Oversight of 14 CFR 121 air carriers is complex and dynamic. Furthermore, architects of change in the oversight environment are faced with the same problem as traffic engineers – the system must continue to handle the traffic while new roads are being built. FAA Flight Standards has the responsibility to build new roads but must still accommodate the industry's traffic in the meantime.
We are committed to implementing a systems safety approach to oversight, the Air Transportation Oversight System (ATOS), but we are equally committed to doing so in an intelligent, orderly fashion. To do this, it is continually important to evaluate current capabilities and limitations, to design a set of steps to resolve those limitations and increase capabilities, and continue to learn at each step.
The following outline begins in the past and moves into the future. It outlines how we have, are, and will evolve the systems approach to oversight.