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Part 23 reform takes effect

Aircraft certification reforms long in the making (and backed by AOPA, among other advocates) took effect Aug. 30, creating new ways to improve safety and affordability across the general aviation fleet.

Pipistrel's all-electric Panthera, seen here at Aero Friedrichshafen in April, is among the new designs expected to benefit from Part 23 reform. Photo courtesy of Pipistrel.

The final rule that reforms small aircraft certification standards was issued in December, and allows manufacturers to use performance-based, consensus standards in lieu of “prescriptive” standards that have long hindered the development and implementation of new technologies in both new aircraft and the existing fleet. AOPA Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs David Oord said the new certification rule and methods of compliance will reverse that situation, improving safety and reducing cost, and also speeding the arrival of new aircraft and equipment.

“We are expecting to see new aircraft designs come to market that incorporate new and novel technologies at a price point that was previously unattainable,” Oord said. “General aviation is at a critical point in its history, and we believe that this reform, now effective, will make significant improvements in both the safety and affordability of the GA fleet while serving as a catalyst for growth.” 

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association has had a central role in the reform process, from conception to execution, and recently organized a series of workshops with the FAA to help educate manufacturers and other stakeholders about the implications and opportunities of the new regulatory approach.

Part 23 reform also was supported by Congress, which mandated that the FAA streamline the approval process for equipment that will enhance safety in both new and existing GA aircraft. The new rule applies to aircraft weighing 19,000 pounds or less, with 19 or fewer passenger seats, and will allow much easier and less expensive retrofits of equipment designed to prevent loss of control, or mitigate icing, among other things.

Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Managing Editor-Digital Media
Digital Media Managing Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot, as well as a certificated remote pilot, who enjoys competition aerobatics and flying drones.
Topics: Aircraft Regulation

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