GA priorities get ‘robust funding’ in omnibus appropriations bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) today thanked U.S. House and Senate negotiators for recommending robust funding of two key GA priorities — the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service and the transition to an unleaded aviation fuel for piston aircraft — in the omnibus appropriations bill.

The Appropriations Committee leaders agreed to fund the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service at the Obama administration’s requested $212 million level for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014.

Earlier, in accompanying report language to the House bill, House Appropriations Committee members expressed concern that “delays in FAA certification of new aircraft and related technologies could negatively affect aviation safety, as well as the economic health and competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee report to their original bill expanded upon this, and noted that strengthening an approach to aviation safety “will allow the FAA workforce to conduct its oversight effectively without constraining the growth and innovation of the aviation industry.

The Senate report also requires the FAA to report to Congress on the agency’s progress in implementing Sections 312 (Aircraft certification process review and reform) and 313 (Consistency of regulatory interpretation) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

The spending negotiators also agreed to include $6 million to facilitate industry development and deployment of an unleaded avgas replacement for 100LL. The proposed funding exceeds the Obama administration’s request of $5.571 million for FY 2014 and is one of a handful of Research & Development (R&D) programs that would receive more funding than requested.

Specifically, the funding would allow the government and industry to implement the recommendations of the FAA’s Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which will support the fleet-wide evaluation, certification, and deployment of an unleaded fuel.

“In a tough budget environment, I’m grateful that funding leaders in Congress strongly endorsed the importance of these two key programs by fully funding them,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “Enabling the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service to operate in a more streamlined, efficient manner will allow our manufacturers to bring needed safety-enhancing products to the marketplace more quickly and easily. Helping the industry to make the transition to unleaded fuel will ensure the long-term vitality of general aviation, keep piston aircraft currently flying in our nation’s skies safe, and improve the environment. I appreciate the hard work of the Appropriations Committees during these negotiations, and hope Congress will move swiftly to approve this measure and provide stability to our industry.”

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