Recognizing that its current rules are "outdated", the US FAA is set to propose sweeping changes to the written rules governing how pilots are alerted to anomalies in transport category aircraft.

In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to be issued 9 July, the FAA aims to bring rules developed in 1977 into the modern era by changing out existing alerting requirements--using "discrete" red, amber and green lights--with logic-based integrated alerting systems. The new alerts can provide "timely attention-getting cues through at least two different senses to sufficiently attract the flight crew's attention", FAA explains.

In addition to harmonizing the FAA's alerting rules with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) warning, caution and advisory alerting system standards, the changes will also ease the certification burden for airframers and the FAA, says the regulator, many of whom are already using new technologies through special certification conditions.

"Because [the rule] is outdated and lacks content commensurate with state-of-the-art flight deck display technology, applicants have to perform additional work when showing compliance to that regulation," the FAA says in the NPRM. "This also results in additional work for the FAA because we must generate issue papers and special conditions when applicants want to install advanced flight deck designs and current display technologies that are not addressed [in the rules]."

The proposed rule, developed with the help of several industry groups including RTCA, adds performance-based requirements that will set standards for alerting system elements including cueing by more than one sense, information content, ease and immediacy of detection, and alert intelligibility.

The FAA says Part 25 aircraft manufacturers will pay approximately $700,000 more to certify a new aircraft design under the new rules.

Comments on the proposal are due in early September.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news