June 27, 2013 - EAA's quick action helped to ensure that light-sport aircraft (LSA) can continue to be used for private pilot check rides. The issue was a classic case of the rules not keeping up with the times.
Some new LSA are equipped with state-of-the-art electronic flight displays, but as VFR-only airplanes the designers did not choose to install a physical "wet compass." This clashed with language in the Practical Test Standards (PTS) for the Private Pilot Certificate that requires the applicant to demonstrate "use of magnetic compass in navigation, to include turns to new headings."
EAA's Advocacy and Safety staff quickly found that the same language was carried over into the proposed new Airman Certification Standards (ACS), and submitted comments to the proposal to rectify the language. Between EAA's efforts and excellent work on the part of AOPA, both the proposed ACS language and the current PTS now substitute the words "magnetic direction indicator" in the place of "magnetic compass." Private pilot applicants can now take their check rides in any LSA.
"Cases such as this highlight the importance of advocacy organizations such as EAA and AOPA," said Jonathan Harger, EAA government advocacy specialist. "Together we were able to quickly fix outdated language that would have otherwise had unfortunate and unintended consequences."