How LSAs Could Influence Part 23

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Manufacturers may push the FAA to rewrite Part 23 type certification standards, basing their appeal on the perceived success of the Light Sport segment’s ASTM “industry consensus standards,” Dan Johnson said at AirVenture, Wednesday. Johnson is chairman of the board and president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) and said that possibility is one of many arising from new and developing ties between LAMA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Johnson says there is growing recognition that consensus standards have proven to be safe, workable and very economical in the Light Sport category — they have facilitated entry of new designs, and are gaining acceptance as a worldwide standard.

The LSA industry has brought 120 models of aircraft to market from 86 manufacturers over six years, Johnson said. The hope is that similar standards could be adopted for Part 23 certification, bringing similar benefits to the general aviation market. Johnson argued that could allow manufacturers to focus more capital on product development and improvements and less on the costs of individual certification approvals for each country where they see demand. “This means manufacturers can go where they find demand and sell their products without the need for extensive approvals” (and their associated costs), Johnson said. ASTM standards for LSAs have basically been accepted by the European aviation regulatory branch, EASA; Australia has done the same and Brazil may be next, Johnson said. Meanwhile, LAMA has earned a letter of support from the FAA for organizing its own library of technical safety information. LAMASafety.org is a repository of LSA safety information, from service bulletins to service alerts and service notifications. It actively collects that material as it becomes available, serving as a vault for the original information. Meanwhile, visitors to LAMASafety.org are directed to manufacturer’s websites for the information, allowing those manufacturers to control how that information is presented.

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