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Special Conditions: Embraer S.A., Model EMB-550 Airplanes; Sidestick Controllers

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Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.


Final special condition; request for comments.


These special conditions are issued for the Embraer S.A. Model EMB-550 airplane. This airplane will have a novel or unusual design feature associated with sidestick controllers. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards.


The effective date of these special conditions is October 25, 2013. We must receive your comments by December 9, 2013.


Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2013-0776 using any of the following methods:

Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140, West Start Printed Page 63849Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.

Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without change, to​, including any personal information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket Web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement can be found in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-19478), as well as at​.

Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at​ at any time. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

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Loran Haworth, FAA, Airplane and Flight Crew Interface Branch, ANM-111, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1133; facsimile 425-227-1149.

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The FAA has determined that notice of, and opportunity for prior public comment on, these special conditions are unnecessary because the substance of these special conditions has been subject to the public comment process in several prior instances with no substantive comments received. The FAA therefore finds that good cause exists for making these special conditions effective upon publication.

Comments Invited

We invite interested people to take part in this rulemaking by sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data.

We will consider all comments we receive by the closing date for comments. We may change these special conditions based on the comments we receive.


On May 14, 2009, Embraer S.A. applied for a type certificate for their new Model EMB-550 airplane. The Model EMB-550 airplane is the first of a new family of jet airplanes designed for corporate flight, fractional, charter, and private owner operations. The aircraft has a conventional configuration with low wing and T-tail empennage. The primary structure is metal with composite empennage and control surfaces. The Model EMB-550 airplane is designed for 8 passengers, with a maximum of 12 passengers. It is equipped with two Honeywell HTF7500-E medium bypass ratio turbofan engines mounted on aft fuselage pylons. Each engine produces approximately 6,540 pounds of thrust for normal takeoff. The primary flight controls consist of hydraulically powered fly-by-wire elevators, ailerons and rudder, controlled by the pilot or copilot sidestick.

The Model EMB-550 airplane will use passive sidestick controllers for pitch and roll control instead of a conventional control column and wheel. The main characteristics of a sidestick controller are:

  • Passive inceptor (i.e., the hand grip returns to the null position after in/out movements),
  • Artificial tactile feedback,
  • Located on the side of the pilot, and
  • No mechanical interconnection.

Type Certification Basis

Under the provisions of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 21.17, Embraer, S.A. must show that the Model EMB-550 airplane meets the applicable provisions of part 25, as amended by Amendment 25-1 through 25-127 thereto.

If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the Model EMB-550 airplane because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are prescribed under the provisions of § 21.16.

Special conditions are initially applicable to the model for which they are issued. Should the type certificate for that model be amended later to include any other model that incorporates the same novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would also apply to the other model.

In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special conditions, the Model EMB-550 airplane must comply with the fuel vent and exhaust emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34 and the noise certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36; and the FAA must issue a finding of regulatory adequacy under § 611 of Public Law 92-574, the “Noise Control Act of 1972.”

The FAA issues special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, in accordance with § 11.38, and they become part of the type-certification basis under § 21.17(a)(2).

Novel or Unusual Design Features

The Model EMB-550 airplane will incorporate the following novel or unusual design features: The Model EMB-550 airplane has a sidestick controller for pitch and roll control.


Regulatory requirements for conventional wheel and column controllers, such as requirements pertaining to pilot strength and controllability, are not directly applicable to sidestick controllers. Certain ergonomic considerations such as armrest support, freedom of arm movement, controller displacement, handgrip size and accommodations for a range of pilot sizes are not addressed in the regulations. In addition, pilot control authority may be uncertain, because the sidestick controllers are not mechanically interconnected as with conventional wheel and column controls. Pitch and roll control force and displacement sensitivity must be compatible so that normal inputs on one control axis do not cause significant unintentional inputs on the other. As a result, a special condition is issued to require that the unique features of the sidesstick controller must be demonstrated through flight and simulator tests to have suitable handing and control characteristics.


As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the Model EMB-550 airplane. Should Embraer S.A. apply at a later date for a change to the type certificate to include another model incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would apply to that model as well.


This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features on one model of airplanes. It is not a rule of general applicability.Start Printed Page 63850

The substance of these special conditions has been subjected to the notice and comment period in several prior instances and has been derived without substantive change from those previously issued. It is unlikely that prior public comment would result in a significant change from the substance contained herein. Therefore, the FAA has determined that prior public notice and comment are unnecessary, and good cause exists for adopting these special conditions upon issuance. The FAA is requesting comments to allow interested persons to submit views that may not have been submitted in response to the prior opportunities for comment described above.

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List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 25

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The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704.

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The Special Conditions

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the following special conditions are issued as part of the type certification basis for Embraer S.A. Model EMB-550 airplanes.

In the absence of specific requirements for sidestick controllers, the following Special Conditions apply:

1. Pilot strength: In lieu of the control force limits shown in § 25.143(d) for pitch and roll and in lieu of the specific pitch force requirements of §§ 25.143(i)(2), 25.145(b), and 25.175(d), it must be shown that the temporary and maximum prolonged force levels for the sidestick controllers are suitable for all expected operating conditions and configurations, whether normal or non-normal.

2. Pilot control authority: The electronic sidestick controller coupling design must provide for corrective and/or overriding control inputs by either pilot with no unsafe characteristics. Annunciation of the controller status must be provided and must not be confusing to the flightcrew.

3. Pilot control: It must be shown by flight tests that the use of sidestick controllers does not produce unsuitable pilot-in-the-loop control characteristics when considering precision path control/tasks and turbulence. In addition, pitch and roll control force and displacement sensitivity must be compatible, so that normal inputs on one control axis will not cause significant unintentional inputs on the other.

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Issued in Renton, Washington, on September 6, 2013.

Jeffrey E. Duven,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

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[FR Doc. 2013-25206 Filed 10-24-13; 8:45 am]