expects to propose rule changes this year intended to clear obstacles to certification of helicopter autopilots, flight directors and synthesized power indicators. The Rotorcraft Directorate got FAA
Headquarters’ approval in December to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking seeking public comment on proposed changes to Federal Aviation Regulations Part 27 and 29. Currently, manufacturers, modifications shops and the directorate must go through a protracted process of developing and signing off on paperwork such as Special Conditions, Equivalent-Level-of-Safety findings and Issue Papers that explain why systems should be certified even though the FARs don’t cover their design and operation explicitly. For example, one directorate official said, such “exceptions” are required now for certification of synthesized power indicators (or first-limit indicators, or power situation indicators) and for a one-engine-inoperative (OEI) training mode for engine controls—even though they are common on rotorcraft flying today. Dragging the certification process out even more is the requirement for public comment on exceptions. The rule changes would reduce the need for such exceptions, directorate officials said.