FAA to slash cost of certification: Huerta

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is spearheading efforts to halve the costs associated with certifying new aircraft and systems to help speed NextGen modernisation, according to the agency’s chief.

Speaking at a Wichita Aero Club luncheon where he was the keynote speaker, acting administrator Michael Huerta said the agency was both committed to enhancing safety while decreasing the costs associated with aircraft certification.

He told members that the FAA was targeting improvements in general aviation safety in addition to cutting certification costs in half through developing a standard set of product certification rules that would be implemented by all aviation authorities around the world.

“The approach we have taken until now is more forensic in nature. We react. We see what didn’t work and we create certain design requirements to make sure that a certain failure does not happen again. In essence, what we are doing is preventing the last accident. This approach has served us well and has helped us to achieve the safest aviation system in the world. However, we believe there is a better way for the future – one that retains the safety lessons we’ve learned from the past while providing for a more proactive and flexible approach to certification,” said Huerta.

The FAA chief said that having more global testing standards would reduce costs and help companies develop technologies faster.

“Nowadays, you may have to do the test slightly differently in each country, and this takes a whole lot more time. And it costs literally millions of dollars to make these slight changes that will account for country differences,” Huerta said. “The new approach saves time and money for companies because it’s one testing standard across the globe – whether it’s the United States, Canada, Brazil, Europe, New Zealand, China or Russia.”

The need to speed up certification – which forms part of the work of a FAA rule-making committee which is due to report next year – has been acknowledged similarly by Single Sky architects in Europe who are disappointed with the progress of that region’s efforts to modernise its air traffic management system.

The European Commission has just launched a consultation process in which it seeks views on a future European Aviation Agency that would have wide-ranging powers to check that member states are applying rules – agreed at European level – consistently throughout the whole industry from airworthiness to air traffic management.

As part of that action, the Commission will also consider letting such a mega-agency take over some of the tasks currently undertaken by national civil aviation authorities which it reckons could free up vital resources by eliminating much of the red tape required to approve new technology.

Read More: FAA-style mega-agency for Europe?

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One Response to FAA to slash cost of certification: Huerta

  1. Phil Cole says:

    We have a software tool that will help to drasticly reduce certification times and reduce the amount of work that the FAA has to undertake in order to achieve the same end result. The tool is already being used by an airframe manufacturer and is showing very promising cost/schedule/risk saving results. I would be happy to engage the FAA directly to discuss how the tool may fit into Mr. Huerta’s plan.