Aircraft Certification Sector sends Mixed Messages to FAA

faa product certification guide
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FAA & Industry Guide to Product Certification

Mixed Messages from Associations & Congress

Associations Praise Update to Product Certification Guide

aviation associations faa product certification guide

The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) today announced the approval of an updated United States (U.S.) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)/Industry Guide to Product Certification. The last version of the guide was published in 2004.

The updated guide will help institutionalize best practices and a new operating norm for FAA, companies and applicants that will prove to be foundational in reaching the next level of safety and certification process effectiveness and efficiency. It incorporates changes based on lessons learned and the most recently published FAA policy guidance. The guide also establishes principles and guidance for how an applicant and the FAA can transition to a state where there is progressively less direct involvement of the FAA in detailed compliance activities, increasing the efficiency of the process while maintaining the same high-level of safety.

Updated Product Certification Guide Calls for Less Direct FAA Involvement

Why Congress needs to pass aircraft certification reform

As discussions continue on addressing various critical aviation and transportation policies, we urge our colleagues to join us in support of reforms to the aircraft certification process. That will help us honor the legacy of past aviation innovators while laying the foundation for future growth and technological innovations.


sam graves rick nolan“Clarifying the roles and responsibilities of industry and FAA oversight offices and facilitating a shift to a systems approach to product certification and safety oversight was a recommendation of the FAA Aircraft Certification Process Review and Reform report to Congress and the Part 21 / Safety Management Systems Aviation Rulemaking Committee,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “We’re proud to work with the FAA and industry to update this guide, and help implement these improvements to ensure the certification process becomes more efficient and consistent, while keeping safety as the number one priority.”

“Strong bipartisan support already exists for certification reforms. In the 114th Congress, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate each passed their version of an FAA reauthorization, with both including provisions to address these issues by driving certification and regulatory changes at the FAA, demanding more aggressive engagement by the FAA in foreign markets to expedite the validation of FAA certified products and safety standards, and facilitating the introduction of new safety innovations and other technologies. These critical reforms will be fundamental pieces of the FAA reauthorization process.”

faa product certification guide

“In our aviation system, the FAA plays an important role in certifying aircraft, engines and avionics, but if the process for certification is flawed, products are prevented from reaching the market in a timely fashion. This is especially true in the global aviation manufacturing industry, where competition is fierce. Simply put, an innovative product may lose out to its competition simply because its certification program is more efficient. But now we have a great opportunity to change that, removing these unnecessary roadblocks to a safer, more efficient aviation industry.”

Representatives Graves and Nolan


The new Part 23, which dramatically reduces the burden on certificate applicants, will be implemented soon. The innovations established in that new rule reflect the substantial cooperation between the FAA and industry.

The FAA and Industry Guide to Product Certification has been issued and has received plaudits from all three associations which seek Design/Production/Airworthiness certificates.

Yet, the sponsors of past enacted bills directed at this specific FAA authority, Rep. Graves and Rep. Nolan, are seeking further reduction of the FAA’s role. The greater FAA role in the international sphere could use better authorization language. Close study of the FAA budget choices and organizational charts would demonstrate that the Administrator has been forced to withdraw his staff presence around the globe for financial reasons. These two Members need to coordinate with the Appropriations Committee leaders to direct funds to overseas commitments.

AEA, AIA and GAMA want to praise the FAA for what has been done. Sending a message through Congress, that there is need for legislation to push further the certification authority, is a bit confusing.


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