Part 23 Rewrite Reaction: Tom Peghiny


General aviation manufacturers have been talking for years about revising Part 23, the rule that regulates certification of small aircraft, and a draft new rule was recently released by the FAA. This far-ranging rule will affect almost everyone involved in general aviation, especially aircraft buyers and aircraft manufacturers. Tom Peghiny, president of Flight Design USA, has been keeping a close watch on the rulemaking process, and told AVweb at Sun ‘n Fun today that “from our immediate position, regarding two- and four-place aircraft, it all looks good …There’s more options for bringing more light aircraft to the market.”

What the rule changes mean, for example, Peghiny said, is that it might be possible for aircraft now sold as light sport aircraft to be certified, under the new rules, to fly into IMC, or to offer higher gross weights, or to offer increased performance in the two-place category. It will make it easier for manufacturers in Europe and elsewhere to offer their products for sale in the U.S. market. “It will also make it easier for entrepreneurs in the US to make simple four- and six-place airplanes,” he said. “It really opens things up again. I think it’s exciting, and it’s a move forward for general aviation.” Peghiny added that one thing the new rules won’t do is to offer a pathway for certifying electric-powered GA aircraft.

Flight Design’s C4 design has pushed against the limits of the current Part 23, coming out last year with a plan to use non-certified avionics, which is not currently possible. “This was critical for the C4,” Peghiny said. “We really couldn’t move forward that much … it’s very positive that the NPRM came out and now it can move forward.” The proposed rule is long and complex, and AVweb will be talking with more GA manufacturers, advocates and experts here at Sun ‘n Fun for more reaction to what it will mean, and opinions about how it might change before coming a final rule — and how long that process might take.