FAA Blasts OEMs for Rule Delay

 - January 27, 2010, 11:20 AM

The FAA has grudgingly agreed to delay certain portions of an original April 2010 compliance date requiring installation of cockpit voice recorders (CVR) and digital flight data recorders (FDR) in many U.S.-registered airplanes. But the agency issued a stern rebuke to aircraft manufacturers for their failure to address known technical issues sooner. Boeing, Airbus, Gulfstream, Dassault, Bombardier and Embraer have all asked for more time to comply with the CVR/FDR mandate, which was originally published in March 2008 in response to NTSB recommendations and was to become effective on April 7, 2010. At issue are FAA requirements for increased FDR sampling rates, datalink communication recording capability and CVR backup power. Business jet makers say they didn’t have enough time to develop avionics upgrades, but the government isn’t buying it. “The FAA is seriously disappointed with the manufacturers” for failing to meet the original CVR/FDR deadline, the agency wrote in the document extending the compliance deadline. Nonetheless, the FAA is delaying compliance with certain elements of the rule: Part 121 and 135 operators will have until Dec. 6, 2010, to comply fully while Part 91 operators get a reprieve until April 6, 2012. Operators must still install the basic CVR/FDR equipment by the original April 2010 deadline.