On Nov. 27, President Barack Obama signed into law the Small Plane Revitalization Act, a bill that requires the FAA to adopt new certification regulations that should reduce the cost of aircraft and avionics upgrades.
The Small Airplane Revitalization Act (SARA) gives the FAA until Dec. 31, 2015, to adopt changes to the Federal Aviation Regulation Part 23, which governs the certification of many general aviation aircraft.
Manufacturers say that a streamlined Part 23 will reduce certification costs and the price of new aircraft. The changes should also reduce the certification cost and price of modifications of all types, from avionics to airbags and seats to restraints, making it more affordable for owners to install modern safety equipment in older aircraft.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, who favors a revised Part 23, has stated that the changes will double safety at half the cost.
“Passage of the Small Airplane Revitalization Act (SARA) is great news for the general aviation community,” said Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). “Reforming the way the FAA certifies aircraft can help more pilots fly more safely while lowering their costs — and that’s exactly the kind of support general aviation needs to thrive. We’re appreciative of bipartisan efforts of the House and Senate GA Caucus members who developed this bill and saw it through.”
SARA was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in May and passed in July by a 410-0 vote. It was introduced by House General Aviation Caucus member Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas). Original cosponsors included House GA Caucus co-chair Sam Graves (R-Missouri) and GA Caucus members Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois), Rick Nolan (D-Minnesota) and Todd Rokita (R-Indiana). In the Senate, a similar bill was also introduced in May by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who are also GA Caucus members.
The two measures were reconciled, with final passage in Congress on Nov. 14, and subsequently sent to President Obama for his signature.
“We applaud President Obama for making the Small Airplane Revitalization Act the law of the land today,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “The tremendous support this law enjoyed in Congress, and the speed with which it moved through the legislative process, demonstrates a bipartisan commitment to safety, as well as a recognition that the FAA’s overly bureaucratic, outdated, and prescriptive regulations must change. We appreciate the widespread support among members of Congress for this landmark legislation, and want to especially thank the bill’s lead sponsors, Congressman Pompeo and Senator Klobuchar, for their leadership and commitment in ensuring this bill reached the President’s desk. This law is a win for the government as well as general aviation airframers and suppliers, but more importantly, for the general aviation pilots and passengers who will be able to benefit more rapidly from new safety-enhancing technologies.”