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On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, the Agency notified NATCA of its intent to revise the Flight Test Operations Manual (FTOM). FTOM applies to all flight operations within the Aircraft Certification Service (AIR) and the changes apply to bargaining unit employees who are part of the flight test crewmembers assigned to AIR-710, Flight Test Branch, and the six sections that align under it. NATCA requested a full briefing, which was held on Monday, September 27, 2021. The Agency provided that this new manual (Revision 8) was crafted by a work group assembled by the Agency whose members included John Hed, a NATCA member and flight test engineer. During the briefing, the Agency informed NATCA that Revision 8 includes both broad and specific changes to the current manual (Revision 7A) which was published in 2016. Some of the broad changes include reformatting the entire manual to comply with FAA standards and integrating all of the 12 operations bulletins that have been released by the FAA since 2016. Some of the more specific changes include updating the Crewmember and Survival equipment in chapter two, updating the training manual in chapter four, and updating the Briefing Guides in Appendix C & D to match those in FAA Order 4040.26C. The Agency also highlighted several concerns going forward, such as a delay of in person training courses at CAMI due to COVID-19. The Agency informed NATCA that changes related to COVID-19 would be released in a sperate document and were not included in Revision 8.

POCs: Assistant Director of Labor Relations Akua Brempong-Smith, Labor Relations Attorney Jon Cakmakci, Region X ARVP Curt Howe, and Flight Test Engineer John Hed

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