On Tuesday, July 16, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013. Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) introduced H.R. 1848 May 7, which was passed unanimously by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last week. The bill now moves to the Senate, where Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced a companion bill, S. 1072.
With the passage of the Small Aircraft Revitalization Act by the House, it appears the collaborative effort during the past 18 months by the Federal Aviation Administration Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) has paid off and resulted in proposed legislation. The bipartisan-supported bill would update and streamline burdensome regulations on the general aviation industry and thereby improve safety, decrease costs and free private-sector innovation.
"The Aircraft Electronics Association applauds the action taken by the House and urges the Senate to act soon,” said Paula Derks, AEA president. “The AEA has taken an active role in the Part 23 ARC and helped craft the recommendations on maintenance and retrofit of the existing general aviation fleet, as well as the certification of the next generation of avionics and safety-enhancing electronics. The association commends Mr. Pompeo's leadership by introducing a bill that encourages the acceptance and use of consensus standards. The AEA also has been active with ASTM International in developing consensus standards for the next generation of nonessential, nonrequired safety-enhancing avionics technologies.
"General aviation safety can be improved by modernizing and revamping the regulations for this sector to clear the path for technology adoption and cost-effective means to retrofit the existing fleet with new safety technologies. As general and business aviation has suffered from the Obama administration's constant rhetoric during the past five years, this bill gives general aviation a much-needed boost and will help those products be more efficiently certified for general aviation installations."
The AEA played host to the FAA Part 23 ARC's working group twice in 2012 at its international headquarters in Lee's Summit, Mo. Members of the ARC were charged with creating a progressive, tiered certification system – from low-complexity, low-performance airplanes all the way to high-complexity, high-performance airplanes – so small recreational airplanes won't have to be designed and certificated under the same regulatory requirements as heavier, more complex, and higher-performance aircraft. The focus was on improved safety, reduced cost and promoting innovation. Part 23 outlines FAA certification standards for most light civil aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds.
The Small Aircraft Revitalization Act of 2013 incorporates many of the ideas brought forth by the ARC's working group, which included Ric Peri, AEA vice president of government and industry affairs. The bill would require the FAA to implement the ARC recommendations by Dec. 31, 2015.