Wednesday, 21 April 2010

FAA help VLJ builders

The FAA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking relating to the certification of light jets. If the proposal goes through, new turbine aircraft weighing less than 6,000lb will have to undertake a series of 'function and reliability' testing. That translates into putting real airframes and real engines through real flights exploring the envelope, weather and flight profiles that are expected when the aircrfat gets into customer's hands. The FAA says that the NPRM comes from lessons learned during Eclipse certification - issues that have since come to light with the EA500 would have apparently been caught by the new requirements.

It would mean extra tests, more time, more money and probably more weight (aircraft don't usually get lighter and cheaper as a result of certification), so why would this help the likes of Cirrus, Piper etc? Simply because the programmes can be slowed even further (a good thing in these cash-straped economic times) and the blame can be laid at the feet of the FAA. A bit cynical perhaps, but these projects were started in better times and no aircraft manufacturer has loads of cash to spend on speedy certification and production.

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