Resources for Dealing with the Government
As a repair station, dealing with the government, particularly the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is inevitable. Building a good relationship with government officials in good times will help keep the bad times at bay.
The steps outlined here, which are key to building and maintaining a positive relationship, are detailed in ARSA’s online training session “Dealing with the Government – Building a Positive Relationship.”
Click here to learn more about the session and to register.
Introduce yourself/your company
The first step toward building a relationship with the FAA is to visit the local office and introduce yourself or your company to the manager, unit supervisor, inspectors, and support staff. You should also at least be aware of relevant regional and national personnel.
All interactions with government officials should be recorded (ARSA’s government relations chart is available free for members).
Maintain a positive image and professional relationship
There are several ways you can do this: attend FAA-sponsored events, invite the FAA to your facilities when you add a new process or equipment or when you are training employees, offer to present a class for the FAA, etc. Communicate with the local office regularly, so it does not only hear from you when you are complaining.
Make sure all interactions are kept professional.; do not take abuse, but don’t abuse either. If tempers rise, take a break and resume at a later time. Avoid meeting one-on-one with government officials. Never promise something you either cannot or will not deliver – remember, you want to trust the FAA, but you also want the FAA to trust you.
Put everything in writing
Follow-up is key, and you should continue following up until you reach a resolution. Document phone calls and visits, keep a record of any documents the FAA reviewed during a visit, maintain reports of written correspondence, confirm receipt of electronic mail, and request a return receipt for letters by mail.
Follow up with every single visit or important oral communication in writing within 36 hours. Ensure the communication includes the meeting date and time, person(s) present by name and title, and a summary of all facts presented, issues discussed and action items assigned.
Use the Right Resources
The following templates are available to ARSA members as relationship-management tools:
(1) Audit Summary Form
(2) Audit Activity Report Form
(3) Non-Employee Document Request Form
(4) Communications Tracking Log (with Instructions)
(5) Government Relations Chart
To get yours, visit arsa.org/publications.