FAA allows more aerospace self-regulation

Sept. 2, 2008 at 2:33 PM
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EVERETT, Wash., Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Aerospace firms in Washington and elsewhere are increasingly taking over their own regulation, say industry experts.

Supporters say new Federal Aviation Administration rules will allow the FAA to concentrate on more serious safety issues, while detractors say it is a dangerous cost-cutting compromise, The Seattle Times reported Tuesday.

Nine companies nationwide, including Northwest Airlines and Gulfstream, have been allowed to self-certify portions of production to date. Other large aerospace firms, including Boeing, will switch to the new approach -- called Organization Designation Authorization -- next year.

Scott Peterson, director of regulatory and quality-systems oversight at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, says it will free the FAA from day-to-day minutiae so it can "put more focus on the key safety factors."

The result, he said, is, "We're not bogging down the FAA. ... It's a win/win."

But former National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall criticized the new FAA approach.

"The federal government, because of shrinking resources, is turning over key parts of transportation-safety oversight" to private industry, Hall said in an interview with the Times. "History tells us this could be a very dangerous path."

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