General Aviation Manufacturers Association President Pete Bunce said Wednesday at Aero in Friedrichshafen that the international regulatory community has seen the light on revising certification rules and efforts to overhaul Part 23 and its international equivalents are gaining momentum. “When you can go and put modern equipment into an amateur-built aircraft and have it perform just tremendously well, but then it costs ten times as much to be able to put that into a certified airplane … wait a second, our regulatory process is defeating the purpose for which it was set up, and that’s to enhance safety. We, as an industry, need to change that.”
At Aero this week, some 80 regulators from all over the world were meeting to harmonize certification requirements for light aircraft that would simplify new certification projects and, it’s hoped, dramatically slash the cost and time necessary to bring new products to market. “That type of changing the thinking and whole mindset of the regulators working together with industry has got some tremendous potential,” Bunce added. “The goals of this rewrite are many, but the sound bite we like to use, which was actually coined by the regulators, was doubling the safety at half the cost.” And said Bunce, it’s not just lowering the cost to manufacturers and eventually customers, but also for regulators.
Bunce said that ideas being considered by regulators here at Aero and elsewhere are “truly dynamic.” Certification costs are generally thought to account for a third to up to 40 percent of the cost of a typical light aircraft. GAMA’s thinking is that lowering cert costs will allow even lower aircraft prices because the market will expand at the lower end. Bunce said one critical goal is to reduce product development cycles from five to seven years to a year or two. Critical to the success of the CS23/Part 23 revision is to have all countries on the same page and the same timeline. “We have the leaders of those agencies talking about this issue when they give public speeches,” Bunch said. Watch for a more in-depth interview with Bunce later in AVweb‘s continuing coverage of Aero 2013.