The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have both included language on advanced materials, including composites, in recently introduced Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization legislation. However, political fights on unrelated topics remain unresolved in the Senate, endangering smooth passage of the bill.

The Senate bill expands the existing Advanced Materials Center of Excellence and now lists specific “applied research and training on the safe use of composites and advanced materials in airframe structures.” Under this program, the center shall “establish goals to advance … carbon fiber polymers and thermoplastic composites, and structural technologies, such as additive manufacturing, to be used in applications within the commercial aircraft industry, including traditional fixed wing aircraft, rotorcraft and emerging aircraft types, such as advanced air mobility aircraft.

The House version does not include this language; however, it does include a call for the FAA to establish an Aircraft Weight Reduction Task Force. This task force should investigate “novel technologies and manufacturing processes, including the use of advanced materials, that can safely be used in the construction or modification of covered aircraft, including a component or the interior of such aircraft, to reduce weight or to improve fuel efficiency.”

If you are interested in supporting ACMA’s efforts to keep these important provisions in the FAA bill, please contact me.