Proposed VLJ Certification Rules Released by FAA

 - August 25, 2009, 11:09 AM

To streamline its process for certifying very light jets (VLJs), the FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) last week to amend the applicable certification standards for Part 23 jet airplanes. The agency said the NPRM is necessary to eliminate the current workload of processing exemptions, special conditions and equivalent levels of safety findings necessary to certify VLJs under Part 23. It is accepting public comments until November 16. Hints of a rule change to clarify and add to VLJ certification requirements initially surfaced during a special certification review of the Eclipse 500 that began in August last year and again one month later during a congressional hearing on the airplane’s certification program. The proposed changes would standardize and simplify the certification of Part 23 jets; clarify areas of frequent nonstandardization and misinterpretation, particularly electronic equipment and system certification; and codify existing certification requirements in special conditions for new jets that incorporate new technologies. At the hearing before the House aviation subcommittee last September, the DOT Inspector General recommended that the FAA expedite its NPRM to clarify certification requirements for the expanding VLJ industry segment, given the differences between certification requirements for transport-category and general aviation aircraft.