November 1, 2012 – EAA participated in the first meeting of the ASTM International F44 Technical Committee last week in Atlanta – a group charged with providing industry consensus standards for the certification of standard-category general aviation aircraft as an alternative to the current FAA-prescribed certification process. This effort takes the lessons learned from the successful use of consensus standards for light-sport aircraft (LSA) and applies them to the rest of the GA fleet.

The creation of the F44 committee was prompted by the continuing work of the Part 23 Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), which is a partnership between the FAA and industry groups to reform the certification rules for standard-category aircraft. The group’s ambitious goal is to halve the cost of aircraft certification while doubling the level of safety by making new technologies more accessible. EAA is an active participant on the Part 23 ARC and is a strong proponent of the use of industry consensus standards as an alternate and more economical means of aircraft certification.

The light-sport rule pioneered this concept a decade ago with the creation of the ASTM F37 committee, which governs the consensus standards for LSA. EAA was instrumental in creating and leading that committee through the critical early phases of its development, and continues to be involved today as it evolves and matures.

“The creation of F44 is an exciting step in the process we have been working on through the Part 23 ARC,” said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. “The use of industry consensus standards as a method of certification for standard-category aircraft has the potential to not only lower the cost of new aircraft, but also to dramatically simplify the retrofit process. This will benefit all of our members who fly type-certificated aircraft, both the existing fleet as well as new manufactured airplanes.”