US government embraces new Part 23 recommendations

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Eighteen months of hard graft to reorganise design and certification requirements for light aircraft seems to be paying off for the general aviation community following the US government's decision to adopt the recommendations into its Small Aircraft Revitalization Act (SARA) of 2013.

According to the US General Aviation Manufacturers Association, which has been spearheading the reorganisation, SARA plans to implement by the end of 2015 the Federal Aviation Administration's Part 23 Reorganisation Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) recommendations. ARC has sought to create a regulatory environment that will contribute significantly to revitalising the health and safety of new and existing GA aircraft up to 5,700kg (12,600lb) while cutting certification costs.

"The lighter segments of GA have suffered in terms of new product ­innovation as a result of overly prescriptive and rigid rules," says Greg Bowles, GAMA's director of engineering and manufacturing and ARC co-chairman. "The reorganisation is designed to regulate the safety of GA aircraft based on requirements that are proportionate to the complexity and performance of the aircraft, rather than on existing arbitrary divisions based on weight and propulsion. The new rules should slash certification costs and will be ­relevant for the next 20 years," Bowles adds.

GAMA president Pete Bunce says given the support of "bipartisan sponsors of the bill", the FAA should now move quickly to embrace the ARC's recommendations. "These will improve safety, allow manufacturers to invest in new products, install lifesaving equipment on current aircraft and develop new products at a price point that makes sense to our customers," he says.

These updated requirements "will bring new energy to the lighter segment of the aircraft market which is anaemic right now", Bunce adds.

The ARC was formed in 2011 and comprises 150 representatives from industry and aviation authorities from across the globe. It is hoped the recommendations will be adopted worldwide, leading to a globally harmonised standard.