The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on Wednesday passed the Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013, which aims to reduce regulations and certification costs for smaller airplanes that are regulated under FAA's Part 23 rule.
If passed by the House, the bill would establish a 2015 deadline for implementing recommendations from FAA's Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC). Current FAA certification standards increase cost and time for getting new technologies that enhance safety and performance into new aircraft.
“It’s no surprise that this common-sense legislation has struck a chord throughout Congress and passed through the Transportation Committee. The general aviation community needs relief from outdated regulation, and I’m thankful that Chairman Shuster and the rest of the committee cleared the bill for takeoff," said Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who introduced the bill in May.
The ARC's recommendations have the potential to set international certification standards for aircraft weighing less than 19,000 pounds, modernizing the small aircraft certification process. Part 23 regulations regarding small aircraft are currently based primarily on aircraft weight and propulsion. As a result, many general aviation manufacturers have a difficult time brining new products to the market for lighter aircraft.
Gregory Bowles, director of engineering and manufacturing for the General Aviation Manufacturing Association (GAMA) and co-chair of FAA's Part 23 rulemaking committee, said he expects the new standards to be accepted by aviation regulators around the world.
"Once the FAA implements the recommendations of the Part 23 Reorganization ARC, we expect to see new and existing manufacturers be able to offer new airplanes and retrofits to existing airplanes at a much quicker and more frequent basis. By assuring that the regulatory environment better addresses Part 23 products, safety will be dramatically increased and pilots will have access to exciting and cost effective airplanes," Bowles said.
A companion Senate bill was introduced in May.