Europe will implement aircraft certification reforms on the same timeline as the FAA’s Part 23 rewrite announced in December, officials announced as Europe’s largest general aviation show began April 5.
The European Aviation Safety Agency said the new, consensus-based certification standards will greatly ease the cost of regulations borne by aircraft makers and customers. The changes are the product of years of collaborative effort, and finalization of the new rules and performance-based requirements was announced at the outset of Aero Friedrichshafen, Europe's largest GA show held April 5 through 8 in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
The CS-23 framework in Europe was developed over the past decade and in parallel with a collaborative reform effort that also produced the FAA Part 23 overhaul, which was announced in December. The reform efforts on both continents are aligned, and replace “prescriptive” manufacturing and aircraft certification regulations with a system based on standards and processes developed in conjunction with industry and organizations like ASTM International.
Manufacturers and buyers alike will feel the positive effects of the reform, in the form of lower prices and comparatively speedy arrival of new technologies to the GA fleet, including both new aircraft and legacy aircraft that will more easily retrofit.
The FAA has begun implementation, and the first benefits to be felt in the active fleet include lower-cost equipment that enhances safety.
“For good reason, Ford and Chevy are no longer producing their 1950s vehicles, but certification costs and economies of scale have prevented similar design and technological improvements in aircraft design,” Oord said. “At a time where driverless cars have become a reality, we must identify and reduce the regulatory roadblocks that are preventing similar advancements for aviation. AOPA is optimistic that the move to performance-based standards, enabled through this new approach, will go a long way in realizing that goal.”
Oord noted that manufacturers will no longer be limited to a single method of demonstrating compliance, and that industry consensus standards have already proved able to provide the flexibility needed for manufacturers to innovate while ensuring safety is not compromised.
The new EASA CS-23 certification standards take effect in August, coinciding with the analogous changes to Part 23.
General Aviation Manufacturers Association President and CEO Pete Bunce hailed the CS-23 announcement:
“This is a landmark day for the general aviation industry,” Bunce said in a written statement issued from Aero Friedrichshafen. “This rule is nothing less than a total rethinking of how our industry can bring new models of pistons, diesels, turboprops, light jets, and new hybrid and electric propulsion aeroplanes to market, as well as facilitating safety-enhancing modifications and upgrades to the existing fleet.”