Compliance Countdown: May 2013

 - May 6, 2013, 12:05 AM

Within Six Months

May 23, 2013:

Interest in Restructure of Rotorcraft Airworthiness Standards

The FAA is requesting comments and information on the public’s interest in restructuring rotorcraft airworthiness standards of normal category rotorcraft (Part 27) and transport category rotorcraft (Part 29). Specifically, the agency is seeking comments on whether to change the existing applicability standards for maximum weight and number of passenger seats for either or both types of rotorcraft, or whether to consider other approaches for determining applicability. The FAA is soliciting public input because of some rotorcraft community interest in increasing the 7,000-pound maximum weight limit for the modern normal category rotorcraft and because there may be recommendations for new approaches to make the rotorcraft airworthiness regulations more efficient and adaptable to future technology. Currently, helicopters with a maximum takeoff weight of more than 7,000 pounds or with 10 or more passenger seats must be certified under the more stringent Part 29 transport category. This action is part of an effort to develop recommendations for possible FAA rulemaking action. Comments identified by Docket Number FAA-2013-0144 may be sent to www.regulations.gov or by mail to: Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001.

May 30, 2013:

Harmonization of Airworthiness Standards–Miscellaneous Structures Requirements

The FAA proposes to amend certain airworthiness regulations for transport category airplanes, based on recommendations from the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee. Adopting this proposal would eliminate regulatory differences between the airworthiness standards of the FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). This proposal would not add new requirements beyond what manufacturers currently meet for EASA certification and would not affect current industry design practices. This notice of proposed rulemaking would revise the structural test requirements necessary when analysis has not been found reliable; clarify the quality control, inspection and testing requirements for critical and non-critical castings; add control system requirements that consider structural deflection and vibration loads; expand the fuel tank structural and system requirements regarding emergency landing conditions and landing gear failure conditions; add a requirement that engine mount failure due to overload must not cause hazardous fuel spillage; and revise the inertial forces requirements for cargo compartments by removing the exclusion of compartments located below or forward of all occupants of the airplane. Send comments identified by Docket Number FAA-2013-0109 to www.regulations.gov or mail to: Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001.

Within 12 Months

Jan. 14, 2014:

Flight Crewmember Duty and Rest Requirements

This final rule amends the FAA’s existing flight, duty and rest regulations applicable to certificate holders operating under domestic, flag and supplemental operations rules. The new requirements eliminate the current distinctions among domestic, flag and supplemental passenger operations and are based on time of day, whether an individual is acclimated to a new time zone and the likelihood of being able to sleep under different circumstances. This rule places a joint responsibility on the certificate holder and each flight crewmember to report for a flight duty period (FDP) properly rested. In order for the crewmember to report properly rested, the certificate holder must provide the crewmember with a meaningful rest opportunity that will allow the crewmember to get the proper amount of sleep. Likewise, the crewmember bears the responsibility of actually sleeping. A pilot who reports for duty without being properly rested is prohibited from beginning or continuing an FDP until he or she is properly rested.

Beyond 12 Months

July 4, 2014:

Taws Equipage for Canadian Aircraft with Six or More Passenger Seats

Transport Canada (TC) announced on July 4, 2012 new regulations that would improve safety for small aircraft that fly into remote wilderness or mountainous areas where the danger of flying into terrain is highest. Under the new regulations, commercial operators will have to install a terrain awareness and warning system (Taws) in turbine-powered airplanes with six or more passenger seats. Operators will have two years from implementation to equip their airplanes with Taws. The regulations comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards and bring Canadian regulations close to those of other aviation authorities, including the U.S. and European Union. Canada’s TSB also recommended the wider use of Taws to help pilots assess their proximity to terrain. Operators will have five years to equip with an enhanced altitude accuracy function.

Jan. 1, 2017:

European Union Tcas Version 7.1 Rule

The FAA has published an Information for Operators regarding an EU mandate that certain operators use the latest version 7.1 of the traffic alert and collision avoidance system (Tcas II) software. Although the International Civil Aviation Organization does not require that version 7.1 software be installed for international flights in new and existing aircraft until Jan. 1, 2014, and Jan. 1, 2017, respectively, the EU mandated that all aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds or with an authorized capacity to carry 19 passengers have the upgrade installed by March 1 this year. However, aircraft with Tcas II version 7.0 that were certified before March 1 this year have an extended deadline of Dec. 1, 2015, to comply with the mandate. The FAA recommends that operators of aircraft with Tcas II installed and that plan on operating in EU airspace need to ensure that version 7.1 software is installed.