Skip to page content

Appendix A: Key Concepts

Note: The following descriptions are from both the Blueprint and the CSP. They are valid at the time of their writing and may change in the future.

Accountability Framework A structure where each stakeholder's roles and obligations, responsibilities and accountability are clearly established. The Accountability Framework asserts that applicants have a responsibility to show compliance with the regulations, maintain compliance and report nonconformances and other breakdowns in their safety systems. It also asserts that the FAA fulfills its discretionary role in the investigation of compliance and regulatory oversight of industry.

Adaptive Organization An organization that is able to perceive change in its environment and quickly act in response to it. Adaptiveness is achieved through experimentation and course correction, encouraging knowledge sharing and decision making at all levels of the organization.

Aircraft Certification Safety System The set of interconnected functions, processes, and entities (both public and private) that collectively ensure the safe design, production, and continued operational safety (COS) of aerospace products. The system encompasses AIR's activities related to design, manufacturing, airworthiness approvals and oversight, standards and policy development, and COS; Industry's role in ensuring compliance to regulations- and the public's active participation in the regulatory process.

AIR Transformation AIR's holistic approach to creating an Aircraft Certification Safety System that is more responsive to stakeholder expectations and changes in the environment.

Airworthiness System The collective policies, standards, processes and entities dedicated to ensuring that aircraft, engines, propellers and parts conform to their approved design and are in a condition for safe operation.

Bilateral Partners Regulatory agencies with a formal agreement with FAA for recognizing their certification system. Though they differ in the specific negotiation techniques (e.g., bilateral agreements, Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness), they structure a formal relationship to leverage one another's systems.

Career Development Framework A structured approach for identifying career paths, and the supporting skills, competencies, and formal and informal training required to support career development.

Change Management The discipline that guides how we prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organizational success and outcomes (Prosci).

Collaboration The act of individuals working together to achieve a defined and common goal. Collaboration is enhanced by supporting technology and workspace.

Collaborative Technology A suite of tools (software and hardware) that enable collaboration within AIR and with Industry. These tools are incorporated into work practices to improve the manner by which work is conducted.

Collaborative Workspace A physical workspace that encourages collaborative work, including easy access to collaboration rooms and an interconnected environment that allows geographically dispersed individuals to collaborate as if they were co-located.

Compliance Assurance System A system for showing compliance that is recognized by AIR with a commensurate oversight system. This is analogous to our current system for oversight of quality systems at a manufacturing facility or repair station.

Compliance Culture The set of beliefs and behaviors embraced by the Aircraft Certification Safety System stakeholders that emphasize the value of compliance. Compliance is at the heart of product design and manufacturing, the recognition and resolution of mistakes is non-punitive, self-learning is expected and safety is prioritized.

Compliance Library The documents that an applicant can continually refer to in order to use previously established means of compliance on applicable projects. These documents are both public and private. Public documents may include FAA Advisory Circulars (AC), Industry Standards, general Issue Papers, and Orders. Private documents include documents that establish proprietary means of compliance.

Compliance Philosophy A "just culture" that is instrumental in ensuring compliance with regulations and the identification of hazards and management of risk. The Philosophy holds that when deviations from regulatory standards occur as a result of flawed procedures, simple mistakes, lack of understanding, or diminished skills, self-reporting by industry is encouraged to facilitate collaborative root cause analysis and training, education and process improvements. On the other hand, reluctance or failure to adopt remediation actions, intentional or reckless deviations, and egregious actions of repetitive non-compliance are considered the highest risk to safe operations in the NAS and can result in strong enforcement or punitive action.

Consistency Similar circumstances should lead to similar decisions, outcomes, and policies over time and across the organization. Differences in decisions, outcomes, and policies are explained by differences in relevant factors.

Continued Operational Safety (COS) The set of processes by which an aircraft, engine, propeller or part complies with the applicable airworthiness requirements and remains in a condition for safe operation throughout its operating life

Critical Path The designated portion of the agreed-to project schedule with time critical constraints, such that AIR has a specific commitment to respond in a timely manner.

Designee Individuals or organizations authorized to conduct any certification activity on behalf of FAA.

Early Engagement Activities to gauge and reduce project risk prior to application. This can include collaborating to explore new or novel technology, working to identify the path to certification, or educating applicants on regulations applicability for their specific project. It includes both engineering and manufacturing considerations, e.g. intent to manufacture outside county and general education on the process.

Foreign Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) The regulator of civil aviation for foreign states or jurisdictions; the foreign equivalent to FAA.

Health Monitoring A framework of methods and tools to determine the status of organizational activities, capabilities and objectives for the purpose of analyzing and evaluating performance, making decisions on where improvements are needed, initiating improvements, and verifying the effectiveness of those improvements. This capability will enable the identification of both organizational and product trends and their potential impact on safe operations in the NAS.

Innovation A new method, approach, technology or product that is not supported or addressed by the current procedural, airworthiness, and operational regulations (Parts 21, 23, 25, 27, 91, 121, etc.), Advisory Circulars (AC), policies, or other known methods of compliance.

Innovation Center A structured business practice that proactively seeks out new and innovative technology, and employs a stakeholder-focused, collaborative approach to promote, facilitate, and advance innovation in the steps leading to airworthiness approvals. Engagement with the Innovation Center is flexible and may begin far in advance of formal application in order to explore the technology and identify the path to certification.

International Agreement A formal arrangement between the U.S. and foreign CAAs to facilitate equivalent levels of safety and reciprocal certification of civil aviation products between the signatories.

Just Culture A culture in which AIR and our stakeholders hold each other accountable for safety without fear of reprisal. It allows for due consideration of honest mistakes and focuses on ensuring that underlying safety issues are fixed in all cases.

Level of Confidence The degree to which FAA understands and accepts the capability of a bilateral partner to consistently achieve defined outcomes.

Maturity Demonstrated applicant/holder capabilities. Maturity will be assessed based on size and scope of the applicant/holder's activities, operational complexity, safety culture, business model and processes, safety history, criticality of products and recent performance.

Maturity Model A model that prescribes AIR's retention of responsibilities as a function of demonstrated maturity and risk.

New Entrants New applicants that have not yet gone through a certification process with FAA.

Organizational Health Monitoring (OHM) This program monitors AIR's day-to-day operations to create insights that help AIR allocate resources more efficiently, improve performance, and reduce safety risks in the NAS.

Performance-Based Regulations and Policy Regulations and policy that establish a required level of performance for a design, process, or system, rather than providing prescriptive compliance requirements. This approach provides industry with the option to utilize FAA-accepted, consensus-based means of compliance or develop their own to show compliance to rules.

Product Lifecycle Refers to all phases of a product: design, production, airworthiness, and COS.

Regulatory Framework The body of regulations and policy that govern the systems and practices for assuring the compliance and airworthiness of products.

Regulatory Gap The degree to which a (usually novel) product has an existing means of compliance available.

Retention FAA's discretionary withholding of delegation of responsibilities to another entity.

Risk Analysis Governance The means to provide a consistent understanding and application of risk assessment throughout the system and product lifecycle.

Risk-Based Decision Making (RBDM) The use of consistent, data-informed approaches to enable the FAA to make smarter, system-level, risk-based decisions. RBDM emphasizes the review of safety data to integrate the assessment of risk into decision making processes; enabling informed decision making.

Safety Continuum The level of safety established by regulation, guidance and oversight that change based on risk and societal expectations of safety. The safety continuum applies an appropriate level of safety from small UAS to large transport category aircraft. The differing level of safety balances the needs of the flying public, applicants and operators while facilitating both the advancement of safety and the encouragement of technological innovation

Self-Correction The ability of an organization to independently identify non-compliances with their system and effectively take action to address and prevent them from occurring in the future.

Stakeholder Any entity that has an interest in, can be affected by, or can impact the actions, objectives, or policies of the Aircraft Certification Safety System.

System Oversight Application of risk-based oversight programs at a systems level, which provides a more holistic and comprehensive approach to assuring compliance, assessing performance and mitigating risks.

System Performance The measurable results that a set of interrelated, interdependent and interacting elements (such as activities, processes, products, services, and organizations) are able to achieve.

Transformation Outcomes Four changes that collectively define success in terms of our impact on the system.

Voluntary Disclosure The process wherein an organization notifies FAA of the apparent non-compliance or violation immediately after detecting it and before the Agency has learned of it by other means.

Previous Page | Next Page

Page last modified:

This page was originally published at: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/air/transformation/csp/concepts/