ARTICLE: FAA To Redefine Aviation, Says Chief
As noted here recently, the FAA Part 23 Aviation Rule-making Committee is exploring a truly innovative, creative approach to aircraft certification. In his speech to the Wichita Aero Club, Acting Administrator Huerta repeated that proposal. Statement by the agency chief that this outcome is coming is significant in that he is the chief executive who will authorize the issuance of the Notice of Proposed Rule Making and the final rule.
In the past, the FAA’s detailed standards were embedded in a stagnant set of rules—Part 23. In order to update or revise those rules, the FAA had to draft a new rule, circulate the draft with the Office of Chief Counsel for legal review, get approval from the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, endure a review by the Office of Management and Budget, repeat the OST & OMB process if either or both had serious objections, publish an NPRM in the Federal Register, wait for comments (ordinarily 90 days, but particularly with significant rules the period could be extended), review and analyze the public’s input, revise the draft (if merited; a significantly revised NPRM could mandate republication), publish the final version in the Federal Register, hopefully avoid an appeal to the US Court of Appeals (another 5 years of delay) and then the revision would become final. This process could usually consume as much as 5 years and all too often more.
Historically, the letter seeking a TC from an Aircraft Certification Office initiates a process which takes the standards of Part 23 to a level of specificity that is the real basis of proof of airworthiness. That negotiation between the TC applicant and the ACO can require considerable time.
The ARC proposal, now endorsed by the Acting Administrator, is to roll up 36 of the current rules into a single seminal standard. Then the ASTM (the American Society for Testing and Materials, globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards, would define the specific standards for each aircraft. This, in essence, creates a process that can recognize the complexity of the proposed design and refine the certification basis appropriately. This is a huge change if adopted.
The ARC process is not yet complete. Given the involvement of all of the Civil Aviation Authorities involved in major certification approvals for the avowed purpose of implementing a global standard, the remaining tasks to further develop this new Part 23 concept will have substantial impact on the future. If you plan on a future request for a Normal Category Aircraft TC, it would be wise to attend, actively monitor and attempt to participate in the ARC proceedings either through one of the trade associations on that committee and/or using your own independent Part 23 expert (like one of the JDA certification professionals.Share this article: