As you may recall, on January 4, 2012 the FAA published a Final Rule that amends the existing flight, duty and rest regulations applicable to FAR Part 121 air carriers and their flightcrew members. Since that time, the FAA has received many questions regarding the provisions of the Final Rule despite the fact that compliance date is almost two years away on January 4, 2014. In response to all of the questions, the FAA has concluded “that responding to the questions and providing additional regulatory clarity will enable the stakeholders to better plan the changes that they will need to make in order to comply with the final rule.” The FAA also wants to “ensure consistency of interpretation by answering the stakeholders’ questions in a single document instead of multiple different interpretations.”
As a result, the FAA issued a Notice of Procedures for Submitting Clarifying Questions to solicit questions about how the Final Rule works so that the FAA can “provide greater clarity to the stakeholders by answering those questions.” However, the FAA “emphasizes that it is not reconsidering the provisions of the final rule or reopening the final rule to notice and comment.” If you would like to submit a request to the FAA for clarification of the Final Rule, you must send your request to the FAA by June 4, 2012. You can submit requests one of two ways:
- Post your request on the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov). Enter Docket Number FAA-2012-0358, and follow the online instructions for sending your request electronically; or
- Send a copy via email to the subject matter expert as noted below:
- Technical Questions: Dale E. Roberts, Air Transportation Division, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration; email email@example.com; or
- Legal Questions: Alex Zektser, Office of the Chief Counsel, Regulations Division, Federal Aviation Administration; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
My guess is that an e-mail request is going to get a quicker response. However, it is probably a good idea to send your request using both methods for the best chance of a response. After all, in the Notice the FAA states it will “attempt to reply to the clarifying questions that are submitted by June 4, 2012,” which doesn’t leave me feeling particularly confident about actually receiving a response. However, we can hope for the best.