September 18 is the comment deadline for two separate notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The comment period ends Monday on a proposal for transport aircraft manufacturers, including business jet OEMs, to establish operational limitations to prevent widespread fatigue damage for all future Part 25 designs. For existing designs, the requirement would apply only to jets with mtow of more than 75,000 pounds and operated under Part 121.
The FAA is about to change helicopter certification rules to align them with the current performance levels of the aircraft they regulate. The rules, in effect, are catching up with the improved capabilities of modern rotorcraft.
The agency issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) last August, and the comment period was to end on October 23.
Most of more than 35 respondents supported the FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking–as is or with a few changes–to permit pilots serving as second-in-command (SIC) to apply for the new “SIC pilot type rating.” The purpose of the rule is to make it relatively simple and economical for U.S. flight deck crews to meet international requirements that both pilots hold type ratings. But there were a few comments against the proposal.
Bizliner operators would be required to incorporate technology to meet reduced levels of flammability exposure in fuel tanks, under FAA proposed rulemaking. The requirements would apply to new airframe designs, as well as some 3,200 U.S.-registered Airbus and Boeing airplanes in operation. In-service aircraft would have seven years from the rule’s effective date to comply. Comments on the proposal are due by March 23 next year.
Aphis, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, will eliminate the exemption from inspection requirements and fees for commercial aircraft flying from Canada to the U.S. The rule takes effect November 24. So Fifi and the family ficus will again become the focus of government agents and subject to a $70.25 user fee for aircraft crossing the U.S./Canada border, as well as a $5-per-passenger fee.
FAA regulations that would impose numerous new requirements on air-tour operators are one step closer to publication. The rulemaking, proposed in October 2003, is now under review at the Office of Management and Budget. That review and approval is the last step before the FAA can publish a final rule.
According to a DOT report last month on significant rulemakings, the FAA is not expected to complete until January its work on a November 2003 proposal to require all air-tour operators to be certified under either Part 135 or 121. It is likely that the significant number of objections the FAA received from the public and members of Congress is responsible for the delays the proposal has encountered.
The FAA suspended the August 31 date for Part 135 operators to comply with airworthiness bulletin HBAW 04-06E, while it considers proposed rulemaking that would replace the term “type certificated” with “seating configuration.” The revision would allow methods other than a type certificate change to be an acceptable means of altering seating configurations.
Repair stations would be required to establish a quality-rating program under a notice of proposed rulemaking the FAA expects to publish next month. The new rules would revise the current ratings system and require shops to “establish a quality program.” Repair stations would be required to maintain a capability list, designate a chief inspector and have permanent housing for facilities, equipment, materials and personnel.
The FAA has amended new regulations regarding aircraft thermal and acoustic insulation in response to industry concerns that the requirements applied to a much broader range of components and airplanes than was originally intended.