Examining the FAA’s Organization Designation Authority (ODA)

Part 2 of a Series

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By the Leeham News Team

April 3, 2023, © Leeham News: Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) has been a critical relationship between Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration. In the wake of the 737 MAX crisis, the FAA rescinded Boeing’s ODA. It was restored, but the FAA retains oversight.

The absence of ODAs continues to slow Boeing’s return to normalcy.

ODA: What is it, why it exists, and what is changing?

Long ago, when aircraft were far simpler than today, FAA inspectors would validate the airworthiness of products using well-defined existing bodies of knowledge. FAA engineers

could use sheet metal skills and their electrical and mechanical engineering backgrounds to monitor and assist in the certification of more and more complex products.

With the birth of the jet age, aerodynamics became much more complex and software was applied to airframes in the form of advanced avionics and fly-by-wire flight control programming.

The industry started to outpace the skills of the regulators and it got even more complex with the advent of composite structures. Things that weren't on the radar of the regulations—and the regulators--became important as time went by.

Flammability standards for cabin and cockpit materials created a huge need for oversight. So did the increased cockpit automation and how the human interfaced with the machine.

The FAA fell behind, for a couple of reasons.

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