Washington, DC—The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee today passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill, which would provide support for improving the certification process for new aircraft products and technologies, and advance the transition to an unleaded aviation fuel for piston aircraft.
The report accompanying the bill requires the FAA to report to Congress on its work to implement Section 312 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which focuses on aircraft certification process review and reform. The FAA must also inform Congress on its efforts to boost workforce and training programs for FAA certification inspectors, engineers, and specialists. Furthermore, the bill presses the agency to move forward on meeting the rulemaking deadline established in the Small Airplane Revitalization Act. The House bill included similar provisions.
In addition, the Committee voted to approve $6 million—which is above President Obama’s $5.7 million request—for the transition from the 100 octane low-lead gas that fuels piston-engine aircraft currently to a future unleaded aviation gas. The money would be used to evaluate viable alternative fuels and to eventually develop and deploy an unleaded aviation gasoline. The House bill funded this transition at the same level.
“The Committee’s action today shows the need for the FAA to make the certification process more efficient and more cost-effective for general aviation manufacturers to speed equipage of safety-enhancing technology in the marketplace,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “It also demonstrates lawmakers’ commitment to working with the industry as we seek to put into use an unleaded avgas that will serve our customers’ safety needs, improve the environment, and minimize economic impact.”
He added, “We appreciate the support of all committee members, especially the leadership of Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Transportation Subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME), in advancing these important priorities. With both House and Senate appropriators now voicing their strong support, we hope Congress will soon finalize this funding legislation to enable further progress on these critical safety and economic initiatives.”