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The announcement, causing some members of the committee to unload on the unfortunate FAA messenger, had deeper import than just another report that the FAA has an almost pathological problem with meeting deadlines.
A Little Background For decades, FAA certification of aircraft and components set the standard through much of the world for how it should be done.
If the FAA approved type certification of a newly developed airplane, the response of other governments was to go through some formalities and approve the airplane based on the testing data used by the FAA.
The FAA certification process has always been tough. Working for a manufacturer, I was far 23 re write a sentence of some set-tos between FAA personnel and employees of the manufacturer at meetings that were held as a new design went through the process of certification. Certification was always a shockingly expensive process for the manufacturer, and a major reason a lot of start up aircraft manufacturers folded before their pride and joy could receive a Type Certificate and be put on the market.
By law, FAA employees could not and cannot be held personally liable should they say yes to a design and it eventually proves to have a defect that causes someone to be killed in a crash. Yet, over the last 20 years, saying yes to an airplane or component that later has a problem became perceived as a potential career-ender for an FAA employee.
I also received comments regarding poor communication skills on the part of engineers and unintelligible reports drafted for the FAA in support of certification test data. One employee of an aircraft manufacturer told of having to send poorly written reports back to engineering a number of times for rework before they could go to the FAA.
The Problem Gets Worse As the certification process bogged down, computers caused an explosion in new airframe, engine and avionics technology, much of which has helped improve safety. The common thread I have heard from the companies, large and small, is that to speed the certification process, the FAA has encouraged them to use the latest technology to collect data, reduce it and present it to the FAA.
They spend the money to do so, but then the FAA too often ignores it and does its own testing. For manufacturers, the FAA set up the Organization Delegation Authorization ODA program to allow a manufacturer that has a track record for being able to accurately test and report on compliance with FARs to submit test data and certify the results in a fashion acceptable to the FAA.
An ODA representative I spoke with while preparing this article told me that when data showing compliance is submitted to the FAA, acceptance depends on which individuals the FAA assigns to the committee that reviews it. Despite the manufacturer meeting all the requirements to obtain ODA approval and then testing in compliance with the program, the FAA too often ignores its own program and either requires more testing or stops everything and assigns its personnel to redo the tests.
While doing so as sampling for quality assurance is appropriate, I was told that it happens with distressing frequency. Interpretation Part of the process of a manufacturer or mod shop showing compliance with FARs includes the interpretation of individual regulations. That is normal and expected.
It often involves give and take when something new is being developed. For example, when Lancair was developing the Columbiathe person in charge of the FAA certification project made the unprecedented decision that because the airplane had a maximum certified operational altitude of 25, feet, then a full set of spin tests had to be done at that altitude, at all weights and centers of gravity.
There was and still is no way to appeal a foolish certification requirement imposed by someone at the FAA in charge of a project. Lancair went out and hired a test pilot who had retired from a general aviation manufacturer and had extensive experience with spin testing and spent a potful of money doing spin testing at 25, feet.
More recently, an FAA project manager whom I believe did not understand how a diesel engine worked, interpreted a certification regulation of diesel mod and required the applicant to make a change it argued would not work and was unsafe. The FAA employee would not change his position and there was no appeal.
The change was made. His action, in my opinion, led directly to series of engine power losses and forced landings in subsequent testing. Too often, according to the persons I interviewed at manufacturers and mod shops, employees of manufacturers who have those same problems get hired by the FAA after getting fired by the manufacturer.
In my opinion, when new technology that will make airplanes safer is delayed due to an agency that exists to improve safety, something is terribly wrong.
As would be expected, the operators engaged in a race to the bottom and stopped doing maintenance or paying any attention to crew duty times. The result was a series of fatal crashes due to pooped pilots, airplanes in crummy shape and illegal mods.
In my opinion, sensible regulations applied by dedicated regulators, have saved a lot of lives in aviation.
The Intended Solution Complaints about the increasing delays and spiraling costs of what should be a tough but fair certification process caused Congress to put pressure on the FAA. It was made up of industry and FAA personnel the names I recognized were serious players in the industry.
It held what might be described as town meetings and met with industry personnel who regularly work with aircraft and component certification. It received massive amounts of information and, within two years prepared a detailed report recommending specific changes to FAR Part 23 that would remove barriers to bringing new, safer aircraft designs to the market.
The recommendations in the report are detailed and include removing prescriptive methods of compliance, ensuring safety objectives address future technologies, utilize FAA-accepted consensus standards, develop globally acceptable regulations and implement them as soon as possible.
So, the agency that gives zero slack to a pilot who has to accomplish something by a date certain under the FARs, yet refuses to follow those same FARs when it comes to deadlines for it to act, has ridden that hubris to flipping off Congress when it unanimously passes stand-alone legislation directing the FAA to act by a deadline.
Meanwhile, the certification delays continue and more and more, new safety technology is being developed by companies outside the U. Besides, with some 50 percent of aircraft built in the U. It will be selling a product that is head and shoulders above a born-in-the-U.
AVweb reported last week that because of continuing delays by the FAA in coming up with rules for commercial operation of drones, Canadians are forging ahead with technology for development and commercial use of drones because Transport Canada has had a viable permit system for commercial drone operation in place for four years.“.A key problem is that that light airplanes like the Cessna are lumped together with knot business jets for the purposes of certification.
Both are subject to FAR Part 23, which prescribes the certification standards for airplanes under 12, lbs. What a Part 23 Rewrite Might Mean to Users. by Kerry Lynch In fact, many acknowledge that until the FAA releases an NPRM, it will be difficult to tell how far the benefits will extend.
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Sep 14, · Last July, the FAA told a Congressional committee that it would not meet the December 31, deadline mandated by federal law to simplify and streamline aircraft certification regulations--FAR Part The announcement has deeper import than just another report that the FAA has a problem meeting deadlines.
Understanding Part 23 Rewrite Understanding Part 23 Rewrite On March 9, , the FAA published a notice of proposed rulemaking entitled “Revision of Airworthiness Standards for Normal, Utility, Acrobatic, and Commuter Category Airplanes” (Part 23 NPRM). Our Commitment We strive to deliver the best innovative academic essay writing software to our users.
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