EAA & FAA Fostering a New Age in Aviation Safety & Economy
The New Part 23 & Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) Process
When the FAA issued its new, innovative approach to certification of General Aviation Aircraft, called Revision of Airworthiness Standards for Normal, Utility, Acrobatic and Commuter Category Airplanes, Flight Standards’ senior management knew that it was unleashing a wave of new creativity. The below article reveals an area touched by that regulatory revision, if not revolution, which may not have been completely anticipated.
Sean Elliott, EAA’s Vice President, Advocacy & Safety, is the oracle of how the new Part 23 may result in increased options for his association’s members’ airplanes. His words are based on a January 17, 2017 meeting with FAA officials from Washington, Oklahoma City and Chicago at the Oshkosh headquarters. Elliot wanted to expand on EAA’s success of its supplemental type certificate to install a non-certified Dynon primary flight display in their certified aircraft.
The meeting apparently evolved into how to utilize the risked-based certification regime to low-risk non-certified safety- and performance-related equipment on certified aircraft using the Parts Manufacturing Approval Process. Elliott explained that this novel PMA technique would be limited to parts that supplement the required gear on certified aircraft that don’t interfere with those systems if they fail. So, primary instruments and other essential equipment will be left out of the process but that still leaves a wide range of products that have been developed for the experimental world that could benefit the owners of certified planes. He said engine monitors and fuel flow monitors might be the next targets of the program.
“This is really significant,” he said. “It will lower costs. It will bring more safety-enhancing and performance-enhancing products into the cockpit for all general aviation pilots that we in the experimental world have appreciated for some time now.”
The brilliance of the new Part 23 analytical paradigm is that the degree of engineering scrutiny is set to the level of risk that is appropriate. EAA and the FAA are fostering a new age in aviation safety and economy.