New Committee Advances Part 23 Certification Review

Late last month, ASTM International’s F44 Technical Committee met for the first time in Atlanta. The group aims to use industry consensus standards in revising the certification process for standard-category general aviation aircraft.

The cost of Part 23 certification has been a major barrier to new aircraft development, and also to the process of retrofitting existing designs with modern equipment. The F44 committee hopes to reduce the cost of FAA certification by half, while doubling the safety of new aircraft by encouraging the use of newer, safer equipment.

The committee builds on work performed so far by the Part 23 Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), a partnership between the FAA and various industry stakeholder groups, including the Experimental Aircraft Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Industry consensus standards, which have been used in the ASTM F37 committee’s approval process for light sport aircraft designs, is seen as a safe and far more economical basis for aircraft certification.

EAA vice president of advocacy and safety Sean Elliott said, “The use of industry consensus standards as a method of certification for standard-category aircraft has the potential to not only lower the cost of new aircraft, but also to dramatically simplify the retrofit process. This will benefit all our members who fly type-certificated aircraft, both the existing fleet as well as new manufactured airplanes.”

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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