By praising EASA, GAMA is really criticizing FAA?

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GAMA issued a positive press release congratulating the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for issuing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Amendment (A-NPA) to modernize the way smaller airplanes are certificated. The message from the Part 23 manufacturers association indicated that the EASA draft A-NPA is the “most mature and complete draft of the airworthiness standards to date”. With a certain level of irony in GAMA’s comment that the new document  “is largely based on the work of the FAA’s Part 23 Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which was co-chaired by GAMA’s Greg Bowles and included participation of international aviation authorities and global industry.”

What is unsaid is the real significance of this GAMA message — that the Europeans are ahead of the FAA in writing this joint project.

The Part 23 ARC was sponsored and led by the US aviation authority with many of the other CAA’s. GAMA has been vocal about the slowness of the drafting of the revision/modernization of its standards and processes.

Last summer, the Aviation Subcommittee of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee held a hearing on “Domestic Aviation Manufacturing: Challenges and Opportunities.” Associate Administrator Gilligan testified about her staff’s progress in converting the ARC’s work product into final rules. Her statement was that the lawyers were reviewing the changes and the estimated date of issuance had slipped. GAMA President Bunce expressed extreme dissatisfaction over the tardiness.

The GAMA statement really is a subtle way of complaining about the comparative stagnation of the FAA’s rulemaking work.

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