H. R. 878
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 8, 2023
Mr. Nehls introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
To direct the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to appoint an Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology, and for other purposes.
United States leadership in aviation safety technology
Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology
Section 106 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology
The Administrator shall appoint an Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology, who shall report directly to the Administrator.
The Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology shall have—
at least 10 years of experience in aerospace engineering management or safety-critical aviation software or systems development, with a focus on the certification and operational approval of such systems; or
at least 10 years of management-level experience and knowledge of the aviation industry.
The Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology shall not be a political appointee.
The Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology shall serve at the pleasure of the Administrator.
The Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology shall have the following responsibilities:
Ensuring that Federal Aviation Administration organizations involved in the review and certification of aviation safety technologies, and the operation thereof, are engaging in workforce planning efforts to recruit and hire the required number of engineers, inspectors, and subject matter experts to process applications in a timely manner and oversee operations utilizing aviation safety technologies.
Collaborating with the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety to coordinate the evaluation, certification, and operation of aviation safety technologies in the national airspace system.
Coordinating with the Chief Operating Officer of the Air Traffic Control System on the integration of aviation safety technologies into the national airspace system.
Identifying the core competencies that the Federal Aviation Administration engineer and inspector workforce need to oversee the safety, certification and operational approval of safety technologies.
Developing specific recommendations to the Office of the Secretary and the Administrator regarding gaps in the existing engineer and inspector workforce involved in the certification and operational approval of safety technology and the budgetary resources needed to fill the identified gaps.
Establishing a detailed process for Federal Aviation Administration coordination of major certification milestones related to safety technologies that defines a lead organization for review, identifies other organizations to be involved in review, and details how various Federal Aviation Administration organizations or lines of business shall engage in the review process.
Developing a process that, within 30 days of the submission of documents related to a major certification milestone for an aviation safety technology, notifies the applicant of the lead reviewing Federal Aviation Administration organization and all other organizations or offices that will review, and a date-specific timeline for completion of review activities.
Not later than 12 months after enactment of this subsection, implementation of a secure password-protected online portal for applicants with new or pending aviation safety technology projects to review the status of their specific application, deadlines, and the Federal Aviation Administration organizations or offices scheduled to review the application.
Not later than 12 months after the enactment of this subsection, provide a report on the implementation of section 377 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (Public Law 115–254) on the development of a transparent process through which the FAA can approve non-governmental entities to independently provide safety-critical services to aircraft operators and airport operators.
Development of a process for applicants to escalate to the appropriate management personnel of the Federal Aviation Administration any major certification or operational approval process milestone under this section that is not completed or resolved within the specific time period described in this subsection.
Resolving certification milestones as described in this section within a time agreed to by the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology and the applicant.
Identifying and directing the necessary Federal Aviation Administration personnel and budgetary resources necessary to complete major certification milestones related to aviation safety technologies within the timelines defined in this section.
Not later than 12 months after the enactment of this subsection, the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology shall establish an interagency working group to promote collaboration and engagement between the Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, Federal Communications Commission, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and other relevant agencies to propose new regulations enabling digital flight which will allow safe operation of uncrewed aircraft systems and crewed aircraft through technologies such as advanced airspace and safety-enhancing aircraft automation, enhanced surveillance, and secure, digital pilot/air traffic control communications.
Annual rate of basic pay
The Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology shall be paid at an annual rate of basic pay to be determined by the Administrator.
The annual rate may not exceed the annual compensation paid under section 102 of title 3.
The Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology shall be the subject to the post-employment provisions of section 207 of title 18, as if the position of the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology were described in section 207(c)(2)(A)(i) of such title.
In addition to the annual rate of basic pay authorized under paragraph (1), the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology may receive a bonus for any calendar year not to exceed 30 percent of the annual rate of basic pay, based upon the Administrator’s evaluation of the performance of the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology in relation to the responsibilities established under paragraph (2).
In this section:
Major certification process milestone
major certification process milestone has the meaning given the term in section 44704.
Aviation Safety Technology
Aviation Safety Technology means airborne or ground-based equipment that are meant to reduce the occurrence of aviation accidents such as Loss Of Control In-Flight (LOC-I), Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT), Single Component Failure (SCF), mid-air collisions, and/or fuel mismanagement. Specific technologies shall include but not be limited to: navigation technology, auto-land technology, auto take-off technology, auto-taxi technology, detect-and-avoid technology, aircraft communications technology and remote piloting technology.
The Assistant Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology may issue such regulations as are necessary to expand the definition of
Aviation Safety Technology for purposes of section 106(u)(3) of title 49, United States Code.
Aviation Rulemaking Committee
Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Assistant Administrator for Aviation Safety Technology shall establish an aviation rulemaking committee to make recommendations for the development of a detailed roadmap for the certification and operational approval of aviation safety technologies by the Federal Aviation Administration, with a focus on technologies, software, and automation that will enhance operational safety and require approval from multiple organizations with the agency.
The Assistant Administrator shall—
not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report based on the findings of aviation rulemaking committee established under paragraph (1); and
not later than 1 year after the date of submission of the report under subparagraph (A) issue a notice of proposed rulemaking based on any consensus recommendations reached by the aviation rulemaking committee established under paragraph (1).
Non-applicability of FACA
The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to an aviation rulemaking committee established under this subsection.
Authorization of appropriations
There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section and section 106(u) of title 49, United States Code, $10,000,000 for each fiscal year.