The final rule by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aimed at overhauling airworthiness standards for general aviation (GA) airplanes went into effect in late August.
The FAA says it expects the rule will enable faster installation of innovative, safety-enhancing technologies into small airplanes, while reducing costs for the aviation industry. (Watch a video from the FAA on the new rule.)
The new part 23 affects standards for airplanes weighing 19,000 pounds or less and with 19 or fewer passenger seats by replacing what the FAA says were "prescriptive requirements" with performance-based standards coupled with "consensus-based compliance methods for specific designs and technologies." The rule, which was promulgated in late 2016, also adds new certification standards to address GA loss of control accidents and in-flight icing conditions.
The new rule was written in response to congressional mandates that direct the FAA to streamline approval of safety advancements for small GA airplanes. It also addresses recommendations from the FAA’s 2013 Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which suggested a more streamlined approval process for safety equipment on those airplanes.
The new part 23 also promotes regulatory harmonization among the FAA’s foreign partners, including the European Aviation Safety Agency, Transport Canada Civil Aviation and Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Authority. The FAA says that harmonization may help minimize certification costs for airplane and engine manufacturers, and operators of affected equipment, who want to certify their products for the global market.