No New Part 23, No Problem, Manufacturers Say


While the FAA’s expected revisions to Part 23 have raised hopes in the general aviation community that new aircraft will be certified at twice the speed and half the cost, two manufacturers with new airplanes in the pipeline told AVweb this week that even if those regulations are delayed beyond the mandated December 2015 deadline, they will keep moving forward. “The C4 will be certified first in Europe,” said Tom Peghiny, president of Flight Design USA. The new aircraft, which has often been cited as the “poster plane” for the expected positive impacts of the pending new regulations, will be certified through the EASA ELA (European Light Aircraft) protocol, using the current EASA CS-23 standard. FAA approval then can be sought under EASA/FAA reciprocity agreements. “We can apply as part of our C4 certification package with the FAA for relief for different items (example the Garmin Vision Touch Panel) on a case-by-case basis,” Peghiny said. Pipistrel, which is working on the four-seat Panthera design, also said it won’t be held back by the FAA.

“We are not waiting for Panthera to be certified according to the new Part 23,” company spokesman Tine Tomazic told AVweb. “We are doing it already. When there are simplifications along the way, so much for the better, but the progress of the certification does not at all rest on the state of progress of the new Part 23. We always plan for worst-case scenario, and hiccups in the Part 23 revitalization were considered as viable, so we decided not to wait and base our project on something that is not yet enforced. So, we are not concerned about what the FAA does, whether there are delays or not.”

The C4 is a four-seat aircraft that Flight Design says will sell for $250,000. First flight is expected soon at the company’s facility in Germany. AVweb’s editorial director Paul Bertorelli flew the Panthera in June. The December 2015 deadline for the new regulations was mandated by Congress in the Small Airplane Revitalization Act, passed in 2013.