S. Rept. 113-108 - 113th Congress (2013-2014)
September 17, 2013, As Reported by the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee

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Senate Report 113-108 - SMALL AIRPLANE REVITALIZATION ACT OF 2013




[Senate Report 113-108]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


113th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    113-108
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 187

 
               SMALL AIRPLANE REVITALIZATION ACT OF 2013

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 1072

<GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT>


               September 17, 2013.--Ordered to be printed


       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                    one hundred thirteenth congress
                             first session

            JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West Virginia, Chairman
BARBARA BOXER, California            JOHN THUNE, South Dakota
BILL NELSON, Florida                 ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington           ROY BLUNT, Missouri
MARK PRYOR, Arkansas                 MARCO RUBIO, Florida
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri           KELLY AYOTTE, New Hampshire
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota             DEAN HELLER, Nevada
MARK WARNER, Virginia                DAN COATS, Indiana
MARK BEGICH, Alaska                  TIM SCOTT, South Carolina
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut      TED CRUZ, Texas
BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii                 DEB FISCHER, Nebraska
MARTIN HEINRICH, New Mexico          RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin
ED MARKEY, Massachusetts             JEFF CHIESA, New Jersey

                     Ellen Doneski, Staff Director
                   James Reid, Deputy Staff Director
                     John Williams, General Counsel
              David Schwietert, Republican Staff Director
              Nick Rossi, Republican Deputy Staff Director
               Rebecca Seidel, Republican General Counsel


                                                       Calendar No. 187
113th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    113-108

======================================================================




               SMALL AIRPLANE REVITALIZATION ACT OF 2013

                                _______
                                

               September 17, 2013.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

     Mr. Rockefeller, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1072]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 1072) to ensure that the 
Federal Aviation Administration advances the safety of small 
airplanes and the continued development of the general aviation 
industry, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with an amendment (in the nature of a 
substitute) and recommends that the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  S. 1072 advances the safety and continued development of 
small airplanes by directing the Administrator of the Federal 
Aviation Administration (FAA) to reorganize certification 
requirements in a manner that streamlines the approval of small 
aircraft and associated products, and modifications to their 
certified designs.

                          Background and Needs

  The FAA is responsible for developing safety standards for 
civil aircraft and associated products, and for certifying that 
new aircraft designs, and changes to those designs, meet these 
standards. Part 23 refers to the FAA regulations that apply to 
general aviation aircraft with a maximum certified takeoff 
weight of 19,000 pounds or less. Part 23 covers both new 
aircraft designs as well as modifications to existing aircraft 
to improve safety or performance.
  Part 23 is a large body of regulatory material that is 
complimented by a system of overlapping advisory circulars and 
industry standards from groups such as the SAE International 
and Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics that establish 
the standards and guidelines a manufacturer must use to show 
its products comply with safety requirements. Both the safety 
regulations within Part 23, as well as the advisory circulars 
produced by the FAA, have not been revised regularly, resulting 
in guidance and certification standards that have not kept pace 
with advances in technology. As a result, a significant portion 
of the Part 23 safety regulations prescribe design solutions 
that have not anticipated advances in technology, which have 
inhibited manufacturers' abilities to develop and adopt new 
designs.
  Advisory circulars also typically provide a detailed 
description of a particular method manufacturers can use to 
comply with the regulations. In practice, the specific 
compliance method presented in a given advisory circular is 
often treated in the industry as the only acceptable way to 
comply with the regulations, and discourages manufacturers from 
developing alternative methods that would provide the same 
level of safety.
  The aviation industry has advocated for Part 23 regulatory 
reforms, arguing that the current process inhibits innovations 
that would improve safety and increase economic output. Reforms 
could reduce the challenge of trying to prove the viability of 
new technologies against a framework of assumptions that can be 
outdated, while still maintaining the highest levels of safety. 
This could reduce both the time and resources consumed by the 
process for manufacturers and regulators alike.
  The FAA initiated an on-going review process for Part 23 
certification in 2008, and in 2011, commissioned an aviation 
rulemaking committee to review the work to date and develop 
recommendations. The committee issued its report, which forms 
the basis of this bill, in June 2013.

                         Summary of Provisions

  S. 1072 would reorganize the certification requirements for 
general aviation under Part 23 in order to make it quicker and 
more cost-effective to bring safety and other technological 
improvements to market. The bill would require the FAA to pass 
a final rule updating Part 23 regulations by December 2015. The 
legislation would mandate the development of performance-based 
safety requirements for Part 23 and introduce consensus-based 
standards to clarify how to comply with these requirements. 
This would provide the FAA greater flexibility to keep 
standards in sync with technological advancements.

                          Legislative History

  Senator Klobuchar introduced S. 1072 on May 23, 2013 along 
with eight cosponsors. On July 30, 2013, the Committee met in 
Executive Session during which S. 1072 was considered. One 
amendment, in the nature of a substitute, was offered by 
Senator Klobuchar that clarified aspects of the legislation and 
made technical corrections. The bill, as amended, was ordered 
reported by voice vote.
  A companion bill, The Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 
2013, H.R. 1848, was introduced by Representative Mike Pompeo 
and 31 cosponsors in the House of Representatives on May 7, 
2013. H.R. 1848 passed the House of Representatives on July 16, 
2013, by a roll call vote of 411-0.

                            Estimated Costs

  In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 1072--Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible 
for regulating and overseeing civil air transportation. S. 1072 
would require the agency to issue a final rule related to 
certification and safety requirements of small airplanes by 
December 31, 2015. According to the agency, the rule required 
under the bill would build on efforts already under way to 
develop a regulatory regime for small airplanes, and CBO does 
not expect that meeting the deadline specified under S. 1072 
would significantly affect the agency's costs to complete those 
proceedings. As a result, CBO estimates that implementing S. 
1072 would have no significant impact on the federal budget. 
The legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    S. 1072 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    On July 15, 2013, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 
1848, the Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013, as ordered 
reported by the House Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure. The two bills are similar, and the CBO cost 
estimates are the same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Megan Carroll. 
This estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

  In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

  The reported bill would be consistent with the current 
operation of the air transportation system, thus the number of 
persons covered should be consistent with the current levels of 
individuals impacted under the existing aviation system.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  S. 1072 is expected to have a positive impact on the U.S. 
economy. The transportation system is a key component of the 
Nation's economy. Provisions in this legislation aim to improve 
the competitiveness of U.S. aircraft manufacturers.

                                PRIVACY

  The reported bill is not expected to have any impact on the 
privacy rights of individuals.

                               PAPERWORK

  It is not anticipated that there will be a major increase in 
paperwork burdens resulting from the enactment of S. 1072.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

  In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short Title

  This section would provide that the Act be cited as the 
``Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013''.

Section 2. Findings

  This section would lay out a series of findings regarding the 
state of the general aviation segment of the industry that 
support the need for this Act. Among the findings is that a 
healthy small aircraft industry is integral to U.S. economic 
growth and includes products that are exported in great 
numbers. General aviation contributes to well-paying 
manufacturing and technology jobs, and cultivates a workforce 
of engineers, manufacturing and maintenance professionals, and 
pilots. Small airplanes comprise nearly 90 percent of the 
general aviation aircraft certified by the FAA, but the average 
age of these aircraft is now 40 years, due in part to 
regulatory barriers that make it difficult to bring new designs 
and technologies to market. Since 2003, the United States has 
lost 10,000 active private pilots per year on average, in part 
due to a lack of cost-effective, new small airplanes.

Section 3. Safety and Regulatory Improvements for General Aviation

  This section would require the FAA to issue a final rule 
updating certification requirements for Part 23 aircraft by 
December 15, 2015. The final rule would be based on findings of 
the Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which 
issued its report in June 2013. The final rule would improve 
safety and reduce the regulatory costs of certification for 
both the FAA and industry. The rule would establish broad, 
outcome driven safety standards that can be met using 
performance-based requirements. The bill also would direct the 
FAA to work with aviation regulators in other countries to 
adopt similar standards.

                        Changes in Existing Law

  In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the bill as 
reported would make no change to existing law.