New ASTM committee to develop roadmap to streamline certification process

ASTM International has formed Committee F44 on General Aviation Aircraft, bringing together industry heavyweights from around the world to work on a standards roadmap that will help transform the way general aviation aircraft are manufactured and certified around the world.

The new ASTM Committee F44 was formed at the request of aviation industry organizations in support of the efforts of the FAA’s Part 23 Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC). Part 23 is the section of the Federal Aviation Regulations related to the manufacture and airworthiness of aircraft under 19,000 pounds, with seating for 19 passengers or less. Over the past two decades, Part 23 regulations have failed to keep pace with advances in aviation technology, leading to rising aircraft manufacturing costs and complex and expensive certification processes, which has contributed to an overall decline in general aviation flying, ASTM officials note.

The efforts of Committee F44 will play a role in supporting the overhaul of Part 23 regulations into what the FAA envisions as more of a performance-based document. Industry-driven F44 standards for the design and airworthiness of general aviation aircraft will serve to better align aircraft certification requirements with the type of operation the aircraft will experience.

“Simplified, higher-level rules recommended by the ARC combined with the use of ASTM performance standards that specify the methods of aircraft compliance will bring much needed common sense and flexibility to the regulatory structure,” notes Greg Bowles, director of engineering at the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and co-chair of the ARC. “For years, the high cost of certification has driven up the price of new aircraft and made it prohibitive for manufacturers to bring innovation forward. By addressing the efficiency of the entire manufacturing and certification process, we aim to dramatically improve safety and create a much healthier environment for the aviation industry worldwide.”

ASTM Committee F44 will develop standards that address the complexity and performance of the full spectrum of general aviation aircraft, including design and construction, systems and performance, quality acceptance tests and safety monitoring. Standards development activities will be structured through subcommittees covering flight, structures, powerplant, systems and equipment, terminology, and regulatory and industry liaison.

ASTM’s broad portfolio of aviation-related standards has been created through the work of its existing technical committees dedicated to the field, including F07 on Aerospace and Aircraft, F37 on Light Sport Aircraft and F39 on Aircraft Systems. More than 20 Committee F37 standards have been cited by the FAA in regulations governing light sport aircraft.

Similar to the membership of the Part 23 ARC, which includes representatives from the manufacturing and regulator community from Brazil, Canada, China, Europe and New Zealand, Committee F44 will bring together manufacturers, suppliers, trade associations, user groups and government agencies from around the world.

“The ASTM process, with its ability to connect global experts in an open and collaborative standards development forum, offers the potential to produce game changing results for the aviation industry worldwide,” says Boudewijn Deuss, initial airworthiness rulemaking officer, EASA rulemaking directorate, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and one of the initial members of Committee F44. “The FAA has taken a progressive approach to open the activities of the Part 23 rulemaking committee to participants representing over 90% of the global aviation community. This broad participation continues through to ASTM Committee F44, where international stakeholders will create globally-accepted, consensus standards that establish a common means of regulatory compliance for general aviation aircraft design anywhere in the world.

ASTM Committee F44 will hold its next meeting in conjunction with the Part 23 ARC group on Jan. 10-11, 2013, in Daytona Beach, Fla. To underscore the importance of global cooperation in its standards agenda, F44 will hold its spring meeting along with Committees F37 and F39 on April 22-24, 2013, in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in conjunction with AERO, the global trade show for general aviation.

For more information: ASTM.org/COMMITTEE/F44

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