WASHINGTON, DC, August 22, 2011 – The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) welcomes the formation of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), which will modernize the design and manufacturing rules for entry-level, certified airplanes. Ultimately, GAMA expects streamlined regulations to result in lower cost for entry-level, certified airplanes and growth opportunities for the existing Special Light Sport Aircraft (S-LSA) manufacturers, while increasing safety for all light general aviation (GA) airplanes.
“General aviation activity on the light end has been in a steady decline for decades,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “The number of new airplanes being sold today is but a tiny fraction of decades past. While there are a number of factors contributing to this decline, one very prevalent issue is the increasing cost of certification and manufacturing oversight, which has led to a lack of cost-effective, entry-level products which attract new pilots. GAMA believes the FAA’s vision for the new Part 23 rules will enhance the vitality of GA for future generations of pilots and aircraft owners.”
As the FAA has worked to address airplanes with increased complexity and performance, the certification process for light aircraft has become over-burdensome. The rewrite of these certification rules will align the requirements to address simple products with equivalent rules while eliminating the need for special conditions on high-performance and complex aircraft such as light jets. This makes certification and manufacturing for a particular product more efficient, thereby decreasing the cost of these airplanes and acting as a catalyst for the resurgence of the light end of the market.
Additionally, the strict safety standards that are a hallmark of U.S. certified airplanes will become even more effective as the rules become increasingly tailored to the products and technologies undergoing certification. GAMA hopes that authorities from around the world will participate as observers in this process so that these new certification standards for light aircraft will be consistent and accepted around the globe.
As we look towards the future, the rewrite will also assure that the FAA design regulations are flexible in nature so they properly address airplanes and new technologies built over the next 20 years. Flexibility in the requirements is necessary to maintaining the level of innovation and safety we have come to expect in general aviation. The rewrite will also give LSA manufacturers a more direct way to expand into the Part 23 certified market with future products.
“The new S-LSA airplanes will certainly continue to attract new interest in aviation, but without cost-effective, entry-level certified aircraft, many of these new pilots will not continue the adventure of flying and advanced ratings. We could not be more pleased that the FAA has taken on this initiative,” concluded Bunce.