FAA Report To Congress On Aircraft Certification Process

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A Report from theAircraft Certification Process Review and ReformAviation Rulemaking Committeeto theFederal Aviation AdministrationRecommendations on the Assessment of the Certification and Approval ProcessMay 22, 2012Prepared forDirectorAircraft Certification ServiceFederal Aviation AdministrationWashington, DC


TABLE OF CONTENTSLetter from the ACPRR ARC Co–Chairs . vExecutive Summary . vi1.0 About the ACPRR ARC. 12.0 Background . 22.1 Overview . 22.2 Methodology and Scope. 32.3 Organization of This Report. 43.0 FAA Aircraft Type Certification Activity . 53.1 History of FAA Aircraft Type Certification Activity . 53.2 Demands on AIR Resources . 63.3 Aviation Safety: A Dynamic Environment . 83.4 Forecast of FAA Aircraft Type Certification Activity. 84.0 Status of Previous Recommendations Related to the FAA Certification Process . 115.0 ARC Assessment of the Certification and Approval Process . 155.1 The FAA and Industry Guide to Product Certification . 155.2 Aircraft Certification Project Sequencing . 175.3 Effective Use of Delegation . 195.4 Certified Design Organization . 235.5 FAA Safety Management System and Training . 255.6 Updating Airworthiness Requirements . 296.0 Other ARC Considerations. 356.1 Bilateral Agreements. 356.2 Consistency of Regulatory Interpretation . 37A Report from the Aircraft Certification Process Review and Reform ARC to the FAAiii

7.0 Process Reforms and Improvements for Fair and Timely FAA Reviewof Applications. 387.1 Streamlining the Aircraft Certification Process . 387.2 Reengineering the Aircraft Certification Process. 407.3 Other Process Reforms. 428.0 Conclusion . 43Appendix A—ARC Members . A–1Appendix B—Acronyms.B–1Appendix C—FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112–95,Section 312). C–1Appendix D—Charter . D–1Appendix E—Reports Reviewed and Status of Relevant Recommendations .E–1Appendix F—23-Point ODA Action Plan . F–1A Report from the Aircraft Certification Process Review and Reform ARC to the FAAiv

LETTER FROM THE ACPRR ARC CO–CHAIRSMay 22, 2012Ms. Dorenda BakerDirectorAircraft Certification ServiceFederal Aviation Administration800 Independence Avenue, SW.Washington, DC 20591Dear Ms. Baker,In April 2012, the FAA tasked the Aviation Certification Process Review and Reform (ACPRR)Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to conduct an assessment of the certification andapproval process and to make recommendations to streamline and reengineer the certificationprocess. The ACPRR ARC completed its assessment, developed recommendations, and hasprepared this final report.The ACPRR ARC recommendations are the result of a collaborative review by the ARC. TheARC members carefully deliberated and combined their extensive firsthand experience with theaircraft certification processes to produce recommendations to streamline and reengineer thecertification process.On behalf of the ACPRR ARC, it has been an honor to be selected to undertake this importantinitiative. We are confident the ARC recommendations upon implementation will result in thereduction of certification delays. Furthermore, implementation of the ARC’s recommendationswill allow the FAA to conduct type certifications and approvals that support and enable thedevelopment of new products and technologies and enhance the global competitiveness of theU.S. aviation industry.The ARC would be happy to support you in reviewing the report to Congress as you prepare tomeet the objectives of section 312 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.Sincerely,Ali Bahrami, Co-ChairManager, Transport Airplane DirectorateAircraft Certification ServiceFederal Aviation AdministrationChristine Thompson, Co-ChairSenior Manager, Lead ODA ProjectAdministrator Advisor,Regulatory AdministrationBoeing Commercial AirplanesA Report from the Aircraft Certification Process Review and Reform ARC to the FAAv

EXECUTIVE SUMMARYSection 312 of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act of2012 (Public Law 112–95) requires the FAA Administrator, in consultation with the aviationindustry, to conduct an assessment of the aircraft certification and approval process. This finalreport responds to the Administrator’s charter to conduct an assessment of the certification andapproval process and to make recommendations to streamline and reengineer the aircraftcertification process. The Administrator chartered the Aircraft Certification Process Reviewand Reform (ACPRR) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to perform this assessment onApril 20, 2012.METHODOLOGYThe ARC reviewed FAA aircraft certification activity and the status of recommendationsin previous reports on the FAA product certification process, then assessed the certification andapproval processes. In making its assessment, the ARC considered the FAA and Industry Guideto Product Certification (Certification Process Improvement (CPI) Guide); the FAA’scertification project sequencing, methods for enhancing the effective use of delegation, FAAactivities related to safety management systems (SMS), methods for training FAA staff in SMSand auditing; and the status of updating airworthiness requirements, including the implementingrecommendations from the FAA report “Part 23—Small Airplane Certification Process Study”1.The ARC’s assessment prompted the ARC to also consider type certification validation processesand the consistency of regulatory interpretation.The ARC documented key observations and special emphasis items (italicized in this ExecutiveSummary) during its review, and developed recommendations based on common themesobserved and in context of improving efficiency (resulting in cost reduction) and supportingand enabling the development of new technology and enhancing the global competitiveness ofthe U.S. aviation industry.1OK–09–3468, July 2009.A Report from the Aircraft Certification Process Review and Reform ARC to the FAAvi

FAA CERTIFICATION ACTIVITYThe FAA Aircraft Certification Service’s (AIR) certification activity has remained relativelysteady for the past decade, in part because of the AIR project sequencing program (discussedbelow). However, AIR’s workload has increased significantly as AIR resources are required forproduct certification as well as other areas, such as Continued Operational Safety (COS)-relatedactivities for an increasing and aging U.S. fleet and establishing standards to keep pace withemerging technology and industry innovation. AIR spends most of its resources on COS andapproximately one-third of its resources on product certification.The ARC found that the type certification and design approval workload is expected to growbecause of an ongoing trend in the increased introduction of new aviation products; technologiesand materials; new rulemaking and fleet-wide safety initiatives; international type validations;SMS; and the migration of technologies from large transport airplanes to other category aircraft.In addition, the ARC reviewed U.S aircraft fleet data and the number of forecasted aircraftdeliveries and observed AIR’s COS activity is also expected to continue increasing as thecomposition of the fleet changes with the introduction of new aircraft models and designs withnew technologies and materials, and other models and designs retiring.Although the ARC charter was focused on certification process efficiencies, ARC membersagreed that AIR can increase certification capacity and enhance global competitiveness byincreasing efficiencies in all functions it performs, including COS and rulemaking activity.[See recommendation No. 6]STATUS OF PREVIOUS RECOMMENDATIONS RELATED TO THE FAA CERTIFICATION PROCESSThe ARC considered the status of recommendations made in previous reports on the FAA’scertification process. The reports reviewed were from independent expert bodies and oversightagencies. All the reports provided recommendations to reform, streamline, and reengineer theproduct certification process to meet future challenges. A common theme is to shift theFAA certification process from a detailed product approach toward a systems safety approach.The ARC noted the FAA has been generally responsive to the recommendations. However,there is no single repository that captures previous report recommendations and FAA actions inresponse to those recommendations. Furthermore, there is no system in place to track actionswith agreed-upon metrics that show the effectiveness of implementing certain recommendations.[See recommendation No. 1b]A Report from the Aircraft Certification Process Review and Reform ARC to the FAAvii

ARC ASSESSMENTS OF THE CERTIFICATION AND APPROVAL PROCESSESCPI GuideThe CPI Guide2 describes principles to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the productcertification process. The key principles are early applicant/FAA discussions, a Project SpecificCertification Plan (PSCP), and project management reviews to ensure major PSCP milestonesare met or mutually replanned.The ARC noted implementation of CPI Guide principles improves the effectiveness andefficiency of product certification processes resulting in a more effective use of FAA andindustry resources, particularly through upfront identification of requirements and detailedproject planning.Industry and FAA implementation of the CPI Guide principles and best practices has beenchallenging and inconsistent. An update to type certification and project management policy andguidance to incorporate CPI Guide principles and best practices as a prerequisite for productcertification would improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency of certification processes.The certification process does not consistently monitor project management metrics oraccountability to ensure both the applicant and FAA are meeting milestones and complianceactivities documented in the agreed-upon certification plan. [See recommendation No. 1b]Aircraft Certification Project SequencingIn 2005, AIR instituted a sequencing program for all new design approval applications toprioritize processing of certification programs based on the availability of AIR resources. Allnew applications for certification and validation expected to require more than 40 hours ofFAA involvement are placed into the aircraft certification project sequencing program.The FAA takes approximately 90 days to determine whether a project can begin.Delays to the start of new certification projects can negatively impact industry in terms of costand competitiveness, particularly for smaller companies and smaller projects. Delays inFAA certification can cause customers to use providers located outside of the United States tocomplete the work. The ARC identified improvements to the sequencing process that wouldreduce the overall impact on FAA resources and industry applicants including, development ofdetailed certification plans consistent with CPI Guide principles, reevaluating the 40-hour entrythreshold, removing Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) projects, and providing afuture start date as opposed to open 90-day delays.2FAA and Industry Guide to Product Certification, Prepared by AIA, GAMA, and the FAA Aircraft CertificationService, Original edition January 25, 1999; Second edition September 2004.A Report from the Aircraft Certification Process Review and Reform ARC to the FAAviii

Effective Use of DelegationThe FAA’s delegation program3 enables the FAA to meet its safety responsibilities and providetimely certification services by leveraging limited resources, which allows it to focus on criticalsafety areas and the application of new and evolving technologies.The ARC review of previous reports and recommendations on the FAA certification processesfound strong support for the value and importance of the delegation program. The ARC notedthe FAA delegation program is a highly effective tool that is essential to the effectiveness andefficiency of the product certification processes and the FAA’s ability to support a continuouslygrowing level of aviation industry activity and Continued Operational Safety (COS) oversight.However, current delegation programs cannot support compliance activities related toenvironmental tests such as noise and emission and is significantly underutilized for instructionsfor continued airworthiness (ICA). Although not directly managed by AIR, the standards andactivities in these areas directly impact the effectiveness and efficiency of the certificationprocess and AIR resources.Although FAA Order 8100.15A4 provides for delegation of ICA, such as aircraft maintenancemanuals and inspection programs, most are reviewed and accepted by the FAA Flight StandardsService (AFS) Aircraft Evaluation Group (AEG). The volume of ICA continues to rapidlyincrease with the development of new aviation products and technologies and the AEG cannotkeep up with the industry activity resulting in certification program delays. The FAA coulddelegate certain ICA review activity to authorized industry experts to improve effectiveness andefficiency and significantly streamline the certification process.Expansion of delegation programs to include compliance activities related to noise and emissiontests and ICA would reduce delays in certification approvals. [See recommendation No. 2]Organization Designation AuthorizationThe FAA established the ODA program in 2005 and consolidated all existing organizationaldelegation types into this single program. This consolidation improved the safety, quality, andeffectiveness of organizational delegations. However, the key benefits of ODA that improve theefficiency and lower the cost of certification processes are not yet fully realized because of theslow transition to a systems approach to certification.The FAA and industry consider the ODA streamlining activity to date successful becauseof a FAA/Aerospace Industries Association (AIA)/General Aviation ManufacturersAssociation (GAMA) working group’s 23-point detailed action plan that includesaccountability, milestone dates, metrics, and clear actions/deliverables.ODA streamlining success is characterized by “full utilization,” which can be defined asODA management of any function that is not inherently governmental. The criteria to achievefull utilization of ODA must be established as a common vision with exit criterion from ODA tothe future state of certified design organization (CDO).34Administered under 14 CFR part 183, Representatives of the Administrator.Organization Designation Authorization Procedures, effective August 9, 2011.A Report from the Aircraft Certification Process Review and Reform ARC to the FAAix

The FAA should ensure that management has the tools in place to define the roles,responsibilities of the Organization Management Team (OMT). The FAA also should ensurethe position description and performance standards of the FAA staff that oversee delegatedorganizations reflect their appropriate roles and responsibilities. [See recommendation No. 2]Individual Designee ProgramThe FAA issued Order 8100.8D, Designee Management Handbook on October 28, 2001, toaddress a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)5 recommendation to improvemanagement control of the designee programs, increasing assurance that designated engineeringrepresentatives, designated airworthiness representatives, and designated manufacturinginspection representatives meet FAA performance standards.Use of individual designees to the greatest extent possible is beneficial to both the FAA andindustry. The FAA can reassign work to the designees or design approval holders (DAH) usingthe accountability framework concept (individuals are held accountable for their assignedportions of the entire process) and its discretionary function. Use of risk based resource targetingin exercising its discretion will allow the FAA to focus on areas of greatest risk.[See recommendation No. 2]Certified Design OrganizationCongress authorized the FAA to develop and oversee a system for the certification of designorganizations. The FAA can now approve and oversee design organizations with proventechnical expertise and procedures in design, conformity, testing, and quality assurance processesinstead of reviewing and approving thousands of individual drawings and tests itself orthrough individual designees.The FAA established a CDO ARC which recommended how the FAA could proceed with thedevelopment and implementation of CDO. The FAA has not yet issued a CDO rule but shouldestablish a roadmap from standard certification to designee systems, ODA, and CDO.The ARC review of previous reports and recommendations on the FAA certification processesfound strong support for the FAA to approve or certify design organizations. This allows theFAA to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of certification processes by shifting toward asystems approach to safety oversight. [See recommendation Nos. 3 and 4]5“FAA Needs to Strengthen the Management of Its Designee Programs” (GAO–

Washington, DC . A Report from the Aircraft Certification Process Review and Reform ARC to the FAA ii . 8 3.4 Forecast of FAA Aircraft Type Certification Activity . Although FAA Order 8100.15A4 provides for delegation of ICA, such as aircraft maintenance manuals and inspection programs, most are reviewed and accepted by the FAA Flight Standards

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