The U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee, chaired by Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), held a hearing yesterday (Wednesday 30th October) to review the FAA’s efforts in ensuring a more efficient, effective and safe certification process in the future. Pete Bunce, President and CEO, testified on behalf of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
“The FAA certification process must change,” Bunce said. “The uncertainty and inefficiency of the FAA’s current certification practices and processes stymies safety innovation by slowing the ability to get needed products to the field quickly. It also restricts industry growth and has resulted in missed business opportunities, negatively impacting decisions to invest in new projects, expand facilities and increase employment.”
Bunce commended Congress for including Section 312, “Aircraft Certification Process Review and Reform,” in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Section 312 contains recommendations on how the FAA should address certification process bottlenecks and minimize disruptions to the industry.
Bunce highlighted two of those recommendations in his remarks: shifting the certification process toward a systems safety approach with a focus on enhanced use of delegation programs, and developing a comprehensive means to implement and measure the effectiveness of certification process improvements.
Bunce concluded his testimony by calling on subcommittee members to “challenge regulators, such as the FAA, to identify and implement reforms across the agency that will enhance the ability of users to more efficiently and effectively operate, while simultaneously promoting safety.”
In this vein, he praised Congressional action on the Small Airplane Revitalization Act as a “critical first step to regulatory reform through streamlining the FAA certification process and making real-world safety improvements.”
The Small Airplane Revitalization Act would require the FAA to implement the recommendations of the FAA’s Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) by December 31, 2015. The ARC’s goal is to double safety and cut certification costs in half for light general aviation (GA) airplanes.