View all text of Chapter 447 [§ 44701 - § 44743]

§ 44704. Type certificates, production certificates, airworthiness certificates, and design and production organization certificates
(a)Type Certificates.—
(1)Issuance, investigations, and tests.—The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall issue a type certificate for an aircraft, aircraft engine, or propeller, or for an appliance specified under paragraph (2)(A) of this subsection when the Administrator finds that the aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance is properly designed and manufactured, performs properly, and meets the regulations and minimum standards prescribed under section 44701(a) of this title. On receiving an application for a type certificate, the Administrator shall investigate the application and may conduct a hearing. The Administrator shall make, or require the applicant to make, tests the Administrator considers necessary in the interest of safety.
(2)Specifications.—The Administrator may—
(A) specify in regulations those appliances that reasonably require a type certificate in the interest of safety;
(B) include in a type certificate terms required in the interest of safety; and
(C) record on the certificate a numerical specification of the essential factors related to the performance of the aircraft, aircraft engine, or propeller for which the certificate is issued.
(3)Special rules for new aircraft and appliances.—Except as provided in paragraph (4), if the holder of a type certificate agrees to permit another person to use the certificate to manufacture a new aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance, the holder shall provide the other person with written evidence, in a form acceptable to the Administrator, of that agreement. Such other person may manufacture a new aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance based on a type certificate only if such other person is the holder of the type certificate or has permission from the holder.
(4)Limitation for aircraft manufactured before august 5, 2004.—Paragraph (3) shall not apply to a person who began the manufacture of an aircraft before August 5, 2004, and who demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Administrator that such manufacture began before August 5, 2004, if the name of the holder of the type certificate for the aircraft does not appear on the airworthiness certificate or identification plate of the aircraft. The holder of the type certificate for the aircraft shall not be responsible for the continued airworthiness of the aircraft. A person may invoke the exception provided by this paragraph with regard to the manufacture of only one aircraft.
(5)Release of data.—
(A)In general.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Administrator may make available upon request, to a person seeking to maintain the airworthiness or develop product improvements of an aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliance, engineering data in the possession of the Administration relating to a type certificate or a supplemental type certificate for such aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliance, without the consent of the owner of record, if the Administrator determines that—
(i) the certificate containing the requested data has been inactive for 3 or more years, except that the Administrator may reduce this time if required to address an unsafe condition associated with the product;
(ii) after using due diligence, the Administrator is unable to find the owner of record, or the owner of record’s heir, of the type certificate or supplemental type certificate; and
(iii) making such data available will enhance aviation safety.
(B)Engineering data defined.—In this section, the term “engineering data” as used with respect to an aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliance means type design drawing and specifications for the entire aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliance or change to the aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliance, including the original design data, and any associated supplier data for individual parts or components approved as part of the particular certificate for the aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliance.
(C)Requirement to maintain data.—The Administrator shall maintain engineering data in the possession of the Administration relating to a type certificate or a supplemental type certificate that has been inactive for 3 or more years.
(b)Supplemental Type Certificates.—
(1)Issuance.—The Administrator may issue a type certificate designated as a supplemental type certificate for a change to an aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance.
(2)Contents.—A supplemental type certificate issued under paragraph (1) shall consist of the change to the aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance with respect to the previously issued type certificate for the aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance.
(3)Requirement.—If the holder of a supplemental type certificate agrees to permit another person to use the certificate to modify an aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance, the holder shall provide the other person with written evidence, in a form acceptable to the Administrator, of that agreement. A person may change an aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance based on a supplemental type certificate only if the person requesting the change is the holder of the supplemental type certificate or has permission from the holder to make the change.
(c)Production Certificates.—The Administrator shall issue a production certificate authorizing the production of a duplicate of an aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance for which a type certificate has been issued when the Administrator finds the duplicate will conform to the certificate. On receiving an application, the Administrator shall inspect, and may require testing of, a duplicate to ensure that it conforms to the requirements of the certificate. The Administrator may include in a production certificate terms required in the interest of safety.
(d)Airworthiness Certificates.—
(1) The registered owner of an aircraft may apply to the Administrator for an airworthiness certificate for the aircraft. The Administrator shall issue an airworthiness certificate when the Administrator finds that the aircraft conforms to its type certificate and, after inspection, is in condition for safe operation. The Administrator shall register each airworthiness certificate and may include appropriate information in the certificate. The certificate number or other individual designation the Administrator requires shall be displayed on the aircraft. The Administrator may include in an airworthiness certificate terms required in the interest of safety.
(2) A person applying for the issuance or renewal of an airworthiness certificate for an aircraft for which ownership has not been recorded under section 44107 or 44110 of this title must submit with the application information related to the ownership of the aircraft the Administrator decides is necessary to identify each person having a property interest in the aircraft and the kind and extent of the interest.
(3)Nonconformity with approved type design.—
(A)In general.—Consistent with the requirements of paragraph (1), a holder of a production certificate for an aircraft may not present a nonconforming aircraft, either directly or through the registered owner of such aircraft or a person described in paragraph (2), to the Administrator for issuance of an initial airworthiness certificate.
(B)Civil penalty.—Notwithstanding section 46301, a production certificate holder who knowingly violates subparagraph (A) shall be liable to the Administrator for a civil penalty of not more than $1,000,000 for each nonconforming aircraft.
(C)Penalty considerations.—In determining the amount of a civil penalty under subparagraph (B), the Administrator shall consider—
(i) the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation, including the length of time the nonconformity was known by the holder of a production certificate but not disclosed; and
(ii) with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior violations, and the size of the business concern.
(D)Nonconforming aircraft defined.—In this paragraph, the term “nonconforming aircraft” means an aircraft that does not conform to the approved type design for such aircraft type.
(e)Disclosure of Safety Critical Information.—
(1)In general.—Notwithstanding a delegation described in section 44702(d), the Administrator shall require an applicant for, or holder of, a type certificate for a transport category airplane covered under part 25 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, to submit safety critical information with respect to such airplane to the Administrator in such form, manner, or time as the Administrator may require. Such safety critical information shall include—
(A) any design and operational details, intended functions, and failure modes of any system that, without being commanded by the flight crew, commands the operation of any safety critical function or feature required for control of an airplane during flight or that otherwise changes the flight path or airspeed of an airplane;
(B) the design and operational details, intended functions, failure modes, and mode annunciations of autopilot and autothrottle systems, if applicable;
(C) any failure or operating condition that the applicant or holder anticipates or has concluded would result in an outcome with a severity level of hazardous or catastrophic, as defined in the appropriate Administration airworthiness requirements and guidance applicable to transport category airplanes defining risk severity;
(D) any adverse handling quality that fails to meet the requirements of applicable regulations without the addition of a software system to augment the flight controls of the airplane to produce compliant handling qualities; and
(E) a system safety assessment with respect to a system described in subparagraph (A) or (B) or with respect to any component or other system for which failure or erroneous operation of such component or system could result in an outcome with a severity level of hazardous or catastrophic, as defined in the appropriate Administration airworthiness requirements and guidance applicable to transport category airplanes defining risk severity.
(2)Ongoing communications.—
(A)Newly discovered information.—The Administrator shall require that an applicant for, or holder of, a type certificate disclose to the Administrator, in such form, manner, or time as the Administrator may require, any newly discovered information or design or analysis change that would materially alter any submission to the Administrator under paragraph (1).
(B)System development changes.—The Administrator shall establish multiple milestones throughout the certification process at which a proposed airplane system will be assessed to determine whether any change to such system during the certification process is such that such system should be considered novel or unusual by the Administrator.
(3)Flight manuals.—The Administrator shall ensure that an airplane flight manual and a flight crew operating manual (as appropriate or applicable) for an airplane contains a description of the operation of a system described in paragraph (1)(A) and flight crew procedures for responding to a failure or aberrant operation of such system.
(4)Civil penalty.—
(A)Amount.—Notwithstanding section 46301, an applicant for, or holder of, a type certificate that knowingly violates paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection shall be liable to the Administrator for a civil penalty of not more than $1,000,000 for each violation.
(B)Penalty considerations.—In determining the amount of a civil penalty under subparagraph (A), the Administrator shall consider—
(i) the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation, including the length of time that such safety critical information was known but not disclosed; and
(ii) with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior violations, and the size of the business concern.
(5)Revocation and civil penalty for individuals.—
(A)In general.—The Administrator shall revoke any airline transport pilot certificate issued under section 44703 held by any individual who, while acting on behalf of an applicant for, or holder of, a type certificate, knowingly makes a false statement with respect to any of the matters described in subparagraphs (A) through (E) of paragraph (1).
(B)Authority to impose civil penalty.—The Administrator may impose a civil penalty under section 46301 for each violation described in subparagraph (A).
(6)Rule of construction.—Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to affect or otherwise inhibit the authority of the Administrator to deny an application by an applicant for a type certificate or to revoke or amend a type certificate of a holder of such certificate.
(7)Definition of type certificate.—In this subsection, the term “type certificate”—
(A) means a type certificate issued under subsection (a) or an amendment to such certificate; and
(B) does not include a supplemental type certificate issued under subsection (b).
(f)Hearing Requirement.—The Administrator may find that a person has violated subsection (a)(6) or paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (e) and impose a civil penalty under the applicable subsection only after notice and an opportunity for a hearing. The Administrator shall provide a person—
(1) written notice of the violation and the amount of penalty; and
(2) the opportunity for a hearing under subpart G of part 13 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations.
(g)Certification Dispute Resolution.—
(1)Dispute resolution process and appeals.—
(A)In general.—Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Administrator shall issue an order establishing—
(i) an effective, timely, and milestone-based issue resolution process for type certification activities under subsection (a); and
(ii) a process by which a decision, finding of compliance or noncompliance, or other act of the Administration, with respect to compliance with design requirements, may be appealed by a covered person directly involved with the certification activities in dispute on the basis that such decision, finding, or act is erroneous or inconsistent with this chapter, regulations, or guidance materials promulgated by the Administrator, or other requirements.
(B)Escalation.—The order issued under subparagraph (A) shall provide processes for—
(i) resolution of technical issues at pre-established stages of the certification process, as agreed to by the Administrator and the type certificate applicant;
(ii) automatic elevation to appropriate management personnel of the Administration and the type certificate applicant of any major certification process milestone that is not completed or resolved within a specific period of time agreed to by the Administrator and the type certificate applicant;
(iii) resolution of a major certification process milestone elevated pursuant to clause (ii) within a specific period of time agreed to by the Administrator and the type certificate applicant;
(iv) initial review by appropriate Administration employees of any appeal described in subparagraph (A)(ii); and
(v) subsequent review of any further appeal by appropriate management personnel of the Administration and the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety.
(C)Disposition.—
(i)Written decision.—The Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety shall issue a written decision that states the grounds for the decision of the Associate Administrator on—(I) each appeal submitted under subparagraph (A)(ii); and(II) An appeal to the Associate Administrator submitted under subparagraph (B)(v).
(ii)Report to congress.—Not later than December 31 of each calendar year through calendar year 2025, the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report summarizing each appeal resolved under this subsection.
(D)Final review.—
(i)In general.—A written decision of the Associate Administrator under subparagraph (C) may be appealed to the Administrator for a final review and determination.
(ii)Decline to review.—The Administrator may decline to review an appeal initiated pursuant to clause (i).
(iii)Judicial review.—No decision under this paragraph (including a decision to decline to review an appeal) shall be subject to judicial review.
(2)Prohibited contacts.—
(A)Prohibition generally.—During the course of an appeal under this subsection, no covered official may engage in an ex parte communication (as defined in section 551 of title 5) with an individual representing or acting on behalf of an applicant for, or holder of, a certificate under this section in relation to such appeal unless such communication is disclosed pursuant to subparagraph (B).
(B)Disclosure.—If, during the course of an appeal under this subsection, a covered official engages in, receives, or is otherwise made aware of an ex parte communication, the covered official shall disclose such communication in the public record at the time of the issuance of the written decision under paragraph (1)(C), inc
(3)Definitions.—In this subsection:
(A)Covered person.—The term “covered person” means either—
(i) an employee of the Administration whose responsibilities relate to the certification of aircraft, engines, propellers, or appliances; or
(ii) an applicant for, or holder of, a type certificate or amended type certificate issued under this section.
(B)Covered official.—The term “covered official” means the following officials:
(i) The Executive Director or any Deputy Director of the Aircraft Certification Service.
(ii) The Deputy Executive Director for Regulatory Operations of the Aircraft Certification Service.
(iii) The Director or Deputy Director of the Compliance and Airworthiness Division of the Aircraft Certification Service.
(iv) The Director or Deputy Director of the System Oversight Division of the Aircraft Certification Service.
(v) The Director or Deputy Director of the Policy and Innovation Division of the Aircraft Certification Service.
(vi) The Executive Director or any Deputy Executive Director of the Flight Standards Service.
(vii) The Associate Administrator or Deputy Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety.
(viii) The Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
(ix) The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
(x) Any similarly situated or successor FAA management position to those described in clauses (i) through (ix), as determined by the Administrator.
(C)Major certification process milestone.—The term “major certification process milestone” means a milestone related to the type certification basis, type certification plan, type inspection authorization, issue paper, or other major type certification activity agreed to by the Administrator and the type certificate applicant.
(4)Rule of construction.—Nothing in this subsection shall apply to the communication of a good-faith complaint by any individual alleging—
(A) gross misconduct;
(B) a violation of title 18; or
(C) a violation of any of the provisions of part 2635 or 6001 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations.
(Pub. L. 103–272, § 1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1188; Pub. L. 104–264, title IV, § 403, Oct. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 3256; Pub. L. 108–176, title II, § 227(b)(2), (e)(1), title VIII, § 811, Dec. 12, 2003, 117 Stat. 2531, 2532, 2590; Pub. L. 109–59, title IV, § 4405, Aug. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 1776; Pub. L. 112–95, title III, §§ 302, 303(a), (c)(1), Feb. 14, 2012, 126 Stat. 56, 57; Pub. L. 115–254, div. B, title II, § 214, Oct. 5, 2018, 132 Stat. 3250; Pub. L. 116–260, div. V, title I, §§ 105(a), (b), 110, 120, Dec. 27, 2020, 134 Stat. 2317, 2328, 2343.)