February 8, 2013

How many times have you said to yourself, “If I knew whom to call, I’d tell someone at the FAA about this?”

Whether a complaint or an “atta-boy,” many valuable comments about Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) performance or procedures go unvoiced because the person with something to say does not know where to report it. NBAA Director, Air Traffic Services & Infrastructure Bob Lamond has a solution.

While airlines fly to only about 10 percent of U.S. airports, NBAA Members’ strength is in being able to operate into nearly all of them, Lamond pointed out.

“That’s more than 5,000 airports, so it’s virtually impossible for any one person to establish close relationships with every one of those facilities,” he said. “So the way the FAA has asked me and our Members to interact with them is through the agency’s five managers of tactical operations (MTOs).”

There are five MTO regional positions nationwide.

They are:

  • Northeast Region – Leo Prusak
  • Southeast Region – Mike Artist
  • Southwest Region – Ron Schnieder
  • Midwest Region – Kim Stover
  • Western Region – Kim Stover (acting temporarily)

“Think of this as one-stop shopping,” Lamond explained. “When you have a problem or a thank you to pass along, this is a way to reach out to FAA and be heard; you have a single source.”

The MTOs are the faces of the FAA in their respective regions, he said. Acting as customer advocates, each MTO “owns” an issue until it is resolved.

“They may not actually be the people to solve the problem, but they’ll make sure someone solves it. They get all the details handled. They’re very thorough and they don’t let folks off the hook with the ‘easy answer,’ ” said Lamond. In some cases, MTOs have told FAA personnel to reconsider solutions presented as the result of Member complaints or requests for action.

Lamond used the example of an NBAA Member who often flies single-pilot in the Northeast. He operates a pressurized aircraft, usually at altitudes from 20,000 to 25,000 feet. The pilot flies the same routes frequently and, given that familiarity, is knowledgeable about the necessary routing when it comes time to file his flight plans. Yet, the clearances he receives are often at odds with what he files.

“Even worse, once he’s airborne, he’s returned to the clearance he initially filed,” Lamond said. “Now, remember, he’s filing single-pilot IFR. He’s trying to deal with all this while airborne.”

The pilot in question used the FAA Systems Operations Feedback Form found in the Airspace section of the NBAA website (Member log-in required). By clicking on the representative for his region, he was able to call up the form, fill it out and submit it. The issue is now being resolved, Lamond said.

“It’s a great system, and I encourage all Members to use it,” Lamond continued. “And remember, it’s always nice to pass along good feedback as well.”