The Small Airplane Revitalization Act, a bill calling on to rewrite light aircraft standards, is set to head to the Senate floor after the Senate Commerce Committee approved it July 30. The bill, S.1072, is the companion to legislation passed by the House earlier this month.
The bill essentially would require FAA to rewrite Part 23 certification standards, taking into account the recommendations of the Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), by Dec. 31, 2015.
FAA on July 26 released the final ARC recommendations, releasing statements by both Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta endorsing an effort to adopt new standards that improve safety and reduce certification costs.
But while the highest levels of FAA and the Transportation Department have signaled strong support, General Aviation Manufacturers Association President and CEO Pete Bunce says that is not necessarily the case within the FAA. “We know bureaucratic forces within FAA say this kind of change is too sweeping,” Bunce told a forum at AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.
He views the changes as vital to bringing new aircraft, engines and safety technology to the market. “New certified aircraft cost too much,” he says. “A lot of that cost is in certification cost. The price makes it not economically viable.”
While the end of 2015 is an aggressive timetable for FAA, Bunce says, “We need to force them to do this.”
He praised the congressional action, saying it shows the bipartisan support within Congress for addressing the certification standards. He notes this also was evident by the House passage of the bill in a 411-0 vote.