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FAA Sends New Compliance Philosophy to FSDOs

November 5, 2015 - FAA Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs) last month received new guidance on how to handle enforcement, emphasizing education and remedial training over punitive action. The policy, written in an FAA order signed by Administrator Michael Huerta, states “the FAA recognizes that some deviations arise from factors such as flawed procedures, simple mistakes, lack of understanding, or diminished skills” and says that it is the intent of the Agency to ensure compliance, not punish these mistakes.

The EAA has been engaged with the FAA throughout the process that led to the issuance of the policy. The Legal Advisory Council, led by Chairman Alan Farkas, continually worked with key FAA staff as the effort progressed, and the policy was the subject of discussion at EAA/FAA meetings over the past three years.

“We are glad to see that the FAA recognizes the objective of enforcement is to ensure compliance with the rules, not to penalize honest mistakes,” said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. “While willful noncompliance will always be met with enforcement action, under this policy similar sanctions for unintentional mistakes will be greatly reduced.”

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