The FAA issued a notice to the Federal Register accepting 63 means of compliance (MOC) developed by industry under ASTM International, paving the way for easier general aviation aircraft certifications. This action eases the pathway for new entrant, advanced technology aircraft by bringing in performance-based certification methodologies.
The impetus for the FAA’s approval of the consensus standards as “acceptable means of compliance” with airworthiness requirements for normal category airplanes contained in Part 23 of the Code of Federal Regulations came from a broad rewrite of those regulations completed in 2016. The reforms gave manufacturers more flexibility for accomplishing design safety goals. The aviation industry’s advocacy for the revised rule was led by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, with support from AOPA.
In a September 29 news release, GAMA welcomed the FAA’s announcement making the consensus standards available for use as certification methods—some as-written, others including provisions added by the FAA—noting that they “will enable and encourage safety and innovation in general aviation airplanes and further developments in advanced air mobility (AAM) and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
“All throughout the [Part 23] rewrite, GAMA championed the priorities of the general aviation industry. We applaud the FAA’s work to accept the latest set of important means of compliance standards,” added GAMA CEO Pete Bunce.
Publication of the FAA’s notice of the standards’ availability marks the second notice permitting use of performance-based rules for Part 23 airplane certification, GAMA said, adding that “there has been an extended period of time since the last Accepted Means of Compliance document was published, which was in May 2018.”
AOPA reported that the industry had welcomed the first set of consensus standards with enthusiasm. “These pivotal changes will bring new and safer technologies into the cockpit and reduce costs for pilots and operators,” AOPA President Mark Baker said at the time. “The entire general aviation industry worked hard to bring about these reforms and we applaud Congress and the FAA for enacting smart regulations that preserve safety and promote innovation.”
The FAA should continue to refine the acceptance process, Bunce said, adding that “this effort is about being Future Ready for the opportunities that await this vital and vibrant industry.”