President Signs Small Aircraft Revitalization Act Into Law

On Wednesday, Nov. 27, President Barack Obama placed his signature on the Small Aircraft Revitalization Act of 2013.

Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) first introduced H.R. 1848 May 7, which passed unanimously by a 411-0 vote in July. A similar bill, S. 1072, was introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), which passed the Senate in October. The Senate version of the bill included a few changes, and House sponsors agreed to the changes and the House passed it Nov. 14.

With the passage of the Small Aircraft Revitalization Act, it appears the collaborative effort in recent months by the Federal Aviation Administration Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) has paid off and resulted in the approved legislation. The bipartisan-supported bill updates and streamlines burdensome regulations on the general aviation industry and thereby improves safety, decreases costs and encourages private-sector innovation.

"The Aircraft Electronics Association applauds the action taken by the Congress and is pleased President Obama has signed the bill into law," said Paula Derks, AEA president. "The AEA has taken an active role in the Part 23 ARC and helped craft the recommendations on maintenance and retrofit of the existing general aviation fleet, as well as the certification of the next generation of avionics and safety-enhancing electronics. The association commends the bill's sponsors in both the House and Senate. This legislation encourages the acceptance and use of consensus standards. The AEA also has been active with ASTM International in developing consensus standards for the next generation of nonessential, nonrequired safety-enhancing avionics technologies.

"General aviation safety can be improved by modernizing and revamping the regulations for this sector to clear the path for technology adoption and cost-effective means to retrofit the existing fleet with new safety technologies. This bill gives general aviation a much-needed boost and will help those products be more efficiently certified for general aviation installations."

The AEA played host to the FAA Part 23 ARC's working group twice in 2012 at its international headquarters in Lee's Summit, Mo. Members of the ARC were charged with creating a progressive, tiered certification system -- from low-complexity, low-performance airplanes all the way to high-complexity, high-performance airplanes -- so small recreational airplanes won't have to be designed and certificated under the same regulatory requirements as heavier, more complex, and higher-performance aircraft. The focus was on improved safety, reduced cost and promoting innovation. Part 23 outlines FAA certification standards for most light civil aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds.

The Small Aircraft Revitalization Act of 2013 incorporates many of the ideas brought forth by the ARC's working group, which included Ric Peri, AEA vice president of government and industry affairs. The bill requires the FAA to implement the ARC recommendations by Dec. 31, 2015.