FAA’s Huerta Highlights Good News at AirVenture
July 29, 2016
  • Share
  • FAA Administrator Michael Huerta used his annual platform at EAA AirVenture on July 28 to summarize recent successful efforts that may jump-start the general aviation economy. They include speeding up technology adoption by aircraft owners and allowing more pilots to fly without traditional medical certification. As he has done in the past, Huerta also cautioned members of the AirVenture audience not to expect any relief from the upcoming ADS-B OUT mandate. “The January 1, 2020 equipage deadline isn’t moving,” he warned. “As many as 160,000 GA aircraft must have ADS-B installed by that time. As you can imagine, we’re likely to see capacity issues at repair stations around the country as we get closer to the deadline.”

    The FAA’s $500 rebate program for ADS-B installations and incentives offered by avionics manufacturers “are already starting to move the needle,” he added. “We’ve heard from a number of pilots who had planned to wait a few years to install ADS-B, but who are, instead, equipping now. This is a smart move.”

    The recent FAA reauthorization legislation that included third-class medical reform requires the FAA to move ahead with new regulations allowing pilots to fly without a medical certificate if they meet certain criteria. Huerta acknowledged that he has heard pilots urging the FAA to enact medical reform “many times myself, right here at Oshkosh. We took this feedback seriously, especially since it’s in keeping with our shift toward more risk-based decision-making.” Although the FAA did work on some rulemaking itself, that was hung up in Department of Transportation bureaucracy, and it appeared there was no path forward; until Congress forced the issue in the recent legislation. In any case, he said, “Getting this done is a priority for our agency, and Congress agreed. I’ve assembled a dedicated team that’s in charge of drafting the necessary regulatory text and moving it through our rulemaking process on the timeline Congress has laid out. We know you’re eager to see this new rule in place. And both the FAA and the Department of Transportation are committed to getting it done as soon as possible.”

    Huerta also highlighted technology changes that will lead to changes in the way aircraft and pilots are certified, including the new Part 23 rewrite and Airman Certification Standards. “Over the past several years, we’ve taken a long, hard look at how we certify aircraft and parts,” he said. “Our Part 23 rewrite overhauls how we certify aircraft in the future. But we also recognize how important it is to modernize the existing general aviation fleet.”

    The recent approvals to install non-TSO’d Dynon and Garmin displays in certified aircraft are an example of how the FAA and industry are working to improve safety using modern technology. “We want to reduce unnecessary regulatory barriers that make it costly and time-consuming to develop and install safety technologies in GA aircraft,” he said. “Many of these technologies aren’t required by regulation, but they still provide a number of valuable safety benefits–and we want to make sure you can easily take advantage of them.”

    Huerta also outlined the FAA’s new “Got Data” initiative and the new Data Innovation Center. “Data is the foundation for everything we do at the FAA. And our data often makes its way into the tools you rely on in the cockpit every time you fly. Avionics manufacturers turn the navigational charts and instrument approaches the FAA produces into a wide variety of electronic products. These feed into your flight management systems, iPads and other mobile devices. The biggest advantage of these new products is that they enable pilots to have greater awareness about where they are, and what lies ahead, than ever before. And it all fits in the space of a silicon chip. Now imagine what could be possible if we opened up more of our data to more partners in more formats. That’s the idea behind Got Data. We want to find better ways to help the private sector access aeronautical data currently offered by the FAA. We also want to identify additional data resources we could provide.”