After years of what has appeared to be a lot of talk and little action, the FAA has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for new certification rules to replace the current Part 23 regulations. If adopted, the new rules would apply to aircraft with a max seating capacity of 19 passengers and a max takeoff weight below 19,000 lbs in the normal, utility, aerobatic and commuter category.
The rules are intended to make the introduction of new safety technologies into light aircraft less arduous and costly by moving from the current “prescriptive” requirements of the current Part 23 rules to a new performance-based standard. The new rules would not reduce the safety requirements with respect to certification, the FAA said.
The FAA started re-evaluating the way it sets standards for certification in 2008, and a congressional mandate for new regulations was set forth in the Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013.
A bipartisan group of representatives from the U.S. Senate has also introduced an FAA reauthorization bill this week that includes language that addresses aircraft certification reform. If passed, the proposal would reauthorize the FAA through September 30, 2017.
“These reforms are ready to go and give the FAA strong legislative direction so that manufacturers will be better able to get innovative, safety-enhancing technologies into their customers’ hands – improving safety in the nation’s skies, bolstering general aviation jobs, and increasing the global competitiveness of the industry,” said Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. “Additionally, this legislation seeks to make sure government and industry are on the same page when it comes to interpreting FAA regulations, reducing confusion and ensuring that disputes can be resolved quickly. Furthermore, the bill encourages the FAA to engage more fully with regulatory authorities around the world to allow manufacturers to bring their products to the global market more quickly.”