The FAA’s powered-lift proposal would establish a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) to provide transition rules for pilot certification and operations.
NBAA urges agencies to use existing security and infrastructure frameworks to enable AAM entry into service and, eventually, the opportunity to safely scale operations.
NBAA is working with the FAA and DOT to move the advanced air mobility (AAM) sector towards operations as soon as 2025. The association has responded to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for powered-lift pilot certification and operations and provided recommendations to the DOT in an interagency working group’s request for information. In both efforts, NBAA encouraged the federal government to retain its role as a global leader in aviation by enabling implementation of emerging technologies.
In its feedback to the FAA on the powered-lift proposal, which would establish a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) to provide transition rules for pilot certification and operations, NBAA urged the FAA to more closely align with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and guidance. NBAA’s comments, spearheaded by the NBAA Emerging Technologies Committee and AAM Roundtable, reflected the overall industry’s positions, encouraging the FAA to require a type rating for powered-lift aircraft to be added to an existing airplane or helicopter airman certificate and creating operations rules that consider the unique capabilities of powered-lift aircraft.
“This summer was a bit of a turning point for AAM with the FAA’s NPRM bringing to light the challenges the industry faces.”
Paul McDuffee Senior Principal, Airspace Integration, Supernal
“This summer was a bit of a turning point for AAM, with the FAA’s NPRM bringing to light the challenges the industry faces,” said Paul McDuffee, Supernal’s senior principal, airspace integration. “Now industry needs to think about how they will comply. We need to move off 100% focus on certification of aircraft and more on the training and operations.”
The rulemaking’s timeline is critical to meet anticipated entry-to-service dates.
“It’s important to recognize that back in May 2022, when the FAA changed AAM aircraft certification from the Part 23 airplane framework to a powered-lift framework, the FAA made some commitments to ensure industry could stay on track,” explained Mike Romanowski, head of government relations at Archer Aviation. “What we saw this summer is the FAA starting to make good on those promises. There’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s obvious the industry is coming together in near unanimity on the issues.”
NBAA also provided feedback to the DOT Interagency Working Group, which is a result of the Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act, signed into law by President Biden in October 2022.
“For the U.S. to continue leading in the next era of aviation, there are critical steps the government must take,” said Greg Bowles, head of government affairs at Joby Aviation. “The NPRM is important to commercial operations in the early days, establishing pilot certification and operations rules. The work being done by the interagency working group, starting with considering information solicited from stakeholders, will ensure that we take the lessons learned in the early days and can accelerate and evolve the industry as we continue to lean forward and secure successful global leadership.”