Regulatory agencies have a peculiar character. They are similar in that they are part of the same system of bureaucrazy. They each have a “cultural personality” which is unique. Just like people and corporate entities they tend to do the same things the same way.

Over and over and over.

They will also tend to cope with circumstances and change in the same manner as in the past without regard as to whether the method was effective.

Our FAA is no exception. Generally, everybody wants the seas to be smooth, the tide to be high and the moon to be full. Full moon, high tide and smooth water make for good sailing and good press. Invariably though, about every seven years some jackass will make a wave and the entire agency will convulse.

The convulsions are usually the result of an airline disaster and go like this:

1 Something horrible and predictable happens

2 Everybody says “How could this happen?”

3 Congress says HARUMPH!

4 The FAA requires a new procedure or piece of equipment, or both.

Last time it was the 911 disaster that set it all off.  The FAA should have prevented it. Plain and simple. There was such a Hurrumph over that one that an entire new Department Of Guberment was formed out of thin air and bad suits.

Before that was the tragic Value Jet crash. This resulted in thousands of pointless cockpit “ride along” FAA observation rides. A lot of farting about and the installation of cargo compartment fire detection and suppression technology that had been available since 1959.

The FAA only moves in response to the “normal” stimulus of an airline crash.  Anything that appears to be movement any other time should be classified as farting about.

The latest news media aviation nonsense is all about airline inspections. The numnuts congressman from some cold place said harumph because Southwest had “self disclosed” some documentation errors and might have overlooked some of the thousands of  fatigue crack inspections that are required.

They screwed up. They admitted it. They  parked several airplanes for a few days but they have a bunch more and seem to be doing just fine.

Now the entire industry is having to put up with hundreds of  “inspectors” that usually don’t inspect anything so they might not be very good at it, rooting around bothering our valued co-workers when they should be fixing the very problem the FAA is there to inspect.

American has suffered hundreds of cancellations for this same reason the last few days. The other carriers will have thier turn soon.

Don’t worry much about the whole inspection thing.  All of the airlines do a dang good job of keeping the airplanes airworthy. Whenever there is a problem that is caused by a failure or malfunction it is very rarely something that an inspection of any sort would have revealed anyway.  This is largely a record keeping issue.

The following guideline for FAA oversight may help.

 1. Has there been a disaster?   Yes, No

2. If no, is it an election year?   Yes, No

3. If yes then yell  HARUMHP!

4. Fart around and act busy, have a press conference, you might a better gig in the new administration.

Happy Landings


2 Responses to “FAA RAMPAGE”

  1. I love a good flowchart.

    This photo is awesome. It’s like an abstract painting… the feeling of being on the verge of something really wonderful.

  2. Or the dragon is just about to burn its way through the wall…

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