June 17, 2013

Kansas congressman and long-time general aviation (GA) champion Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-4-KS) took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on June 16 to emphasize the vital economic contributions that aircraft manufacturing makes, not only in his district, but also across the country.

Citing what he termed as the “unsatisfactory” pace of the country’s ongoing economic recovery, Pompeo added that bipartisan legislation recently introduced in the House and Senate would help support GA aircraft manufacturers – and the jobs produced by those companies – by simplifying the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification process for FAR Part 23 light aircraft.

“The Small Aircraft Revitalization Act of 2013” (H.R. 1848) introduced last month by Rep. Pompeo and co-sponsored by 25 other House members, calls on the FAA to adopt consensus-based, design-specific performance requirements for FAA certification, as recommended by a committee of stakeholders from government and industry, which developed effective and workable improvements to the certification process, that would ensure that high standards for safety remain in place.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced legislation (S.1072) similar to that offered by Pompeo in the Senate on May 27.

If approved, the legislation “would help manufacturers all across south central Kansas – and, indeed, all across America – to get their products to market faster so that we can compete and provide aircraft, great tools for all businesses, to compete all around the world,” Pompeo stated in his June 13 remarks.

Part 23 outlines FAA certification standards for most light civil aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds. The ARC recommendations came following an 18-month review of the Part 23 certification process by 150 international regulatory and aviation industry representatives, which determined adoption of performance-driven standards would improve aircraft safety through greater emphasis on specific aircraft design and technological criteria over decades-old category requirements, while also drastically reducing the costs associated with obtaining FAA certification.

“This bill would ensure that this industry can continue to thrive in the years ahead,” Pompeo added. “It will replace an outdated certification system and greatly ease the burden on those who are trying to build these great products here in the United States.”

If enacted into law, the Small Aircraft Revitalization Act would require the FAA to implement the ARC recommendations by the end of 2015. Both bills are now under review in their respective chambers.