New certification rule for small airplanes comes into effect

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The FAA has announced that the final rule overhauling airworthiness standards for general aviation airplanes published in December 2016 (Part 23) has officially gone into effect. The FAA expects this rule to enable faster installation of innovative, safety-enhancing technologies into small airplanes, while reducing costs for the aviation industry.

With these performance-based standards, the FAA delivers on its promise to implement forward-looking, flexible rules that encourage innovation. Specifically, Part 23 revolutionizes standards for airplanes weighing 19,000 lb or less and with 19 or fewer passenger seats, by replacing prescriptive requirements with performance-based standards coupled with consensus-based compliance methods for specific designs and technologies. The rule also adds new certification standards to address general aviation loss of control accidents and inflight icing conditions.

This regulatory approach recognizes there is more than one way to deliver on safety. It offers a way for industry and the FAA to collaborate on new technologies and to keep pace with evolving aviation designs and concepts.

The new rule responds to Congressional mandates that direct the FAA to streamline approval of safety advancements for small GA (general aviation) airplanes. It also addresses recommendations from the FAA’s 2013 Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which suggested a more streamlined approval process for safety equipment on those airplanes.

The new Part 23 also promotes regulatory harmonization among the FAA’s foreign partners, including the European Aviation Safety Agency, Transport Canada Civil Aviation, and Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC). Harmonization may help minimize certification costs for airplane and engine manufacturers, and operators of affected equipment, who want to certify their products for the global market.

In the October 2016 issue of Business Airport International, Melvin Johnson, then acting manager at the FAA’s Small Airplane Directorate, spoke about why the authority decided to rewrite Part 23. Click here to read the full interview.

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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