The FAA today proposed a new rule (see link below for full text) that aims to fundamentally change the way small general aviation airplanes are certified, potentially reducing the time required to bring new technology to the market and also cutting costs. The new rule replaces the current prescriptive design requirements in Part 23 with performance-based standards that maintain the same level of safety. The changes aim to “leverage innovation to ensure the highest level of safety is designed and built into small airplanes,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This proposal would benefit manufacturers, pilots, and the general aviation community as a whole.” GA advocates have been lobbying for the rule change for years. The proposal establishes performance- and risk-based divisions for airplanes with a maximum seating capacity of 19 passengers and a maximum takeoff weight of 19,000 pounds.
“This proposal would streamline how we approve new technologies for small piston-powered airplanes all the way to complex high-performance executive jets,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “The FAA’s collaboration with industry and international partners reflects a performance-based, flexible approach which would accommodate today’s rapidly changing aviation industry and technological advances now and in the future.” GAMA President Pete Bunce said he was glad to see the proposal issued, after nearly a decade and “countless hours” of work by GA advocates and FAA officials. “Going forward, it will be critical that the public and key aviation stakeholders respond quickly with meaningful comments and for the FAA to engage with other global aviation authorities, so a well-harmonized and effective final rule can be issued by the current administration,” Bunce said. “If they do so, the FAA, through its leadership, can put in place a lasting legacy that will benefit general aviation safety and the vitality of the general aviation industry for decades to come.”
A comment period will be open for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register. The FAA has released a video to help explain the new rule.