Fast-Tracking Certification Rules

 

Industry leaders and international regulators are hoping to fast-track a set of recommendations that promise to cut the cost of certifying general aviation products in half and bring new safety products to market sooner.

These recommendations, the product of the Part 23 Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), are on pace to be finalized within the next few months, months ahead of schedule.  The ARC, which recently completed its final meeting, is pushing ahead because FAA officials are anxious to get moving on the recommendations.  Agency officials want to get a proposal out next year and have a final rule in place by 2016.

That is an ambitious schedule for an agency backlogged with rules that Congress has mandated and scare resources to conduct rulemaking.

But the ARC recommendations have rare universal endorsement from international regulators, who also have indicated a desire to move ahead with them. And the effort has received the backing from the highest levels of FAA, including Administrator Michael Huerta.

The recommendations are believed to represent a sea change in how products are certified, structured so they can adapt to new technologies much more quickly.  The foundation would be an international standards-setting body under ASTM.  The industry is also looking at best practices outside aviation, such as those used by NASCAR.

The end result, says ARC co-chair Greg Bowles (who also is director of engineering for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association), is that safety products such as angle of attack indicators, once a more costly install at about $5,000, will be accessible for as little as $500.  “We know we can get there,” Bowles says.

 

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