FAA appoints NTS’s Justin McKennon as Designated Engineering Representative

September 5, 2018

The FAA is responsible for determining whether or not a design shows compliance with the required aerospace standards. This role is crucial in ensuring flight safety and continued air worthiness. However, the FAA simply does not have the bandwidth to perform all of the required functions which are part of the certification process – test witnessing, test plan approval, conformity, etc. As such, the FAA delegates many of these responsibilities to Designated Engineering Representatives (DERs), to help alleviate the burden on the FAA to perform all of these activities.

The FAA is very selective in appointing DERs. To become a DER, one must have considerable experience in the field, and undergo a thorough application process. This includes a review by an evaluation panel, and an extensive review of their credentials. The FAA relies on the DER to act on their behalf, within their area of expertise to perform certain certification functions. Doing so requires a high degree of technical aptitude, experience, and familiarity with the certification process and standards that pertain to their discipline. DER’s are responsible for staying up to date with FAA orders, standards, and processes.

The FAA has appointed two of NTS’s senior staff members, Andy Plumer and Justin McKennon, as DER’s in the area of lightning. This indicates that the FAA has recognized their experience and technical expertise pertaining to lightning and its effects on aircraft and aircraft systems. Having two on staff DER’s provides NTS with considerable flexibility and expertise to help guide customers through the complex certification process, and demonstrate compliance to the required standards.

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