Advanced Adapting Avionics Regulations in Commercial Jets

Jack Austin

Advanced Adapting Avionics Regulations in Commercial Jets

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently addressed the growing need for adapting avionics regulations to accommodate the advancements in commercial jets, especially electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The existing regulations have struggled to keep pace with the evolving designs of powered-lift aircraft, leading to challenges in training and certifying flight instructors and pilots.

In response to this, the FAA has announced the forthcoming Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which aims to establish operational and airman qualification requirements specific to powered-lift aircraft. The proposed rule will provide essential guidelines and standards to ensure the safe operation of advanced air mobility, enabling the integration of eVTOL aircraft into commercial aviation.

With the increasing interest and investment in electric aircraft and their potential for transforming urban air transportation, it has become imperative to establish robust regulations that prioritize safety without stifling innovation. The SFAR NPRM is a significant step forward in bridging the regulatory gap and fostering the growth of the eVTOL industry.

On June 14, the proposed rule will be officially published, initiating a comment period that will last until August 12. This period allows stakeholders, including manufacturers, operators, and aviation industry professionals, to provide valuable feedback and insights to shape and refine the regulations.

We, as an industry, understand the critical importance of adapting avionics regulations that address the unique requirements and challenges presented by electric aircraft. By collaborating and sharing our expertise, we can ensure that airman qualifications, operational practices, and safety standards align with the technological advancements and emerging trends in commercial jets.

Enabling Autonomous Operations with ADS-B Deviation Authorization

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has introduced the ADS-B Deviation Authorization Preflight Tool (ADAPT) to streamline the process of obtaining authorization for pilots and operators utilizing aircraft that do not meet the ADS-B Out equipage or performance requirements. This innovative tool allows for efficient management of authorization requests, ensuring the safe operation of these aircraft.

For an aircraft to be considered for an ADS-B deviation authorization, it must be equipped with an operational transponder and altitude encoder. These components are crucial for accurate surveillance and tracking during flight operations. Pilots/operators must submit their deviation requests within the specified timeframe before their planned flight.

ADAPT provides an effective solution for managing alternate surveillance availability and promptly verifies deviation requests. However, it is important to note that obtaining an ADS-B deviation authorization does not guarantee clearance into airspace that requires ADS-B Out equipment. The FAA recognizes the significance of safe airspace integration and is actively working on developing comprehensive regulations to enable routine operations beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

Global Evolution of Drone Regulations and Unmanned Systems

The global landscape of commercial drones has witnessed a remarkable growth in recent years, with the number of registered commercial drones soaring significantly. In the United States alone, there are currently over 314,000 registered commercial drones, a substantial increase from the 42,000 recorded in 2016. As the drone industry continues to expand, the regulations governing autonomous aircraft and unmanned systems are also evolving.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken important steps in regulating small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Under the Part 107 guidelines, routine commercial operations with small UAS are permissible. However, certain operations such as beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and flights over moving vehicles still require waivers. To address these challenges, the FAA is actively working to enable routine BVLOS operations and implement an effective unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM) system.

Not only is the FAA making strides in drone regulation, but so is the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). EASA has developed the U-space concept, a UTM system tailored to the European airspace, which will be introduced as regulations in 2023. This system aims to enhance safety and efficiency for drone operations across Europe.

In the midst of evolving regulations, companies in the drone delivery industry, like Zipline and UVL Robotics, are collaborating closely with regulatory authorities to pave the way for BVLOS operations. These companies understand the immense potential of BVLOS operations in expanding their services and are actively engaging in regulatory discussions to ensure responsible and safe integration of drones into the airspace.

Jack Austin