Conceding that the certification process for light general aviation airplanes has become a complicated and counter-productive morass of rules and restrictions, the FAA has formed a committee whose responsibility will focus on modernizing the design and manufacturing of entry-level Part 23 airplanes.
FAA officials and industry leaders are hopeful the streamlined regulations will result in lower costs for future aircraft and growth opportunities for the existing Special Light Sport Aircraft (S-LSA) manufacturers, while increasing safety across the spectrum of light general aviation airplanes.
The rewrite of the certification rules, expected sometime next year, will seek to align certification requirements for small airplanes while eliminating the need for special conditions on high-performance and complex aircraft such as very light jets.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association hailed the formation of the FAA’s Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), saying it could be the necessary catalyst for a resurgence of the light end of the GA market.
“General aviation activity on the light end has been in a steady decline for decades,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “The number of new airplanes being sold today is but a tiny fraction of decades past. While there are a number of factors contributing to this decline, one very prevalent issue is the increasing cost of certification and manufacturing oversight, which has led to a lack of cost-effective, entry-level products that can attract new pilots. We believe the FAA’s vision for the new Part 23 rules will enhance the vitality of GA for future generations of pilots and aircraft owners.”
The strict safety standards that are a hallmark of U.S.-certified airplanes will become even more effective as the rules become increasingly tailored to the products and technologies undergoing certification, Bunce added.