Published in Midwest Flyer – June/July 2017 Issue
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) praises the U.S. Congress for passing the Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus, providing key funding for general aviation manufacturers in safety, certification, and alternative fuels. The bill, which now heads to President Trump for his signature, will fund the U.S. government through September 30, 2017.
The bill provides $1.29 billion for aviation safety activities, including $1.5 million of that amount for six additional full-time equivalent positions to support the certification of new technologies. The measure also directs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to work with industry to achieve the goal of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of product certification, including fuller utilization of organization designation authorization (ODA), something for which GAMA has strongly advocated.
Additionally, the measure emphasizes the importance for FAA to continue to “strengthen international aviation safety cooperation and improve the flow of aviation products globally through strategic engagement with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA), and National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC).” These efforts should leverage the respective safety competencies of bilateral safety partners to streamline validations of products and reduce burdensome and duplicative work by regulatory specialists.
The bill also provides $7 million for NextGen – Alternative Fuels for General Aviation, $1.2 million more than the request. This funding will ensure that the necessary aircraft and engine testing is undertaken to support required FAA approvals and authorizations for the transition of the piston aircraft fleet to an unleaded aviation fuel.
The explanatory statement accompanying the bill includes by reference language that raises concerns about the removal of the U.S. Air Traffic Control system from the Federal Aviation Administration, citing removal as “fraught with risk, could lead to uncontrollable cost increases to consumers, and could ultimately harm users of and operators in the system, including the flying public, the aviation community, FAA’s workforce, and the small towns in rural America that rely on access to the national air space.”