Avionics News March 2018 - 48

industry

Latest buzz or
effective method
of oversight?

COMPLIANCE
PHILOSOPHY
I
S T O R Y

B Y

L I N D S E Y

n recent years, the Federal Aviation Administration
introduced "Compliance Philosophy," a method of
managing instances of noncompliance with regulations
without immediately pursuing an investigation and resulting
enforcement action. Compliance Philosophy, according to the
agency, was born out of an effort to embrace "just culture,"
which requires consideration be given to noncompliance as a
result of honest errors. In the context of a safety management
system, just culture creates a nonpunitive environment in
which true mistakes are not penalized, while willful actions or
negligence may be penalized.
Compliance Philosophy goes a step further than just
culture in that it applies even in instances of noncompliance
resulting from flawed procedures, lack of understanding, or
diminished skills. The FAA has typically held certificated
entities to a "knew or should have known" standard; that is, if
a certificated entity knew or should have known the applicable
regulations and was noncompliant with those regulations,
an investigation and enforcement action was appropriate.
Although Compliance Philosophy may apply to a scenario in
which the certificated entity should have known the regulation
in question, the initiative would not apply in an instance
where the certificated entity is knowingly and willingly
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march

2018

M C F A R R E N

noncompliant. An investigation and enforcement action may
still be pursued if a certificated entity knows it is noncompliant
and continues that activity.
Some in the industry think Compliance Philosophy is the
kinder, gentler FAA. Others are still skeptical, concerned
it is an FAA headquarters buzzword and impractical or not
embraced in the inspector ranks.
How does Compliance Philosophy work in the field?
Compliance Philosophy Process
Compliance Philosophy is used in instances of
noncompliance without immediate safety ramifications. For
example, inadequate training records, which might have
resulted in a letter of investigation in the past, might now
result in action through the Compliance Philosophy process.
In this process, the certificate holder - whether an airman,
mechanic, air carrier, repair station or other entity - is advised
by an FAA inspector of a compliance concern. The concern
may be presented in any number of ways, including through
a letter, a verbal discussion or even handwritten on the
Compliance Philosophy brochure. This begins the compliance
action, which is meant to be a collaborative process between
the FAA and the certificated entity.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News March 2018

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