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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Part 23 Rewrite Effort Gains Traction With New Bill

By Woodrow Bellamy III

The CS-23/Part 23 reorganization efforts gained traction in the United States on Tuesday with the introduction of a bill aimed to reduce regulations and certification costs for smaller general aviation aircraft regulated under FAA's Part 23.
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) introduced the Small Aircraft Revitalization Act (SARA), which would establish a 2015 deadline for implementing FAA's Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee's (ARC) recommendations. The effort is similar to a campaign in Europe to change EASA's CS-23 regulation.
"The existing outdated certification process needlessly increases the cost of safety and technology upgrades by up to 10 times. With this bill, we can ensure that the general aviation industry has what it needs to thrive," said Pompeo. 
The overall goal in the reorganization effort is to set high level certification standards, in place of rigid, mandatory regulations that increase cost and time for getting new technologies that enhance safety and performance into aircraft. The new rules have the potential to set international certification standards for aircraft weighing less than 19,000 pounds, and modernize the small aircraft certification approval process.
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President Ed Bolen welcomes the legislation, as he believes it would greatly benefit the business aviation industry, with so many business jets falling under Part 23 regulations. 
"It has been evident for many years that the Part 23 certification process needs to be adjusted to better suit the level of technology available in general aviation aircraft today. This legislation would remove the arbitrary hurdles in place under current certification standards, while also establishing a standardized, deliberative method to ensure that the latest operational and safety advances are available to the companies relying on business aviation, as quickly as possible," said Bolen.
Right now, both Part 23 and CS-23 regulations are primarily based on aircraft weight and propulsion. As a result, the lighter segments of GA have suffered in terms of bringing new products to the market and certifying new aircraft. For example, the cost  of installing an angle of attack indicator into an average lightweight GA aircraft is about $800; installing it into a certified aircraft costs operators up to $5,000 due to certification fees. 
Industry group General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has been leading the call for Part 23/CS-23 reorganization in the United States and Europe. 
"Instead of telling you how to certify your aircraft component, we're going to tell you that you have to do it, setting high level safety goals, so that when a new technology comes along, we just set a new standard, instead of constantly going through rule changes," said Gregory Bowles, director of engineering and manufacturing at GAMA. Bowles served as industry co-chair of FAA's Part 23 ARC.
GAMA has also been working with authorities in Canada, Brazil, China and other countries in an effort to adopt a global standard similar to the Part 23 rewrite provisions offered by Pompeo's light aircraft legislation.  
“We hope the bill will spur the FAA to move quickly in adopting the ARC’s recommendations to improve safety and help to revitalize the lighter end of the aircraft market," said Pete Bunce, president and CEO of GAMA. 

The ARC's Part 23 recommendations were sent to FAA last week.  

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