Part 23 NPRM - ARC - ASTM

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Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
I've seen very little mention of this in the standard aviation news sources, but I may just have missed it.

ACTING FAA ADMINISTRATOR CONFIRMS THAT PART 23 ARC IS GOING TO PROPOSE NEW, CREATIVE AIRCRAFT CERTIFICATION PROCESS

http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/committees/documents/media/Part23Reorg.ARC.Cht.8-15-2011.pdf

If this is what I think is being proposed this could be one of the most significant changes for aviation here in the US since the CAA turned into the FAA. It looks to me like this could be the aviation equivalent of a constitutional convention. The ASTM F-44 standards committee is in place and we are going to be having several organizational meetings over the next few weeks.

I'm not in a position, either time wise or financially, to attend the semi annual meetings but I expect to be able to find the time to participate as actively as I have for the LSA F-37 committee. I will of course pass on any information that I think this group may find relevant as this committee develops. Right now there are exactly 100 of us on the committee but we won't likely know until after the first meeting in Florida on Jan 10 who gets assigned voting rights on which committees.

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
It won't help for very light aircraft.
As it is now, even ASTM F37 is already too restrictive for single seat light or ultralight types. ( no single seat ultralight type single-seat airplanes have been approved in eight years since 2004)

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
It won't help for very light aircraft.
As it is now, even ASTM F37 is already too restrictive for single seat light or ultralight types. ( no single seat ultralight type single-seat airplanes have been approved in eight years since 2004)
We don't know that it won't help yet. This whole thing is in the embryonic stage and what comes out of the process is entirely dependent on what we put into it.

Monty

Well-Known Member
Lets say that as my little airplane design evolved, I added: a CS prop, a turbo, and an oxygen system, and maybe retractable gear. Now I have a complex aircraft. However, the kinetic energy of my airplane compared to that of most complex aircraft is miniscule.

The danger to myself may increase slightly, and I would need to train in a complex airplane, but the danger to the public is very, very small.

I just want to avoid a situation where innovation in small aircraft is prohibited by regulations, while well meaning and understandable when we are talking about king air....don't necessarily apply to my little putt-putt machine.

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
We just finished up the first organizational virtual meeting for ASTM F-44.10. F44.10 is the main committee. We will be having the same organizational meetings for the various subcommittees over the next few days. The first face to face meeting is scheduled for the first part of January. There is a brief mention in the December issue of the EAA Experimenter (pg 8) of this process.

It was noted during the meeting that there were several aviation related entities not represented on our roster. The absence of a representative from the EAA was specifically pointed out by another member :shock:. I'm assuming that there will be an EAA representative by the Florida meeting in January?

Other groups who's participation was noted as being less well represented than desired were the Australian aircraft industry and consumers in general. The ASTM process NEEDS simple consumer representation.

A quick overall picture of what is happening is that the FAA has put into motion a process that hopefully will lead to a more cost effective path to certification of aircraft through the use of ASTM standards similar to what we now have for the LSA's. The ASTM standards will not be the only way to show compliance with part 23 but should offer one well defined path to show such compliance. The new part 23, as outlined now, will be based on a tier system using the aircraft complexity as the dividing criteria, rather than weight as it is now. This will allow for less comprehensive standards for simple lower performance aircraft.

Of particular interest to many here is that a category for owner maintained aircraft is one of the items that seems to be likely to be included. There was mention during the meeting that representatives of the various type clubs should be actively recruited so I take this to be an indication that the owner maintained option is a serous one. There also seems to be quite a bit of interest in making the use of non certified items as permanent additions a much easier process. (basically it sounds to me something like a logbook entry STC's for non-commercial use)

The release date goal for the new part 23 NPRM was put at July 2014. Of course we all know how long it took from idea to the final NPRM for Sport Pilot/LSA to become reality.

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
Hot Wings, thanks for your service to the future of aviation. I am not sure if you represent "consumer" or "industry".
Usually industry makes rules to limit new competition from smaller potential business enterprises (such as myself).

I doubt any relief from FAR 23 would affect me, since my interest now is lighter aircraft, but who knows.
It would be helpful if you include a tiered class system for very light aircraft. For example, we need a category for less than 496 pounds (like old FAR 103 exemption) with little or no restrictive rules. Perhaps the applicant should suggest the standards for each size, as appropriate.
The current one size must fit all ASTM SLSA standard has obviously decimated the lighter category. ( no certified engines under $20k, as far as I know, and unlikely anyone could certify a converted engine) I hope you can make this work for all sizes, perhaps better than the current light sport rules. If very light airplane certification, by one person, with this new FAR 23 became possible, then I might be interested. But it would need to allow uncertified engines and props etc for the under 495 pound category to exist. My Grob G109 was type certified as a powered glider equipped with a non certified Limbach engine. You can use that as an example. BB Hot Wings Grumpy Cynic HBA Supporter Log Member Hot Wings, thanks for your service to the future of aviation. I am not sure if you represent "consumer" or "industry". Usually industry makes rules to limit new competition from smaller potential business enterprises (such as myself). I'm represented on the LSA committee as a "supplier" or industry, and I'm most assuredly small business.:nervous: We haven't yet been assigned the various voting rights but I'm expecting to be in the same category on the F44 group. I doubt any relief from FAR 23 would affect me, since my interest now is lighter aircraft, but who knows. Right now the general plan is to start at the low end of the performance spectrum so the kind of aircraft you and I like are going to be the first considered. No mention has been made so far about gliders/motor-gliders but I'll be making a motion to consider them if no one else does. It would be helpful if you include a tiered class system for very light aircraft. For example, we need a category for less than 496 pounds (like old FAR 103 exemption) with little or no restrictive rules. Perhaps the applicant should suggest the standards for each size, as appropriate. I'm well aware of the problems we have with regard to no 2 place training aircraft for part 103 and the limited options for training with experimental aircraft. I'll be doing what ever I can to help change this. Also keep in mind that the ASTM standards are INTERNATIONAL and non US members will be having their say as well. Maybe we can see a bit more standardization for things we call ultralights and microlights? The current one size must fit all ASTM SLSA standard has obviously decimated the lighter category. ( no certified engines under$20k, as far as I know, and unlikely anyone could certify a converted engine)

It's hard right now to see how this will effect the LSA's. It's possible that the whole LSA thing might just disappear only to be incorporated as is in the new part 23. I can see the primary category being rolled into the new part 23 in the same way. (my speculation alone) You really can't blame LSA/ASTM for the lack of certified motors under the ASTM standard. The standards for certification of an engine is really quite well defined and, IMHO, rather easy and inexpensive to comply with. I think this is more of a market problem than a regulatory one. Someone like Great Plains or Aerovee probably already has enough documentation and process controls in place to meet the LSA standards.

I hope you can make this work for all sizes, perhaps better than the current light sport rules.

That seems to be the idea, and we have to give the FAA credit since this whole simplification process was their idea.

If very light airplane certification, by one person, with this new FAR 23 became possible, then I might be interested.
But it would need to allow uncertified engines and props etc for the under 495 pound category to exist.

Certification by one person might be an extraordinary feat, but a small company like Sonex or RV should have no problem if all goes well.

My Grob G109 was type certified as a powered glider equipped with a non certified Limbach engine. You can use that as an example.
BB

Your situation is exactly the kind of situation I'm expecting to be addressed by the formation of an owner maintained aircraft for non commercial use catagory. I'm not real familiar with the Canadian owner maintained rules (need to do some study) but I'd like to see someone like you be able to rebuild the Limbach engine you have using standard off the shelf parts, or even owner built parts if needed, and then have an A+P inspect it using the same criteria that we now use for Experimental condition inspections. Same thing for owners of old T carts, Bellancas, Swifts, Ercoupes, 172's, AA-1's and such.

Well-Known Member
Are you guys looking at ELA1 and 2? (EASA, simpler categories for <1200 kg and <2000 kg aircraft?)

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Are you guys looking at ELA1 and 2? (EASA, simpler categories for <1200 kg and <2000 kg aircraft?)

I'm sure will be looking at other certification standards for inspiration and to try to make the ASTM standards as compatible with existing regulations as practical.

I do not know how much coordination there has been with the EASA. There are at least 7 FAA representatives, one EASA representative, 2 Transport Canada representatives and 1 New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority representative on the roster so there has been some coordination. (Each group can only have one official voting member per ASTM bylaws)

This whole thing is in the primordial stages of development at the ASTM level. Most of us don't even know exactly what is in the final ARC report. We should be getting more information at or slightly before the January Florida meeting.

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
"Certification by one person might be an extraordinary feat, but a small company like Sonex or RV should have no problem if all goes well."

Well, if it requires the resources of the worlds largest established kitplane company ( RV), then I see no hope for entry level aircraft manufacturing.

Topaz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
"Certification by one person might be an extraordinary feat, but a small company like Sonex or RV should have no problem if all goes well."

Well, if it requires the resources of the worlds largest established kitplane company ( RV), then I see no hope for entry level aircraft manufacturing.
Amen to that. While a one-man band is probably too small to do the job, we ought to be working towards creating an environment where a lot more new (and very small, to start with) manufacturers can enter the market. In other words, simply reducing the certification cost from $5 million to$2 million isn't really a step forward.

Don't get me wrong, Hot Wings, I like the direction of this effort and I'm extremely thankful that you're involved and are keeping us in the loop on this project as it develops. That's wonderful, and again, I thank you. But the FAA needs to be reminded that Van's or Sonex aren't "small" companies in this context. They're the Boeing and Lockheed Martin of the light/sport aircraft industry. If they're the only ones that are going to be able to develop the financing to participate in these new forms of certification, then nothing has really changed.

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Well, if it requires the resources of the worlds largest established kitplane company ( RV), then I see no hope for entry level aircraft manufacturing.
I'm pretty sure there will be many much smaller companies that will be able to find the resources to certify a new plane under any rules that I expect to be crafted. We have an opportunity to improve our situation. I'm going to do what I can to see that it isn't squandered. We may succeed, or we may not. If we don't try nothing will change.

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
If they're the only ones that are going to be able to develop the financing to participate in these new forms of certification, then nothing has really changed.
We have to be somewhat realistic. I don't think there is any way to simplify the standards to the point where someone can buy a set of Tailwind plans, buy a bunch of material from AS+S, build some jigs and start cranking out "certified" Tailwinds. Even if we could would that be in our best interest the long run?

At the same time I'm of the opinion that there needs to be a set of standards that would allow someone like Bob Kuykendall to sell finished HP-24's for a reasonable price. We also need a way for innovative technology to be introduced without having to have it proven by years of testing and simulation to the same standards that would be applied to a company like Boeing, or even Cessna and their Citations.

I wish there was a way I could legally post the ASTM standards for LSA's (copyright - it's how ASTM makes their money) then we could go over them line by line and discuss what might be changed to make things easier for the industry. I think that if this group really had a chance to examine them they would realize that they are pretty simple and rational. I find it hard to believe that any company's legal department would let them market a plane that the company couldn't document as at least meeting the ASTM standards. The fact that we don't have more reasonably priced LSA's can't be blamed on the unreasonableness of the standards, but on the market forces at work with respect to planes with artificial performance limitations.

It's not only the certification standards that are pushing up the cost of new airplanes. The burden of excessive documentation such as tracking the history of every bolt from the mine where the ore was obtained to the time it is placed in the plane (big exaggeration) is taking it's toll. Cutting back on the cost of production related to these factors will also have a positive impact. Take a look at what the Aeromatic prop guy has had to go through to make new blades and rebuild props. It wasn't the certification costs but the cost of setting up a production facility and procedures that satisfied the FAA and getting things like the switch from cellulose nitrate to modern covering materials approved.

Fix this kind of regulatory excess and come up with LSA like standards for an aircraft that is limited in performance only by the laws of physics and then if we don't have any new planes being made it won't be because of unrealistic regulations.

Sorry if this sounds like a mini rant, but we have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to try to get some of our perceived problems fixed. We should not waste it!

I'm only one guy. I'll do what I can with the time I have available. Any and all input and advice will be welcome.

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Topaz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
We have to be somewhat realistic. I don't think there is any way to simplify the standards to the point where someone can buy a set of Tailwind plans, buy a bunch of material from AS+S, build some jigs and start cranking out "certified" Tailwinds. Even if we could would that be in our best interest the long run?...
Please don't misunderstand me. I didn't mean to imply that. I don't think certification is a "bad" thing. And I do think that the ASTM approach can be a good one.

For many reasons, including the ones you list, we haven't gotten a new manufacturer of certified light aircraft since Cirrus. And none before them since... I can't even remember who might have been before them. The whole thing costs too much, driving the price right out of the reach of the best market. We've talked about that ad nauseum, in other threads.

There has to be room allowed for a very small manufacturer of basic light, recreational aircraft, using modern manufacturing techniques and allowing farmed-out components. So long as the FAA requires what they do today - certifying the entire manufacturing process to the smallest detail, requiring the airframer to make everything in-house to comply - airplanes are going to be too expensive. Cutting flight certification costs is huge. It's dwarfed by the initial and recurring costs of setting up, maintaining, staffing, and operating a multi-disciplinary manufacturing facility, for a product that might sell 100 units a year.

"Safety" is a laudable goal, unless what's achieved in the end is the ultimate in safety: nobody flies anymore.

Again, don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled at seeing these possibilities pop up and that you're advocating for us. This is a huge opportunity for big steps forward.

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
Anyone is now free to build a Tailwind in his garage and sell it to anybody. Why would it be less safe for the consumer if the guy built two or more at a time and sold them? I would think that a Tailwind specialist would build to a higher standard.

I suppose I just don't get it.
It seems to me the very heart of the matter, this anti- business thought process that the FAA fosters, is killing American aviation and the American dream for future aviators.

And yes, sorry for my rant. After 40 years of progressive restriction, I am not very hopeful for the next generation.

bmcj

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
I wish there was a way I could legally post the ASTM standards for LSA's (copyright - it's how ASTM makes their money)
Wait a minute... a non-governmental organization is given effective power of creation and publication of rules we have to live by, yet those rules do not become public property? That kinda chafes my hide.

We experienced something like that in the mid-life of the ultralight movement. We taught in the earliest 2-seaters for years, working hand-in-hand with the FAA during that time with no problems, successfully teaching hoards of people to fly. Then, one day, FAA HQ decided to appoint another organization to oversee and certify instructors. Suddenly, we were not qualified to instruct unless we went to the new organization, paid their fees and took their courses; this, despite the fact that most of us were also FAA certified (powered airplane) instructors.

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Wait a minute... a non-governmental organization is given effective power of creation and publication of rules we have to live by, yet those rules do not become public property? That kinda chafes my hide.
Mine too. And we're not the only ones that feel that way. I have run across some opinions that publishing these standards would fall under the fair use doctrine since they are part of public regulations. We may just have to wait for the attorneys to sort this one out. I've considered trying to go through them and write a Readers Digest version. All I need is time.

Hot Wings

Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Please don't misunderstand me. I didn't mean to imply that.
I really didn't think you were implying that. It's been a long day and I'm probably a bit too emotional about this right now. We've both seen all the threads like "Cheap aircraft are simply impossible? " where we all manage to point out what is wrong. We have been given a chance to actually do something about it and the EAA doesn't even have a representative on the roster.

My apologizes for being so brusque.

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
Wait a minute... a non-governmental organization is given effective power of creation and publication of rules we have to live by, yet those rules do not become public property? That kinda chafes my hide.

We experienced something like that in the mid-life of the ultralight movement. We taught in the earliest 2-seaters for years, working hand-in-hand with the FAA during that time with no problems, successfully teaching hoards of people to fly. Then, one day, FAA HQ decided to appoint another organization to oversee and certify instructors. Suddenly, we were not qualified to instruct unless we went to the new organization, paid their fees and took their courses; this, despite the fact that most of us were also FAA certified (powered airplane) instructors.

I begged for a brief chance to review the ASTM standards at the EAA library (they refused).
I was able to get the ASTM booklet from my local library with inter-library loan.
The rules seemed almost as onerous as FAR 23, to me. So I gave up on any future interest in the ASTM created rules.

Topaz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
I really didn't think you were implying that. It's been a long day and I'm probably a bit too emotional about this right now. We've both seen all the threads like "Cheap aircraft are simply impossible? " where we all manage to point out what is wrong. We have been given a chance to actually do something about it and the EAA doesn't even have a representative on the roster.

My apologizes for being so brusque.
No worries whatsoever. I'm totally on your side with this. Obviously I have some particular things I'd like to see happen, but that's just me. This sounds like an exciting development, and I'm looking forward to hearing more about it as things develop.