Rotorcraft certification rules and procedures are antiquated and cannot keep pace with technological advances. That is the view of top executives at helicopter operators, rotorcraft manufacturers, avionics and equipment makers and modification shops.
To explain current efforts to fix those shortcomings and ensure its readers’ concerns are addressed in those efforts, Rotor & Wing International is hosting the first-ever Rotorcraft Certification Summit Oct. 27 at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The one-day summit will bring top industry executives together with key regulatory decision-makers to identify how to field new innovations and technologies faster and more efficiently.
Over the last two years, a multitude of those executives have said—in speeches, rulemaking comments, conference debates and interviews with R&WI—that the antiquated rules and procedures kill the business case for fielding new products and stall safety advances.
The shortcomings range from slow and conflicting procedures for issuing supplemental type certificates (STCs)—which are the lifeblood of aircraft modifications and upgrades—to certification standards that don’t match the technological sophistication of today’s rotorcraft and hinder the development of new aircraft.
A number of initiatives are underway to address and fix these shortcomings. These include efforts to reform STC procedures, joint FAA-European Aviation Safety Agency revisions to certification guidance material and a fledgling U.S.-European-Canadian initiative for industry and regulators to collaborate in revising rotorcraft certification standards.