FAA Defining 'Propeller Critical Part' with NPRM

The agency sets minimum safety standards for airplane propellers, but its regulations don't specifically define the term propeller critical part – so there are no requirements for design, manufacture, or maintenance.

A proposed rule from the Federal Aviation Administration would define and require manufacturers to identify "propeller critical parts," which would fill a void in the agency's regulations. FAA does not have a specific definition for a propeller critical part or require operators to identify them, so propeller manufacturers are not required to provide information concerning their design, manufacture, or maintenance.

FAA's Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee began developing recommendations five years ago to address the integrity of propeller critical parts and be in harmony with similar European Aviation Safety Agency regulations; the rule will carry these out.

EASA has a specific definition for propeller critical part in its toolbox, as well as regulations to reduce the likelihood of propeller critical part failures. FAA said its proposal is intended to be equivalent to the EASA regulations, which will simplify airworthiness approvals for export of these parts. Thus, FAA concluded the rule will impose no costs on the manufacturers, who already are making their propellers to comply with the EASA rules.

Comments are due by Jan. 30, 2012 (visit www.regulations.gov and search for docket number FAA-2010-0940).

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