General Aviation Revitalization Act 1994
On August 17, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed into law product liability reform that will serve to reduce the liability that is faced by aviation manufacturers. This came forward in the form of the General Aviation Revitalization Act.
Under the General Aviation Revitalization Act, manufacturers will retain less liability than they had previously. A full copy of the Act can be viewed by typing its name into Thomas, the Web search page maintained for the results of the 103rd U.S. Congress.
With the reduction of liability to manufacturers of aircraft, production should be able to gain momentum from the low level at which it is now. The cost of liability insurance has substantially reduced the investment into research and development by the general aviation manufacturers.
This has reduced the quality of the aircraft produced as well as the development of technologies within the general aviation field. The export of small aircraft once contributed significantly to the balance of trade for the United States, as a result of increased liability and the drastic reduction of the quantity of aircraft sold, it is no longer a positive factor in the large scale economy the country.
The reduction of liability as sought by the General Aviation Liability Act will likely create thousands of jobs. Under the new Act, manufacturers will not be liable for their products for more than 18 years after production. New products installed on older aircraft will be a liability for the manufacturer for 18 years from the date of installation.
Since the cut-backs in production, thousands of workers have been displaced. With the burden of large and indeterminable liability lifted off the shoulders of the manufacturers, past productions level should be realized with little difficulty. The reduction of liability will increase the economic well being of the country as a whole, as well as the individuals directly effected by the exorbitant costs of the liability.
One Hundred Third Congress of the
United States of America
AT THE SECOND SESSION
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the twenty-fifth day of January, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-four.
An Act To amend the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 to establish time limitations on certain civil actions against aircraft manufacturers, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the 'General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994'.
SEC. 2. TIME LIMITATIONS ON CIVIL ACTIONS AGAINST AIRCRAFT MANUFACTURERS.
(a) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subsection (b), no civil action for damages for death or injury to persons or damage to property arising out of an accident involving a general aviation aircraft may be brought against the manufacturer of the aircraft or the manufacturer of any new component, system, subassembly, or other part of the aircraft, in its capacity as a manufacturer if the accident occurred—
(1) after the applicable limitation period beginning on—
(A) the date of delivery of the aircraft to its first purchaser or lessee, if delivered directly from the manufacturer; or
(B) the date of first delivery of the aircraft to a person engaged in the business of selling or leasing such aircraft; or
(2) with respect to any new component, system, subassembly, or other part which replaced another component, system, subassembly, or other part originally in, or which was added to, the aircraft, and which is alleged to have caused such death, injury, or damage, after the applicable limitation period beginning on the date of completion of the replacement or addition.
(b) EXCEPTIONS- Subsection (a) does not apply—
(1) if the claimant pleads with specificity the facts necessary to prove, and proves, that the manufacturer with respect to a type certificate or airworthiness certificate for, or obligations with respect to continuing airworthiness of, an aircraft or a component, system, subassembly, or other part of an aircraft knowingly misrepresented to the Federal Aviation Administration, or concealed or withheld from the Federal Aviation Administration, required information that is material and relevant to the performance or the maintenance or operation of such aircraft, or the component, system, subassembly, or other part, that is causally related to the harm which the claimant allegedly suffered;
(2) if the person for whose injury or death the claim is being made is a passenger for purposes of receiving treatment for a medical or other emergency;
(3) if the person for whose injury or death the claim is being made was not aboard the aircraft at the time of the accident; or
(4) to an action brought under a written warranty enforceable under law but for the operation of this Act.
(c) GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DEFINED- For the purposes of this Act, the term 'general aviation aircraft' means any aircraft for which a type certificate or an airworthiness certificate has been issued by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, which, at the time such certificate was originally issued, had a maximum seating capacity of fewer than 20 passengers, and which was not, at the time of the accident, engaged in scheduled passenger-carrying operations as defined under regulations in effect under the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 U.S.C. App. 1301 et seq.) at the time of the accident.
(d) RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LAWS- This section supersedes any State law to the extent that such law permits a civil action described in subsection (a) to be brought after the applicable limitation period for such civil action established by subsection (a).
SEC. 3. OTHER DEFINITIONS.
For purposes of this Act—
(1) the term 'aircraft' has the meaning given such term in section 101(5) of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 U.S.C. 1301(5));
(2) the term 'airworthiness certificate' means an airworthiness certificate issued under section 603(c) of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 U.S.C. 1423(c)) or under any predecessor Federal statute;
(3) the term 'limitation period' means 18 years with respect to general aviation aircraft and the components, systems, subassemblies, and other parts of such aircraft; and
(4) the term 'type certificate' means a type certificate issued under section 603(a) of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 U.S.C. 1423(a)) or under any predecessor Federal statute.
SEC. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE; APPLICATION OF ACT.
(a) EFFECTIVE DATE- Except as provided in subsection (b), this Act shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.
(b) APPLICATION OF ACT- This Act shall not apply with respect to civil actions commenced before the date of the enactment of this Act.
Speaker of the
House of Representatives. Vice President of the United States and
President of the Senate.
The Need For Federal
The Need For Federal Aviation Regulation
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