational designees can perform.

“This improves the efficiency of the certification process by establishing a more comprehensive, systems-based approach for FAA safety oversight of experienced manufacturers with demonstrated competence in detailed part-by-part compliance with regulatory standards. Finalization of the rule allows the FAA to concentrate its resources on the most safety-critical areas and the application of new technologies.”

Bunce added, “This rule is being enacted at an ideal time. Increased efficiencies in the certification process ensure that FAA services will be available to bring newer and safer aviation products to the market in a more timely and cost-effective fashion, thereby maintaining the positive momentum of our industry’s recovery and future growth.”

The FAA said, “this program will increase the efficiency with which the FAA appoints and oversees designee organizations and allow the FAA to concentrate its resources on the most safety-critical matters.”