Getting Offensive


Sometimes offense is the best defense. At some point, I’m sure you have heard this phrase.  My guess is probably on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

When it comes to managing a flight department, there is an amazing amount of truth in this statement.

If the initial training record of one of your pilots is in “that file somewhere” or that checkride form somehow got a big coffee stain on it, you might become part of the Letter of Investigation club. Not a great club…

Perhaps highly debatable but in my opinion, you should involve your POI in your processes.


Transparency creates trust.  Having a culture where the expectation is to do things correctly, creates trust. You should have no problem having your POI spending time in your classroom, simulators, vendor training, etc.  If the knock on the door is creating heartburn, then perhaps it is time to reevaluate things.


“Transparency + Culture = Trust”


I know what you are saying.  “I have enough challenges with my POI and that simply won’t work.”

My point is that the organization should operate at a higher level than the minimum regulatory requirements that are set by the FAA. If your POI is impressed with what you are doing as compared to the other operators that he or she deals with, you will see them a lot less often. Trust me.


Creating Offense


Use modern tools-

Many tools exist today that help you become more organized and more efficient.  Do research specifically on online solutions that create easy access and electronic back up of your records.  Attempt to create a solution that is a “one stop shop’ for all records.


Be welcoming but be prepared –

We’ve discussed being transparent in this article, but you need to know what should be transparent. Know the regulations. Supply only the information that is required but do so in a very organized and competent way.


“Supply only the information that is required but be very organized and competent when doing so”


Be organized –

This goes along with the tools above. Your records need to be in one place and easily obtained.  Perception is reality.  If you are struggling to produce the proper records, inspectors are going to start opening a lot more doors.


Internal Engagement –

Consider “The Iceberg of Ignorance”. Pretty shocking. It’s a study that is often used in safety but has lots of merit in this discussion.

Engage with your employees to understand what is really happening in your organization. Be specific. Where are those initial and recurrent training records? How easily can we produce them?

Don’t wait until the FAA knocks to find out there are issues.


The FAA is moving towards less enforcement and more cooperation.  This is a very positive sign for certificate operators and hopefully creates a future that is supportive on both sides.

I wish you great success moving forward.