General Aviation Manufacturers Association president and CEO Pete Bunce expressed skepticism that a “broken” FAA could adequately manage an increasing workload imposed by advanced air mobility. Speaking at the Vertical Aviation Safety Team Conference on Thursday, he noted that 40 percent of FAA regulators have less than three years’ job experience and many are still working from home due to the overhang from Covid restrictions.
“If they can't work together and learn from each other by being in the same offices together, how are they ever going to regulate our industry properly?” Bunce asked. “Those of you that have tried to register aircraft out there, the registry is broken. It's taking nine months to a year to register an aircraft. That should be a push of a button, and there's no excuse for that. And it's because they're working from home and there's no accountability out there for the workforce.”
Bunce called for the implementation of workplace, personnel, and procurement reforms at the agency that were passed in the 1990s but never implemented. “So we are going to really try to emphasize how broken things are and it's not because the FAA has poor leadership. I think we've got very good leadership in the FAA, but we have not given tools to the FAA leadership to be able to properly lead and manage the organization.”
By way of example, Bunce said, “Recently I found out that they [the FAA] are having a hard time getting good people to take managerial positions because if they go and become managers, they will make less [money] than the people that they will manage because they're up against bonus and salary caps right now. That's a broken system when you can't get good people to lead. We've got to fix this as a country or aerospace is going to start falling behind. And make no doubt about it, there is a competition between Europe and the U.S. right now, especially in this area of advanced air mobility.”