FAA Proposes Fuel-efficiency Rules for Turbine Airplanes

 - June 17, 2022, 12:16 PM

The FAA released proposed rulemaking this week to establish FAR Part 38, fuel-efficiency metric requirements for certain large subsonic jet and turboprop airplanes aimed at reducing greenhouse gasses. The rule would cover most civil subsonic jet airplanes with mtows greater than 12,566 pounds and turboprop airplanes with mtows great than 19,000 pounds.

In its description of the proposal, the FAA concedes that the applicability section of Part 38 is “particularly complex.” Essentially, Part 38 would apply to new large subsonic jets and turboprops for which a type certificate application is submitted on or after Jan. 11, 2021.

Additionally, the standards would apply to airplanes for which an application for a modification in type design is submitted on or after Jan. 1, 2023. Finally, the rules would start to apply to in-production turbine aircraft that get their initial certificate of airworthiness after Jan. 1, 2028. In-service aircraft without type certificate modifications on or after Jan. 1, 2023, and no longer being manufactured are exempt.

“The emission standards in the proposed rule uses a metric that equates fuel efficiency and consumption with reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2),” the FAA said. “The proposed rule also accommodates a wide variety of fuel-efficient measures when manufacturing airplanes, including improvements to aerodynamics, engine propulsion efficiency, and reductions in an aircraft’s empty mass before loading.”

These proposed requirements would implement the emissions standards adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency on June 1, 2021. According to the FAA, aircraft such as those that would be covered in Part 38 were responsible for 10 percent of domestic transportation emissions and three percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions before the pandemic. 

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) said its OEM members are “very pleased” with the FAA moving forward on these certification standards since this puts the U.S. in sync with ICAO’s CO2 standards and allows U.S. companies to better compete on a global basis. “ICAO’s CO2 standards were developed…with consideration of industry input and adopted in 2017, so this is not new and has been part of engine and aircraft product development for quite some time,” GAMA added.

Comments on the proposal are due Aug. 15, 2022.