Richard W. Carlson

Aviation Compliance Expert

Richard W. Carlson joined the firm after a distinguished career with the FAA. Rich served as the Safety Analysis and Evaluation Branch Manager of the FAA Central Region where he oversaw FAA operations in the Midwest. Rich began his career as a Geophysics officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and retired at the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

  • Retired in 2014 as Safety Analysis and Evaluation Branch Manager, FAA Central Region. Previous FAA assignments include Manager, Kansas City FSDO for 12 years and a variety of other Aviation Safety Inspector and supervisory roles including Principal Operations Inspector.
  • Holder of Airline Transport Pilot Certificate and Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificate with over 7,500 flight hours in reciprocating engine, turboprop, and turbojet aircraft. Positions held include Chief Pilot, Director of Operations, Check Airman, and Chief Flight Instructor. First rated as a pilot in 1972.
  • FAA national award winner for public service. Twice recognized with regional awards in both public relations and technical staff service. FAA regional office and FSDO King Air instructor/check pilot.

Rich is well qualified to navigate the sometimes baffling and seemingly impenetrable thicket of FAA regulations, orders, notices, organization and policy. In addition to his duties as an FAA aviation safety inspector, he worked at the local, regional and national level on a variety of surveillance and data collection plans and authored a tool for FAA Flight Standards data quality assurance still in use today. After his 26-year career in the FAA, Rich has a unique capability for knowing what the FAA is looking for when dealing with airmen or organizational certificate holders. He can provide explanation, context and often the very guidance document that is driving the issue.


Contributing author to FAA Airplane Flying Handbook, and author of Flying Light Twins Safely. Acknowledged contributor to first and second editions of Federal Aviation Regulations Explained authored by Kent Jackson.


Rich Carlson received his BGS with an emphasis in meteorology from the University of Kansas and his MS in aviation safety from the University of Central Missouri. He has over 100 FAA training courses/schools/checks to his credit.

Professional Affiliations

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (Life member)
Experimental Aircraft Association
International Society of Air Safety Investigators
Institute of Navigation
National Association of Flight Instructors
Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (Life member)

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