The global aviation safety community met in New Orleans on June 8, 2010 at the FAA EASA International Safety Meeting. The FAA EASA International Safety Meeting is an opportunity for the government of the world to coordinate their aviation safety regulatory and implementation efforts. FAA Associate Administrator Peggy Gilligan provided an update on US aviation safety activities.
Gilligan explained that the FAA Reauthorization Bill is still under development. The House and Senate have passed their different versions and those pieces of legislation are awaiting reconciliation. Reconciliation will lead to a harmonized vision of the strategic plan for the FAA. The delay in achieving this final legislation, though, has an effect on the entire international aviation community.
Our international aviation community is a network of networks, and we are all inter-reliant. The Icelandic volcano was a good example of how the entire community is affected by a domestic event. When our community recognized a need to work together on the issue, ICAO pulled all of the world’s governments together to work on this issue together. This shows that what happens in one nation can affect all of us together.
Thus, it is particularly important that the world’s governments work together to achieve the goals that will support NextGen. This means developing a proactive approach to safety management and just culture. And this is why the FAA feels that SMS is an important element to develop the ideals that will support effective use of the NextGen system.
Peggy Gilligan also provided a quick update on some of the recent changes in her organization. She explained that Jay Pardee is leading the FAA’s Accident Prevention and Investigation Service, and Tony Fazio is his deputy. This is an expanded role for the traditional accident investigation group, and it is intended to permit them to implement a State Safety Program that examines data to proactively prevents aviation safety hazards in the future. The group is able to eapand its role to include proactive accident prevention because the FAA has been so successful in limiting accidents, and this group’s expertise is well suited to analyzing data to prevent hazards from arising in the future. John Allen (Director of the FAA Flight Standards Service) and John McGraw have been joined by Ray Towles in the leadership of Flight Standards. Ray Towles will take over as Deputy Director for the Field. McGraw continues to be Deputy Director for Policy.