The ASTM F44 Committee on General Aviation maintains the ASTM standards that are used as MOC (Means of Compliance) for the United States FAA 14 CFR Part 23 amendment 64 regulations and the European Union EASA CS-23 amendment 5 certification specifications. These regulations are written as performance based requirements which define the level of safety and avoids addressing prescriptive design solutions. Industry consensus standards are used to address the prescriptive design solutions and define the necessary MOC to show compliance with the regulations.
ASTM F44 Committee on General Aviation is compromised of five technical subcommittees and four coordination subcommittees. Four of the technical subcommittees cover the major engineering disciplines (F44.20, F44.30, F44.40 and F44.50) while F44.10 General is a subcommittee that covers areas that are affected by multiple engineering disciplines such as crew interface and ice protection. The F44.90 Executive subcommittee consists of the committee officers of F44 Main, the subcommittee chairs of all subcommittees, and members at large which are selected to represent regulators, academia, research organizations, SDOs (Standards Development Organizations), and any other representation deemed necessary by the executive members. F44.91 covers terminology that is used across the entire committee. F44.92 and F44.93 are liaison subcommittees which represent regulators and industry and provide a forum for those groups to meet separately.
Five Technical Subcommittees
What is the Difference Between Main and General?
People who are new to the ASTM F44 committee structure may be confused between F44 Main and the F44.10 General subcommittee. F44 Main is the main committee which votes on ballots presented by all subcommittees. If you are member of F44 Main then you will be voting on everything across the entire committee. F44.10 General is a subcommittee which covers specific topics that cut across multiple engineering disciplines. As a subcommittee, F44.10 focuses on technical content of the ASTM standards that are within the jurisdiction of F44.10. The key thing to remember is that F44 Main gives you visibility to committee business across all subcommittees, while being a member of F44.10 only gives you visibility to the subcommittee business of F44.10.
The committee structure is setup for the primary purpose of supporting the creation and maintenance of MOC documents that applicants can use for their certification projects. Part of the committee objective is to support the incorporation of requirements for addressing new technology. The faster adoption of requirements for new technology is a significant advantage of using industry consensus standards. In order to facilitate this activity, there are two subcommittees chartered under the F44.90 executive subcommittee. F44.90.01 Advanced Technologies is chartered to stay current on new developing technologies and support the adoption of new requirements. F44.90.02 Operations Integration is chartered to bridge design standards with operational requirements and ensure a compatible approach as new technology is adopted into the national aerospace system globally.
F44.90.01 is a subcommittee that tends to be focused on emerging trends and technology that may not be commercially available for some time. With the maturing technology of electric distributed propulsion systems, capital investment into the eVTOL segment has gained a significant amount of momentum within the last decade. Rather than F44.90.01 addressing the gaps for eVTOL, an administrative group called AC433 has been working on defining those gaps and resourcing technical subcommittee work items to update F44 ASTM standards for eVTOL requirements. AC433 is the ASTM identification of an administrative collaboration area for F44. AC433 is not an ASTM subcommittee and does not create ballots through AC433. It’s an administrative task group under F44 which coordinates with all F44 subcommittee officers to coordinate work items that are balloted under each affected technical subcommittee. Anyone interested in getting involved with AC433 should contact the F44 staff manager for details.
Global Outreach for a Global Industry
Since F44 was established in October of 2012, a total of 41 ASTM standards have been published. The technical subcommittees are continually revising existing standards and creating new standards. F44 has over 420 members globally from 27 countries on all continents. Membership is very diverse and is represented by longstanding companies, startups, regulators, academia, consultants, research organizations, SDOs, and operators. F44 typically meets in-person twice per year usually in April and October. The spring meeting is typically hosted in Europe while the fall meeting is typically associated with the ASTM fall committee week in the United States. Locations change for each meeting to provide the best opportunity for attendance by all interested stakeholders. All F44 subcommittees have ongoing virtual meetings throughout the year.
Joel Heck has been with Cessna, now Textron Aviation, for 24 years in engineering. His entire career has been focused on the design approval aspects of FAA certification, and his technical work experience in certification spans the Cessna, Beechcraft, and McCauley product lines.