Air Transport World

Forum's plea to FAA: follow spirit rather than letter of the law. (Air Transport Association Engineering and Maintenance Forum)

Forum's plea to FAA: follow spirit rather than letter of the law

"Pay the two dollars' is the running theme of an old joke about the headaches a traffic court defendant runs into when he chooses to fight what he considers an unjust citation rather than pay the fine. During the recent wave of Federal Aviation Administration enforcement actions against airlines and repair agencies, some who feel they have been unjustly or too harshly cited have nevertheless opted to pay the two dollars. A quick settlement of the charges is seen as less damaging than keeping the companies in the public eye during protracted proceedings.

For those faced with FAA action, Marshall S. Filler presented strategies for fighting the charges or at least minimizing the penalties at this year's U.S. Air Transport Association Engineering & Maintenance Forum, held last month.

Filler, a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Santarelli, Smith, Kraut and Carruccio, has served as minority counsel for the aviation subcommittee of the House of Representatives and in the FAA chief counsel's office. On the aviation subcommittee he was a principal drafter of important civil aviation legislation, and at FAA he represented the government in various proceedings involving the airlines. In private practice his assignments have included representing airlines and aircraft manufacturers in regulatory and enforcement matters pending before the FAA. His proposed strategies, therefore, are based on experience on both sides of the fence. More about Filler's strategies later.

Devotion to safety

It is in the shadow of FAA's recently stepped-up inspection activities that the ATA forum was held here in Atlanta. Appropriately, the theme of the sessions was "Airworthiness--Everyone's Responsibility.'

To make speeches about safety at an airline maintenance conference may seem to be preaching to the converted. Through good years and bad, airline engineering and maintenance people devote their careers to "keeping 'em flying,' which naturally means doing everything possible to eliminate the mechanical causes of accidents. …

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