May 2, 2016

Washington, D.C., May 2, 2016 – On the eve of an FAA public hearing in College Park, Georgia, on the Part 23 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), a coalition of general aviation leaders today applauded the FAA’s efforts to improve safety and make it easier to bring new products to market for the light general aviation sector, while strongly encouraging the agency to finish its work on the issue by the end of 2016. The groups included the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the Helicopter Association International (HAI), the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS), the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). The NPRM is a result of the Small Airplane Revitalization Act (SARA) that was signed into law on Nov. 27, 2013.

In March of this year, the FAA issued the proposed rule, which removes current overly prescriptive design requirements and replaces them with performance-based airworthiness standards. The NPRM also recognizes the use of consensus-based standards to establish acceptable methods of compliance for specific designs and technologies. This will facilitate the installation and retrofit of safety-enhancing technologies, bolster the light end of the general aviation market, remove barriers to certification for emerging technologies such as electric and hybrid propulsion, and foster greater harmonization between the FAA and other regulatory authorities worldwide.

“The shift to proportional and objective-based rules within the Part 23 framework will provide general aviation with the ability to more effectively design, certify, produce, operate, and maintain the airplanes of today, and it will assure the future of general aviation will only be limited by human imagination,” the associations noted in their written comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation. This proposed rule takes into account the needs of the entire general aviation community and assures safety improvements will no longer be held captive to outdated and inflexible regulations that don’t keep pace with technological change.

The groups recognized the FAA for its leadership, calling the Part 23 effort “a poster child for good rulemaking.” They added, “We applaud these efforts to fully understand the range of issues involved when making changes of this magnitude.” The groups also praised Congress for its leadership in passing SARA unanimously in November of 2013.

The proposed rule is the result of nearly a decade of work, which included the Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee and the parallel European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) CS-23 rulemaking effort. The changes will allow for the “safe adoption of current and future technologies in an extremely efficient manner” and are a lifeline to assuring that today’s general aviation community can deploy rapidly evolving new technologies, which is today stymied by the nature of current regulations.

“Given the overwhelming support for this proposed rule, and the tremendous benefits it would offer to all facets of the general aviation community for years to come, we hope the current administration will put this well-crafted rule in place as soon as possible to allow our industry to innovate freely without being shackled by outdated restrictions,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “The increased harmonization between the FAA and other agencies worldwide will ensure the success of this effort and allow our industry to grow in ways we can’t even think of yet. It’s time for the FAA to finish this rule.”