As of last week, the FAA has made some changes to its Flight Standards Service (AFS) including a new organizational structure and statements about its philosophy and goals for the future. Perhaps the biggest change is that the new structure removes regional divisions and divides oversight into four functional organizations: Air Carrier, General Aviation, Standards, and Foundational Business. Each organization will be headed by a separate director.
As for why such a big shift was necessary, the FAA cited the need for a fundamental change in AFS culture to “incorporate interdependence, critical thinking, and consistency…” The hope is that an approach based on function rather than geography will standardize responses and allow the AFS to be more adaptable and collaborative—especially when it comes to enforcement and working with pilots to address safety concerns.
The FAA has a FAQ and quick reference sheet available for anyone with questions about who to contact and how the changes will affect operations. For the moment, pilots shouldn’t notice much difference in day-to-day ops, but with any luck, that will change for the better.
To read the FAQ, reference sheet or other information about the AFS reorganization, visit the Flight Standards Information Management System.