Avionics News May 2012 - 15
offices. Before we look at Aviation Safety, let’s take a look at the other three lines of business. The following is from the FAA’s website: “The Airports organization provides leadership in planning and developing a safe and efficient national airport system. The office has responsibility for all programs related to airport safety and inspections and standards for airport design, construction and operation (including international harmonization of airport standards). Each year, the office awards $3.5 billion in airport grants and approves passenger facility charge collections totaling $2 billion. The office also is responsible for national airport planning and environmental and social requirements and establishes policies related to airport rates and charges, compliance with grant assurances and airport privatization. The primary service of the Air Traffic Organization is to move air traffic safely and efficiently. Our stakeholders are commercial and private aviation and the military. Our employees are the service providers — the 35,000 controllers, technicians, engineers and support personnel whose daily efforts keep aircraft moving safely through the nation’s skies. With more than 7,000 takeoffs and landings per hour, and more than 660 million passengers and 37 billion cargo revenue-ton-miles of freight a
year, the men and women of the Air Traffic Organization safely guide approximately 50,000 flights through the national airspace system every day. The mission of the Office of Commercial Space Transportation is to ensure protection of the public, property and the national security and foreign policy interests of the U.S. during commercial launch or re-entry activities, and to encourage, facilitate and promote U.S. commercial space transportation.”
and others in safety-related positions. Aviation Safety also is responsible for the certification of all operational and maintenance enterprises in domestic civil aviation; the certification and safety oversight of approximately 7,300 U.S. commercial airlines and air operators; civil flight operations and developing regulations. AVS represents roughly 15 percent of the FAA workforce, and the 7,200 staffers are split between Flight Standards and Aircraft Certification. AVS oversees 1.3 million certificated indi-
The FAA is, by all accounts, simply a juggernaut with broad responsibilities, which drives it in every direction imaginable, often by illogical national politics rather than scientific results of safety analysis.
These three business lines account for approximately 75 percent of the FAA staffing. While there is a direct connection between the goals of the ATO and the avionics mandates we see from time to time, such as the future NextGen mandates, AEA members have little direct contact with these offices. Nearly all of our direct contact with the FAA is with the Aviation Safety offices. Aviation Safety is an organization responsible for the certification, production approval and continued airworthiness of aircraft; and certification of pilots, mechanics viduals, 4,000 repair stations, 7,000 commercial operators and thousands of product production authorizations – staggering numbers. I think this puts our challenges for field approvals into perspective; we are competing with more than 1.3 million other individual “customers” and thousands of business customers. Of the more than 7,000 employees, 16 percent (1,295) work for Aircraft Certification. This limited workforce processed 1,194 type certificates/ supplemental type certificates, 3,054
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