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EAA Helps Finalize Part 23 Certification Process Review Report

June 25, 2009 — For the past year and a half EAA staff have been a part of the FAA Small Aircraft Directorate’s Part 23 Certification Process Review, the FAA’s first step as it looks towards revising the current regulations under which small aircraft (under 12,500 lbs) are produced. The report will present a variety of suggestions including a thoughtful approach to rethinking the methodology of how aircraft are defined within Part 23. It will also serve as the base document for the next phase in the FAA’s process to revise the set of certification rules for Airworthiness Standards: Normal, Utility, Acrobatic, and Commuter Category airplanes.

The final report will contain suggestions from EAA and other industry organizations including the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, National Air Transport Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; manufacturers; and FAA staff members from flight test, engineering and maintenance.

EAA’s H.G. Frautschy, executive director of the Vintage Aircraft Association, chairs the Continuing Airworthiness sub-group of the process study group. “It’s been fascinating to learn more about how the FAA approaches the certification of a new Part 23 aircraft,” he noted. “We added our various perspectives about what does and doesn’t work within the current regulations, and how we all can learn from the current processes to make new airplanes better, while preserving the ability to operate our legacy aircraft.”

Although experimental aircraft are not directly affected by changes to Part 23, many of the future technologies, including the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), will be incorporated in the cockpits of the aircraft owned and flown by EAA members. Advanced technologies will also make their way into older certified aircraft.

The committee is currently polishing the final draft of the report, which is expected to be released within the next month or so.

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