FAA Inspector Communication Protocol


Flugzeug Liebhaber
I am required to maintain A&P licenses. I specialize in the oversight of regulations associated with maintenance, flight operations, engineering, parts repair/sourcing, training, documentation, getting company policies accepted in place of regulations, vendor interactions, registration and all other activity tied to industry regulations impacting commercial aviation in the USA as well as many other countries around the world. I work for a 121 Air Carrier (Major Airline), as a QA/Airworthiness Liaison. Caught a fed walking by at work and we talked. I turned the conversation to the pending legislation that effects our hobby.

Turns out he has two R/C planes himself and is interested in FPV for his kids! I invited him come with me to fly at my club's airfield. He and his kids need a place to fly too. They are not all agent Smiths from the Matrix, however I have met one so its important for everyone to know who they are.

General Interaction:
I would recommend requesting a meeting with your local FAA and talking to inspectors there and get their interpretation before the comment period closes. Have them explain to you: what the pending legislation is, how they will carry out oversight, what FAA documents will be used by the inspector to guide them in their oversight activity (if it passes ask for a hyperlink and updates to the inspector's guidance). You can explain your interpretation and see where the difference of opinion is, if there is one. Give them the proper contact information for your club. Have your club clearly communicate when they are visiting. Be sure a regulation minded member is there to answer the pending regulation questions they may ask. Write down the questions that they have for you that are not clearly stated in your or the AMA rules (contact the AMA for help ASAP). Get back with him/her promptly with clear answers. Ask them to come to a club meeting and they be prepared to answer questions your members have. Lastly, for goodness sake before they have to come to your field on an official visit, PUT A BUDDY BOX IN THEIR HAND AND LET THEM FLY!!! Keep in mind that they are required to leave their personal feelings about this hobby at home and provide oversight for the FAA in Washington when on duty.

What will they do?
If this becomes law it is important to know that they must officially publicly communicate with the club through letters. Privately within the FAA they enter the observations they make in a FAA database. The intent is to analyze the observations that the Inspectors make and see if there is a positive or negative trend. This is where it is important to ensure they have a clear understanding of what you tell them and they see the condition you are describing. An acceptable means of compliance (AMA/club Rules) can be use in lieu of regulations without approval. It looks like they are taking that approach first by taking the community based organization guidelines as an acceptable standard. If they think you did something wrong they will send you/your club a written letter and give you 30 days to respond. The very first thing you should do is notify and get the AMA a copy of that letter. If you loose and face a fine that can be appealed and reduced, its a better process than getting a traffic ticket.Also, the FAA will typically notify you of visits to your area of operations because your area may be private land.

It would be wise to be proactive who knows, you may make friends? Our activity could be important to them personally as well, for the same reasons!