Avionics News February 2013 - 64
THE VIEW FROM WASHINGTON
AEAVIATORS: JERRY KNIGHT
regarding a similar situation where an owner had installed a
safety-enhancing, life-saving carbon monoxide monitor. During a pre-buy, the buyer’s consultant mechanic questioned the
pedigree of the CO monitor and rejected the article because
of a lack of explicit FAA approval of the part – no TSOA or
PMA. Pedigree was not and is not required for any article
where the regulations do not explicitly require the part to be
approved. The A&P was supported by the misrepresentation
of the regulations by the local FAA District Office, as well.
Unfortunately, the FAA employee was misrepresenting the
regulations as they were advising the mechanic.
Now this isn’t a personal attack of any A&P. But it does highlight a growing problem where the individuals are being guided by unofficial and unsupported comments and then demand
compliance to nonregulatory requirements. In some cases, this
issue isn’t even the local inspector but rather the management;
the inspector is simply the messenger of bad guidance.
So the new normal means:
highly recommend you learn to fly an airplane. It’s something you just don’t get every day. It’s an education in itself.
Continued from page 15
1. We have to be better educated with the regulations. It is
critical that we are able to cite the regulations that we are
performing to and why our work is regulatory compliant.
2. We need to audit our processes and products to make
sure what we do, and how we do it, are in compliance.
3. Borrowing a phrase from the movie “Jerry Maguire”
– show me the regulations. Once sure that what we are
doing is regulatory correct, if you want to challenge
us, show us the regulation that supports the position
that we are wrong. As a note of caution, “my inspector said” is not a regulatory cite. There is no requirement for your inspector to pass a test on FAA regulations, and the inspectors are not inherently an expert
on the regulations. Many are, but many more are not.
Unfortunately, our industry is in a battle between technical
competence and regulatory compliance. For many years, being technically competent and marginally regulatory literate
was good enough. But today, the agency’s oversight of the
industry is more focused on regulatory compliance and leaves
technical competence as a consumer issue. This probably is
the correct approach. But there is no free lunch. We must devote time to learning and understanding the regulations, and
we must be willing and able to challenge our challengers.
If you challenge what I am doing, show me the regulations. q
Continued from page 49
How does being a pilot impact your job?
It gave me the insight to know what we needed as a
manufacturer. It gave me a better insight for what the
customer was wanting; what I wanted. We would have
meetings with the pilots to talk about what we needed,
and what we needed to do to make our products safer.
I would take the experience and knowledge as a pilot
to the president so he could give it to research and
development and engineering to see what they could
create to make something easier and safer for the pilot.
I couldn’t imagine going through an aviation career and
not being pilot in command. You can hear about it and
talk about it, but doing it is something else. I wouldn’t
trade it for anything. With Aerosonic, I used airplanes to
call on accounts. I would deliver the parts to my customers the same day by just flying there. There is so much
you can do flying yourself that you can’t do with a car or
I used to fly to the AEA International Convention. I
would put the booth in the back of the aircraft and fly to
the show. I would fly to many trade shows. I would have
pilots come up and ask me questions that I could answer because I had the experience. We could exchange
experiences. I found it much better to have a pilot in
sales and marketing. Pilots would tell me a problem and
I’d say, “You’re kidding, that needs to be fixed.”
What are your current ratings?
Private, Single Engine: Instrument.
As a pilot, what are your thoughts on new technology?
It’s amazing where we have come with technology. I was
flying all VORs, zigzagging across the U.S. Now you can just
go direct. You can make instrument approaches anywhere. I
could only make them at specific places.
The technology is amazing. And the touchscreen; I’ve
never flown it, but I can’t imagine a touchscreen in heavy
turbulence. I had trouble reaching for the knobs. Your
hands are all over the place. q
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