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New app simplifies online FAA document searches

The search tool, known as the Dynamic Regulatory System, “combines more than 65 document types from more than a dozen different repositories into a single searchable application. This comprehensive knowledge center centralizes the FAA’s aviation safety guidance material” from the Flight Standards Information System and the agency’s Regulatory Guidance System, the FAA said in a news release.

Each of the more than 2 million documents the system can bring up with basic or advanced searching methods includes links to the regulations on which it is based, and lists a history of the document’s revisions. The system’s information is updated every four hours.

“The tool represents a giant step forward in providing consistency and standardization of regulatory interpretation by expediting research of aviation regulations and related documents,” the FAA said. “In the past, complex research projects could sometimes take days. DRS has consolidated all of this information so projects can be completed in minutes.”

Here is an example of how a pilot can use the Dynamic Regulatory System to research an aviation topic such as locating advisory circulars (ACs) about flight reviews and instrument proficiency checks.

From the Dynamic Regulatory System page on the FAA website, click “Search DRS,” which is located near the bottom of the page. Once on the search page, type “flight reviews and instrument proficiency checks” (quotation marks included) in the search field at the top of the page and click Search or press Enter. You will see AC 61-98D at the top of the results list.

To research a topic from the Dynamic Regulatory System search page, type your topic in the search field at the top of the page and click Search or press Enter. On the results page that comes up you can also filter your results to narrow your search. Image courtesy of the FAA. 

Another method is to use filtering options. For example, type “flight reviews” in the search window at the top of the Dynamic Regulatory System page, click Search or press Enter, and when you get your results, go to the Filter Results menu at the left side of the page, and from the drop-down menu under Document Type, check the box to select Advisory Circular. Then click Apply. Filtered results will appear. If you don’t see the Apply button, after making your selection, click the left side of the window below the Filter Results box.

Suppose you need to look up an airworthiness directive (AD) that has been issued for your aircraft engine. From the search field on the Dynamic Regulatory System page, type the engine model (such as “Lycoming IO-360”) and when you get your results, filter them further in the Filter Results column at left under Document Type by selecting AD Rules and clicking Apply.

On either the Dynamic Regulatory System page or the results page you also can click the “Search Tips” link above the search box for other suggestions about how to find the document you need.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 included a requirement for establishing a centralized safety database. The FAA believes that the Dynamic Regulatory System page exceeds the law’s requirements and in the future will offer “more features, functionality and document types,” eventually allowing the FAA to phase out legacy data systems such as the Regulatory Guidance System and Flight Standards Information System.

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