PLACES MORATORIUM ON NEW ADDITIONS TO 51 PERCENT APPROVED LIST
Amateur-Built ARC Report Published
The FAA today issued the final
report of the Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) that it appointed
more than 18 months ago to investigate and make recommendations
regarding the interpretation and enforcement of the amateur-building
"51 percent Rule." Concurrently, the FAA also placed a
moratorium on its customary practice of providing to aircraft kit
manufacturers and builders courtesy evaluations of new kits' compliance
with the 51 percent requirement.
The moratorium means FAA has temporarily
suspended amateur-built aircraft kit evaluations. No new kits will
appear on the "51
percent approved list" until the FAA has completed its new
process revision for determining the major portion (51 percent). The new
policies will be printed in a future Federal Register notice. EAA
estimates that notice will be published in the April-May time frame.
That notice will provide the public an opportunity to comment on the
various changes. (See EAA's Questions and Answers regarding the
"We understand the logic behind the
FAA's suspending advance evaluations and approvals until after it has
announced exactly how it will interpret and enforce the rule going
forward," EAA's Earl Lawrence said. "However, we also
understand that manufacturers and customers may have difficulty in
making decisions until the FAA makes its policy clear. Accordingly,
we're stressing to the FAA that this 'limbo period' should be as brief
The ARC's report
The ARC, co-chaired by Lawrence, Van's Aircraft's Dick VanGrunsven, and
FAA's Frank Paskiewicz, was formed during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2006.
It was comprised of representatives from the kit industry,
organizations, and FAA. The ARC's charge was to develop and present to
the FAA its thoughts and ideas on what the original intent of the
regulation was; how it is being applied today; and what impact the
growing commercial assistance centers are having on the industry.
"EAA continues to advocate the
preservation of amateur-builders' privileges and the exploration of
alternative regulatory avenues allowing for different levels of
participation in aircraft building and flying activities," Lawrence
The FAA stated that it is in general
agreement with the proposed changes to FAA Orders, Advisory Circulars,
and Forms put forth in the ARC's final
report. The FAA will make all documents available for review and
comment prior to publication.
The full committee, FAA and industry
- FAA directive and advisory language for the airworthiness
certification of amateur-built aircraft does not adequately address the
issue of commercial assistance in excess of that allowed under the
- The forms used in determining the amateur-built status of the aircraft
need to be updated to more accurately reflect who actually performed the
fabrication and assembly of the aircraft.
- The aircraft kit evaluation process is not standardized. The public,
industry, the FAA, and individuals within those groups, have different
opinions about what level of fabrication and assembly constitutes 'major
portion.' In other words, it is not clear how to determine if the
amateur builder fabricates and assembles the major portion of aircraft
solely for their own education or recreation.
- Aviation Safety Inspectors and Designated Airworthiness
Representatives may need additional training to fully understand the
FAA's expectations when determining an aircraft's eligibility for an
The industry and FAA members of the ARC
could not come to an agreement on how to define 'major portion' when
evaluating aircraft kits, either in kit form at the manufacturers or
when an aircraft is fully assembled.
The FAA will develop the final method of
calculating major portion. This method will be made available for review
and comment prior to publication. The FAA will consider petitions for
rulemaking by ARC members or any other interested party or person.
For more information on this important
issue, click on the Amateur-Built Aircraft menu in the left side of the
EAA website's Government Advocacy