Our attorneys provide legal counsel regarding the drafting, form, and legality of regulations, orders, exemptions, airspace actions, obstruction evaluation determinations, guidance material, and space transportation licenses. We also interpret the FAA's regulations, act as liaison with the Office of the Secretary of Transportation on the legal aspects of the agency's regulatory program, and provide legal counsel for the Slot Management System.
We are divided into the following four offices, each focusing on a specific subject area of FAA regulation:
Airworthiness Law Branch
We address legal issues in the area of airworthiness. Airworthiness issues relate to aircraft manufacture, certification, maintenance, and operation. Airworthiness rules generally establish the design and manufacturing standards aircraft manufacturers must meet. These standards also apply to those who wish to modify aircraft after they have been delivered by the original manufacturer and to repairs made to the aircraft. Aircraft rules apply only to domestic manufacturers and to non-U.S. sources if they are issued a U.S.-type certificate or are operated by U.S. air carriers.
Operations Law Branch
We serve as legal advisor to agency personnel on matters involving safety rules governing certification and operations of air carriers and commercial operators and all operating rules governing general aviation operations. Or attorneys provide legal counsel on issues such as operational business relationships, crew training, flight simulators, pilot scheduling, mentoring, and safety management systems.
We also provide legal counsel regarding national security issues within both domestic and international airspace. Additionally, we support the development and implementation of user fees and provides regulatory drafting support to the Airports and Environmental Law Division.
Field Airworthiness Certification Branch
We provide legal support to the Aircraft Certification Service's (AIR) field organizations, formerly known as directorates. We work with AIR staff in developing and reviewing airworthiness standards, which are the regulations that applicants must comply with to obtain design approvals for aircraft, engines, and propellers. We also support certification activities by reviewing special conditions, exemptions, advisory circulars, and policy statements relating to these activities. AIR also oversees the production of aircraft and related products, and we advise and support AIR personnel in the performance of those activities. Finally, when AIR identifies unsafe conditions in these products, we review airworthiness directives that are developed to address those conditions.
Airman Certification, Air Traffic and Commercial Space Law Branch
We provide counsel regarding legal issues surrounding the certification of pilots, mechanics, repairmen, and other individuals. We are also responsible for the legal adequacy of FAA regulations, policies and issues concerning airspace, air traffic, obstruction and airport airspace evaluation, navigation facilities, and the agency communications system. Additionally, our attorneys provide legal counsel on slots and congestion management.
Our attorneys also provide legal counsel regarding the licensing and regulation of the launch of launch vehicles, the reentry of reentry vehicles, and the operation of launch and reentry sites. Additionally, we draft and review evaluations of applications for commercial space licenses, license orders, and waiver requests.