FAA seeks feedback on aircraft certification overhaul

February 2, 2010

The FAA is kicking off a review of 14 CFR Part 23 regulations with a public meeting to discuss the future of small airplane certification, maintenance, and operation.

The agency will have a two-day meeting Feb. 23 and 24 in Wichita, Kan., to discuss Part 23, the aircraft certification standard for most general aviation aircraft. The meeting, the first of at least three, will build on findings from a recent two-year study about the certification process; AOPA and other industry groups worked with the FAA to produce recommendations from the study.

With engine options, composite airframes, and lightweight digital electronics, the GA aircraft being built today are birds of a different feather from those manufactured just two decades ago; but they are still certificated under the same standards. The last thorough review of Part 23 requirements was more than 25 years ago, the FAA said in its notice. The agency expects this review to affect the next 20 years of small airplane design, certification, and operations.

Before it embarked on the Part 23 review, the FAA consulted a group of industry experts, including AOPA. The group recommended that the certification standards be based on aircraft performance, not engine type and airplane weight as is the current standard, because of the increasing performance and complexity of small GA aircraft.

The FAA Small Airplane Directorate is hosting the meeting to discuss the group’s findings with manufacturers, pilots, owners, mechanics, instructors, and anyone else with an interest in the small airplane industry. The meeting will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. See the notice for details.