Debunking a “Good Example” of an Aircraft Safety Regulation Rewrite

When multiple aircraft in the U.S. have a similar unsafe condition, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations tells aircraft owners and operators how to deal with it. This is my version of how this regulation should read:

12 June 2015 Airworthiness directives

The Plain Language authority of the U.S. government, though, suggests the following is preferable:

12 June 2015 Airworthiness directives (gov't rewrite)

Which would you rather read?

This “after” version directly above is example of the effectiveness of the Plain Language office’s work. The “before” and “after” are linked here:

Two comments:

  1. I like the addition of bold and white space, and use of “we” and “you”. But consistent with bureaucracy, the “after” version is actually longer (285 words and 28 text lines), and is less helpful, than before. And this Q&A style is difficult because most people reading this need know only two things: (a) what is the rule, and (b) to what situations do these rules apply. Unfortunately, in the “after” version you must read through every question to find those rules. At least in the “before” version, you could easily find the rules.
  2. Both the “before” and “after” are similarly flawed–they tell us what the regulation is going to say, then they finally say it. Why not just say it once, as my rewrite suggests?

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