House Committee passes GA revitalization act

WASHINGTON, D.C.—An aviation committee in the House of Representatives passed by unanimous vote the Small Airplane Revitalization Act Wednesday, July 10 — the first step toward cutting certification costs on aircraft and equipment.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) introduced the bill, which had 31 co-sponsors.

The bill’s stated purpose is to “advance the safety and continued development of small airplanes by reorganizing the certificate requirements to streamline the approval of safety advancements.”

It requires the administrator of the FAA to issue a final rule meeting certain consensus-based standards and FAA Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee objectives.

It includes creating a regulatory regime for small aircraft safety, as well as setting broad, outcome-driven objectives that will spur small plane innovation and technology adoption.

It also requires replacing current, prescriptive requirements contained in FAA rules with performance-based regulation, as well as using FAA-accepted consensus standards to clarify how Part 23 safety objectives may be met by specific small plane safety designs and techniques.

The administrator is directed to have these changes in place by Dec. 31, 2015.

Aviation advocacy groups were quick to hail passage of the bill by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. They say enacting these changes in FAA regulations will spur advancement of the introduction of new technology and reduce costs by enabling faster certification, meaning less costs to manufacturers.

Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), said the bill “will help industry and the FAA develop and adopt more effective, consensus-based compliance standards that would spur manufacturers’ investment in aircraft design and help put critical life-saving equipment into the existing fleet of airplanes.”

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) officials called passage “a significant legislative step toward making general aviation aircraft safer and more affordable.”

Rob Hackman, AOPA’s vice president of regulatory affairs, said the association now looks forward to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta moving as quickly as possible with these changes.

Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), applauded the committee’s action to move the legislation forward for consideration by the full House. He said the new guidelines carry the potential to drastically improve the fortunes of an industry that continues to struggle in this difficult and challenging economic climate.

The bill is expected to get support and passage from the full House. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate, but no action has yet been taken on it.

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