When President Donald Trump in his first days in office made good on a campaign promise to cut red tape by eliminating unnecessary regulations, workers at federal agencies knew they’d suddenly be very busy. Perhaps nowhere was this more true than at the FAA, where the enactment of new rules in the near future would seem to require a top-down review of the Federal Aviation Regulations aimed at combining, rewriting and eliminating rules already on the books.
Ironically, many of the new rules the FAA is about to introduce — for BasicMed third-class medical reform, the Part 23 rewrite and those dealing with operational credit for use of infrared enhanced-vision systems, to name a few — are aimed at reducing regulatory bureaucracy and benefiting pilots and aircraft operators. It’s unclear at this point whether the president’s executive order and a temporary freeze he has put on new regulations will lead to delays in enacting BasicMed or the Part 23 rewrite, but what we do know is the FAA will have its hands full trying to determine which regulations to jettison to make way for new ones.
The good news is that the Federal Aviation Regulations are rife with duplication and rules that are no longer necessary. The FAA through its history has preferred to tackle regulatory issues by heaping new rules on top of old ones, in many cases without regard for regulations that came before.
“There are plenty of regulations on the books that are outdated,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “Together we can find ways with the FAA to reduce cost and provide less bureaucracy. By looking closely at those old and dated regulations, we can come up with a list of rules to eliminate that could be beneficial to all of us and focus the FAA’s resources on the right things.”
BasicMed and the Part 23 rewrite are special cases, however, since these reforms were ordered by Congress. With the confirmation on Tuesday of incoming Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the Department of Transportation and FAA can begin the task of determining how they proceed with the enactment of these mandated reforms while satisfying the requirements of the Trump Administration’s executive order.