8900.1 CHG 487



Section 1  Safety Assurance System: Responsibilities of Aviation Safety Inspectors

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1-156    GENERAL. This chapter addresses many, but not all, of the responsibilities, standards of conduct, and credentials of aviation safety inspectors (ASI). This section describes the general responsibilities of the ASI. ASIs of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) play a key role in ensuring that the United States aviation system continues to be the safest in the world. This responsibility for safety in air travel covers almost every facet of aviation, including the certification of aircraft and airmen, the operation and maintenance of aircraft, aircraft manufacturing, and the approval of new aircraft design. Within the Flight Standards Division (AFS) of the FAA, ASIs are divided by specialty into the groups of Maintenance and Avionics (Airworthiness), Operations, Dispatch, and Cabin Safety.

1-157    OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES. ASIs participate in other activities, such as accident prevention and the issuance of authorizations. ASIs also perform many other duties, including the ones that:

    Make a deposition or court appearance;

    Process a voluntary surrender of an operator’s certificate; and

    Provide technical assistance.

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A.    Inspector Findings. Inspectors must be consistent and document all findings in the Data Collection Tools (DCT) or Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS), for them or the principal inspector (PI) to assess and analyze. The PI must ensure that inspection results are accurate, timely, and are conveyed to the certificate holder accurately. They must ensure the certificate holder corrects or mitigates findings. The PI will track the certificate holder’s progress on corrective actions.

B.    Inspector Plan. The inspector must have a plan prior to starting their inspections. They must prepare by reviewing data on what the area of concern may be. Merely printing the DCT or guidance is not planning. For those in the Safety Assurance System (SAS), there is a checklist prior to starting data collection to acknowledge prior to starting the inspection. The inspector should brief the certificate holder prior to beginning the inspection and then provide an out‑briefing of the findings, either negative or positive.

1)    In-Brief. The inspector should conduct an in-briefing with available certificate holder management, certificate holder representatives, or others as the inspection warrants. The brief may or may not be a formal briefing—it depends on the type of inspection being performed. The following are recommended items to cover in the briefing:
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a)    Confirm the inspection objectives, scope, and criteria.
b)    Explain that the inspection scope may be expanded, if necessary.
c)    Discuss the inspection methods and techniques that will be used.
d)    Review inspection documentation, such as checklists, job aids, and forms.
e)    Verify current revision status of documentation previously received.
f)    Outline the overall inspection process.
g)    Confirm any inspection timetables and other arrangements previously made with the certificate holder.
h)    Confirm any administrative requirements.
i)    Inquire about onsite safety, emergency, and security procedures.
2)    Post-Inspection Briefings. The inspector should conduct an out-briefing with available certificate holder management, certificate holder representatives, or others as the inspection warrants and summarize any negative or positive findings. The inspector should explain any follow-up action that may take place. Negative findings should be provided to the certificate holder in writing within 15 days of the close of the inspection item. If the inspector is using SAS, they will track the action using the Action Item Tracking Tool (AITT) until all outstanding findings have been closed. In a large certificate management office (CMO), if the PI is not the data collector, they are aware of the outcome and they will send a letter when the activity has been closed and the Analysis, Assessment, and Action (AAA) module has been accomplished. The inspector will conduct an out-briefing with the certificate holder’s management team. During this meeting, the inspector should:
a)    Confirm the purpose and scope of the inspection.
b)    Identify documents the team reviewed and used during the inspection, including the revision level or date of revision.
c)    When appropriate under Compliance Philosophy consideration, provide positive observations.
d)    Provide a preliminary result of all discrepancies or observations. Make sure the certificate holder management team has a complete understanding of the observations and findings, including expected future actions. If no discrepancies were noted, this must also be conveyed to the certificate holder management team during this briefing.

NOTE:  Documenting the findings during debriefing helps in the certificate holders’ understanding of the issues, and what they need to review in order to redesign their systems to correct or mitigate safety concerns.

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e)    Discuss the process for administering findings.
f)    Ask whether any points need to be clarified. Request feedback from the certificate holder and resolve outstanding issues.

NOTE:  All corrected “on-the-spot” findings identified by those using the DCTs will be documented per SAS guidance, as outlined in Volume 10, Safety Assurance System Policy and Procedures; and Volume 14, Compliance and Enforcement.

NOTE:  The PI may provide a formal letter to the certificate holder outlining the results of the inspection. This will include all areas inspected and a listing of any discrepancies/observations. If no discrepancies were found, this must also be conveyed in this letter. The PI should provide the letter within 15 days of the post-inspection briefing.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 1-159 through 1-175.