Blakey Boosts FSDO Consistency

 - January 28, 2008, 6:15 AM

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey chose a speech before the Washington Aero Club to announce a new project designed to bring more consistency among the various FAA regulation and certification offices.

“We want to know from our customers if we are not being consistent,” Blakey told the group. “We’re going to let them know that they have the right to ask for review on any inspector’s decision on any call that’s made in the certification process…that they can ‘buck it up’ to the first-line field office managers, regional division managers or even to Washington if necessary, with no fear of retribution.”

Information on how to do this (names, titles and telephone numbers) will be prominently displayed on the FAA Web site and in all of its regional and field offices. In addition, this customer-service initiative provides written guidance and training to all managers and supervisors in the agency’s regulation and certification offices throughout the country on applying FAA rules and policies in a standard and consistent manner.

“One thing that we’ve heard over and over is that we need to be more consistent with our customers,” said Blakey. “You can get one answer from one FAA office or region and a completely different answer from another.”

The FAA’s regulation and certification office (known as AVR in FAA-speak) oversees the design, production, operation and maintenance of civil aviation products, including aircraft certification and flight standards.

One component of the FAA’s new customer-service initiative is the “AVR Customer Service Review Documentation Tool,” a form that the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) is urging its membership to use. The association said it is “vitally important” for both the customer and the FAA to fill out the questionnaire to ensure that the issues, the relevant regulations and guidance material are clearly set forth.

“Without this tool, the success of the program cannot be assured,” said ARSA. “The documentation of regulations and guidance material, particularly conflicting material, will help eliminate confusion. Once conflicts are clearly identified, steps can be taken to clarify and consolidate the proper interpretation or application of regulations.”

Following Blakey’s announcement, the FAA sent out a “checklist” to help AVR decision-makers ensure that all the pertinent information has been collected, thoroughly reviewed and considered. It defined customers as FAA certificate holders, applicants and the public, and reminded employees they would be accountable for the answers given to those customers.