Revamping Part 23
Opening the door for growth and innovation
ONE OF THE MAJOR INITIATIVES EAA will be a part of this year is the
Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC).
This ARC has the potential to change the regulatory environment
in a way that would allow for greater innovation and growth. Its
recommendations could allow new aircraft to be more affordable
and safe—two of EAA’s top priorities.
Part 23 of the Federal Regulations covers the airworthiness
standards for general aviation aircraft. Historically, the FAA has
hosted regulatory reviews for Part 23 about every 10 years with the
last performed in 1984, so we’re a little overdue and the current fleet
reflects that. Other than avionics, the Cessna 172 hasn’t changed
much in more than 50 years! Pilots seeking innovative and new
aircraft have naturally migrated to those segments of aviation where
the regulations allow for modernization that can be had more
affordably—experimental amateur-built and light-sport aircraft.
Over the past two decades, Part 23 has been shifting in complexity
toward more sophisticated, high-performance airplanes, which has
placed increased burden on simple airplane certification. One of the
ARC’s main tasks will be to reorganize Part 23 into several tiers based
on airplane performance and complexity instead of today’s weight and
propulsion-based divisions. The first tier will contain requirements
for low-complexity, low-performance airplanes and will act as the
starting point for all higher categories. “The use of a tier-based
approach will allow the FAA to focus more oversight on products in
the more complex, higher performance tiers,” said Sean Elliott, EAA
vice president of industry and regulatory affairs, who sits on this ARC.
The ARC will submit its final report with recommendations in
about a year and a half with regulatory change several years away,
making this the beginning of a lengthy process, but the results of
which have the potential to grow general aviation.
BIG WIN: BARR AVAILABILITY FULLY RESTORED
THE AVIATION ORGANIZATIONS (NBAA, AOPA, EAA, and others)
scored a victory for the GA community on December 2, 2011,
when the FAA announced it was reinstating the Block Aircraft
Registration Request (BARR) privileges that allow aircraft owners
and operators to “opt out” of having their flight information
publicly available over the Internet.
The FAA decision, which reversed restrictions imposed in August
2011, came after Congress passed a bill that included language
prohibiting the agency from imposing requirements such as “a valid
security concern” on operators to participate in the BARR program.
“This is a big win for aviation. We appreciate the efforts of
those in Congress who acted to preserve the privacy rights of
aviators within the BARR program,” said EAA President/CEO Rod
Hightower. “We also applaud the efforts of those within the aviation
community who worked together on this important issue, proving
that we are truly stronger together.”
Earlier this year, NBAA and AOPA filed a court challenge to the
government’s curtailment of the program, and EAA filed a friend
of the court brief supporting the suit. In a December hearing, a
government attorney conceded that the FAA would no longer
defend its policy.