Aircraft Certification Peers Review 1

Provide a classmate review on their discussion topic :

provide your response to the following:

What are the FAA’s approach to system safety and air carrier certification? Watch The FAAs Approach to System Safety and Certification (29:40/YouTube), (Links to an external site.) and find out.

According to the FAA video, “safety cannot be inspected into a system.” The video further goes on to say that “safety must be designed into a system.” Think about this from an aircraft certification standpoint. What do you think these two statements mean in the context of aircraft certification? Why is it important to identify risks and hazards in the design and development phase as opposed to just waiting until the aircraft is in the field?


Classmate post that you need to post comment/ review on:

A type certificate is issued once an aircraft manufacturer proves the safety and reliability of a new design.  The ideal scenario presents a full aircraft, an airframe, or an engine product that indicates well-researched and predicted life cycle data.  This is safety by design, not safety by discovery.  The parameters of each component within the system, its failure methods, and “what if” scenarios are well documented and understood.  Specifically, analyzing each failure rate, its causes, likelihood, et cetera throughout the design phase allows the incorporation of risk avoidance and mitigation indicators to provide reasonably predictable results throughout all intended uses of the product. 

The design methods provide the regulatory body with its most important assets, safety and reliability for the public’s benefit.  The concept of proactive safety approaches is a clear and present contrast to a reactive method of design through discovery.  “Inspecting” safety into a system requires an incident/accident occurrence that resulted in the injury or loss of life or equipment.  Especially in the air transport realm, this level of complacency in design is unacceptable as it exposes the public to unreasonable and excessive risks. 

When transitioning from aircraft type certification discussions to an air carrier certification realm, planning and design methods must follow the same philosophy; that safety relies on proactive methods versus a system that relies solely on a product’s failure to be the reactive primer for change.  Just as this week’s video states, 49 U.S.C. § 44701 (d) (1) (A) (2021) places the onus upon the air carrier to provide the highest degree of safety in the public interest.  This “highest standard of safety” provision is a guiding principle also discussed within 14 C.F.R §119 (2018) and §121 (2007).  To provide a service to the public — passenger transport in this example — a company must prove its abilities to provide an operating environment where risk/hazards are reduced to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).  This begs the question, “What is reasonably safe?”  

To answer the question, one must consider what, if any, standards exist.  FAA Order 8900.1 (2021) provides the answer via a comprehensive, proactive method to certify a potential air carrier.  As Phase 3 of the air carrier certification process illustrates, a design assessment “ensures that your operating systems are designed to comply with regulations and safety standards” (Completing the Certification Process, 2021)

If a prospective air carrier can prove their ability to comply with the minimum regulations set forth by the FAA, they have “designed safety into their system”.  This does not eliminate the need for a reactive system to respond to the inevitable discoveries made in post-design phases of air carrier operations. 

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