Director's Viewpoint

April 16, 2009
FAASTeam Update

The FAASTeam (FAA Safety Team) has been established to improve the nation’s aviation safety record by conveying safety principles and practices through training, outreach, and education. At the same time, FAASTeam managers and program managers will establish meaningful aviation industry alliances and encourage continual growth of a positive safety culture within the aviation community.

Formed just three years ago, the team now consists of 130 FAA employees and more than 3,000 industry volunteers. FAASTeam managers are assigned to each of the eight flight standards regions with five of these managers having assistant managers. Various “leaders” assigned to work within different groups lead the industry group. Additionally there are industry groups and associations that have members volunteering work to the FAASTeam. Highlighting the importance of this effort, FAASTeam leadership at the FAA reports directly to AFS-1.

FAASTeam manager Kevin Clover oversees the flight initiatives. Phil Randall assists Clover, managing all maintenance programs. Randall says that compiled data reveals that the primary cause of maintenance-related accidents and incidents has been a failure to follow procedures. This is true in the United States and throughout the world. Finding out what has been done to reduce or eliminate this threat to safety has been a primary effort of the FAASTeam.

FAASTeam members regularly meet with industry and, where requested, provide funding and when time is available, do safety culture evaluations for various operators and repair stations. This is in concert with the FAA SMS (safety management systems) initiative that is being formed here and abroad.

Due to political pressures from various lobbying groups in the Congress, there has been an emphasis on studying the safety culture associated with organizations that outsource maintenance, especially overseas. FAASTeam emphasis has been the safety cultures at repair stations, but beginning fiscal year 2010, that emphasis will shift to general aviation where the majority of maintenance-related accidents occur. The importance of toolbox inventory will also be revisited.

In June there will be a FAASTeam leaders meeting in Lakeland, FL, and an international meeting involving worldwide regulatory agencies sometime in the summer. The purpose of these meetings will be to assess the progress made to date, a reallocation of resources and implementation plans for those resources. Planned soon for the maintenance sphere are presentations and tools to assist maintenance organizations in doing self safety culture evaluations.

For more information on the FAASTeam maintenance efforts, or to offer maintenance-related ideas or anecdotal information, contact Phil Randall directly at [email protected].