OSHKOSH, Wis. – Certification of Flight Design’s C4 four-seat light aircraft will not be held up by the FAA’s up to two-year delay in rewriting the Part 23 regulations that cover standards for general aviation aircraft.

The C4, which is being used as "the guinea pig" to help guide the rewrite of the Part 23 rules in both Europe and the U.S., will be certified on time in summer 2015, Flight Design Technical Director Oliver Reinhardt said at AirVenture here.

While the Experimental Aircraft Association and U.S. manufacturers of certified light aircraft are frustrated with the FAA for dragging its feet in bringing the certification rules up to date, Reinhardt says the C4 will be certified under the current European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) CS Part 23 rules, which are "softer" and not absolute. The certification will carry a "special condition" that will say the C4 must meet the new rules when they are written. With EASA certification, a "validation’" process will qualify the C4 for FAA certification.

So despite the lengthy talks between FAA and industry in hammering out new Part 23 rules, "nothing is holding us back," Reinhardt says. "We are working with the FAA, and they are doing a lot to make sure we get a useful regulation." Indeed, deliveries of the first C4s could take place before the new rules are in place if negotiations linger beyond the middle of next year.

Flight Design’s C4 is the first venture into standard certification by the world’s leading manufacturer of light sport aircraft. It plays a crucial role in the company’s future plans, and is expected to be produced in such volumes that assembly sites have already been identified in Europe, the U.S. and China.

Among its radical features are a crashworthy "safety box" encompassing the cabin, developed as a project of the German government. Rather than design just the seats to absorb impact, the cabin, firewall, landing gear, restraints and interior have all been engineered into a protective safety system that directs load paths away from the occupants. The rewritten Part 23 rules, which the FAA and EASA hope will be common to both certification authorities, will recognize such advances in technology.

The prototype C4 is nearing completion in Germany and will fly at the beginning of September.