FAA has moved from Prescriptive to Performance Certification
Key to new Standards is ASTM International consensus
FAA accepts 2nd Iteration of Acceptable Means of Compliance
In perhaps the most dramatic change in AIRCRAFT CERTIFICATION, an international team, industry, academics, FAA,EASA, Transport Canada, the UK Civil Aviation Authority and most of the globe’s CAAs, worked together to revise the Part 23 Airworthiness Standards: Normal Category Airplanes. Equally rare, the leading CAAs issued virtually the same regulations contemporaneously.
In fact the process was slower than most FAA rulemakings. Once promulgated, implementation by industry and the FAA required considerable time to prepare the users and FAA staff- quite a challenge. The reason for this deliberation? The transition from the old prescription certification approach to performance analysis required a major transformation in perspective and personnel. In a simplistic summary, if a Part 23 TC application includes new design or materials or other innovation, the FAA will not go through a complex, slow rulemaking exercise, but rather seek standards from the industry group ASTM International. Once that technical, highly competent standards organization reaches a consensus, the FAA will review and them issue the AMOCs.
New ASTM Standard to Support Technology, Design and Safety of Small Airplanes
Here ,the work product came from Committee F44 on General Aviation Aircraft. Committee F44 meets twice a year, usually in April and October, with members attending three days of technical meetings. The Committee, with a membership of approximately 250, currently has jurisdiction over 30 standards. F44 standards will be published in the Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Volume 15.09. F44 has 5 technical subcommittees that maintain jurisdiction over these standards
The key to making the performance-based airworthiness determination is the Alternate Means of Compliance:
The FAA has signed off on a series of Part 23 aircraft standards developed through the international government/industry standards body, ASTM International, marking another step in the evolution of the light aircraft certification process.
In the newly released notice of availability (NOA), the agency outlined 35 new and revised consensus standards that are viewed as acceptable means of compliance. The NOA was the second that the agency has released in support of new performance-based standards for Part 23 aircraft; it released the first in May 2018.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), which was deeply involved in the rewrite of Part 23 to provide for a consensus-based approach to developing performance-based standards for new aircraft and products, lauded the release of the NOA, saying the accepted consensus standards will encourage safety and innovation, as well as developments in advanced air mobility.
“We applaud the FAA’s work to accept the latest set of important means of compliance standards,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “Going forward, the FAA needs to continue working to improve and standardize the acceptance process because it will support a regulatory environment that advances innovation and development of safety-enhancing technologies. This effort is about being future-ready for the opportunities that await this vital and vibrant industry.”
The standards cover a range of areas, including simplified loads criteria, fuel and energy storage and delivery, and safety assessment of systems, as well as methods of addressing high-intensity radiated fields (HIRF) and indirect effects of lightning, GAMA said.
An ASTM International committee on general aviation aircraft involving more than 400 industry and government representatives from around the world developed the standards. Work is ongoing on other areas of certification and is particularly important as new forms of aircraft, such as eVTOLs, continue to be developed.
“This recognition of updated and new standards demonstrates how the collaborative relationships between authorities and industry enable equipage of safety-enhancing and innovative technologies into general aviation in a timely manner,” GAMA said.
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