Part 23 Means of Compliance, the nitty gritty of performance-based certification

P23 Fed Reg MOC
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FAA Publishes Means to Comply with Part 23

Performance-based certification next step

nitty, gritty details


They are here—the nitty gritty details of how a Part 23 type certificate applicant might demonstrate the airworthiness of the proposed aircraft. As the below brief history indicates it has taken a while to get to the standards, but hopefully now that the trail is laid out with these Means of Compliance (MOCs), acceleration of the Part 23 review will commence.

Here is a brief review of this rule’s history:

  • It has been gestating almost eleven years.
  • It was the subject of two statutes (FAMRA and SARA) exhorting the FAA to expedite the issuance of these rules.
  • It represents the work of one of the most impressive, international and inclusive
  • It reverses a regulatory postulate established by Secretary Pena in 1995 labeled “One Level of Safety” and announced a “safety continuum philosophy” in which “…one level of safety may not be appropriate for all aviation. The FAA accepts higher levels of risk, with correspondingly fewer requirements for the demonstration of compliance, when aircraft are used for personal transportation.
  • there may be some question whether the field staff charged with implementing the new “performance-based” standard will be able to revise their regulatory perspective
    • from a process of dialectical submission of data by the TC proponent and FAA review
    • to a more collaborative mechanism in which the TC applicant and the regulators assess the safety risks of the design and then work toward a testing program with the assistance of ATSM.
  • The lengthy history of this NPRM is unusual in that the work product of the Certification Process Study/ Part 23 Regulatory Review/ Part 23 ARC efforts was thorough, extremely well-written and by all accounts ready for publication. In spite of that extensive preparation of what was considered to be a final product, the staff took over two years to issue an NPRM. To add to the curious delay, Congress passed FAMRA and SARA urging that the rule be promulgated.
  • While the general theme is to become less prescriptive, the NPRM includes two new specific criteria. The Part 23 applicant must demonstrate the aircraft’s design as it relates to Loss of Control and Super-cooled Large Drop Icing.

old and new aircraft

The Federal Register notice lists the 63 MOCs developed by industry to provide guidance for the applicants; here is a sample of those new criteria:

The agency accepted 46 of the ASTM consensus standards as MOCs without change; the other 17 MOCs are a combination of the ASTM standards and FAA changes. Also, AC 23.2010-1 – FAA Accepted Means of Compliance Process for 14 CFR Part 23, provides more information as to the application of MOCs.

means of compliance


After all of this work it will be interesting to see how the newly constituted FAA AIR organization will accept the new performance-based, as opposed to prescriptive, standards.

Part 23 org chart

The goal of rewriting the old regulations was to enhance safety and innovation in this class of aircraft. With the issuance of these MOCs, we will see how much rules truly impact industry. How soon will planes like these be rolling off of manufacturing plants.

P23 performance based aircraft



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