George - you walk the hallways of AOPA.
Air Part 23 rewrite avionics specialist Control privatization, the third class medical, and user fees to name just three. Somewhat obscured by these Capitol Hill battles is a more complicated but also arguably more important legislative issue: Often called the Part 23 rewrite, since it deals with FAR Part 23, this is an effort to address the way light aircraft are designed, certified, and upgraded.
That may be changing finally, with the recent release of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. This reform effort has been a long time coming. The general aviation industry, led by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association GAMAhas been suggesting, pleading, cajoling and demanding for decades that the FAA update its s approach to certifying aircraft and avionics.
Both of these concepts are welcome — and long overdue — responses to a changing aviation industry and our evolving understanding of risk.
The first one is a shift in focus from enforcement yanking certificates when a pilot screws up to compliance proactively encouraging safe flying before an incident. The safety continuum philosophy may be even more important. The FAA accepts higher levels of risk, with correspondingly fewer requirements for the demonstration of compliance, when aircraft are used for personal transportation.
As a community, we know how to fly with almost zero accidents if we want to the airlines show the waybut we choose to accept some risk because twin turbine engines, multi-crew cockpits and rigid rules are not practical for our operations.
The FAA is explicitly recognizing this tradeoff. Beyond the philosophical change of heart, the renewed interest in updating certification rules is a reflection of the sometimes-embarrassing state of the general aviation fleet.
Experimental airplanes are often better equipped than certified ones, with powerful glass cockpits and advanced autopilots that are impractical or unaffordable for a Cessna that goes the exact same speed, with the same number of seats.
Likewise, portable technology that is exempt from certification is moving much faster than certified avionics.
But while there is broad recognition that the current system is broken, in typical FAA style, the process to change has been deliberate.
After years of study and debate, an Aviation Rulemaking Committee ARC was formed in to propose specific standards and actions. This group was made up of major general aviation airframe manufacturers, avionics companies and pilot organizations.
What does it say? What the proposal says At heart, the new approach favors standards-based certification. This means that, rather than writing prescriptive, step-by-step rules for each component of the airplane, the FAA will use a goal-oriented approach that emphasizes the outcome of certification — not the process.
Many of those specifics will live in a separate document, outside the actual regulations, commonly called industry accepted standards.
The new rule includes some lessons learned from LSAs. ASTM standards will be a key path for certifying new airplanes under the revised rules. But notably, ASTM would not be the only acceptable standards; manufacturers would be free to offer their own as well.
Once FAA calls out a standard, it stays in place, which is critical for protecting long-term investments by manufacturers. Some LSA owners have been disappointed to learn that almost all maintenance decisions on their airplanes are driven by the aircraft manufacturer, not the FAA.
This is a big change from Part 23 certified airplanes, with sometimes bizarre consequences.Part 23 – Small Airplane Certification Process Study Smaller part 23 airplanes were typically simple and slow while bigger airplanes were more complex and faster. Consequently, the existing approach to standards of type-certified products and aviation articles like avionics.
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As the FAA readies its sweeping proposal to rewrite Part 23 certification standards for light aircraft, industry leaders have high hopes that the final rule could jumpstart the sagging lighter end. Part 23 Rewrite Approved by Congress, Awaits President's Signature November 14, - The Small Airplane Revitalization Act of cleared the final congressional hurdle today when the House approved Senate changes made to the bill during its passage in the Senate in October.
In a landmark announcement by the Federal Aviation Administration last week, the much-anticipated Part 23 reform has been approved, overhauling airworthiness standards for general aviation aircraft.
Part 23 rewrite is mostly for the performance based certification standards on aircraft. This may have some effect on avionics, but if you are flying around in a certified airframe you'll need TSO'd avionics.