EAA Government Advocacy
Sport Pilot Revisions - A little more than five years ago, on September 1, 2004, the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft (SP/LSA) rule officially went into effect. It introduced the first completely new aircraft category in a half-century and changed the aviation landscape. EAA supported the rule and worked for more than a decade to make it a reality. Private pilot training had become more complex in the last 50 years, leading to the need for a simplified yet safe way to get more people involved in aviation. Read More
On our Radar
The TSA Aviation Security Advisory Committee is forming a general-aviation working group with kickoff sessions this month.
March 31, 2010, is the final day to submit comments to the Airport Compliance Manual, FAA Order 5190.6B, regarding through-the-fence operations. This 691-page document is a replacement for a 65-page version from 1989.
At Aero Friedrichshafen, April 8-11, Earl Lawrence will be meeting with European government entities and industry to outline EAA AirVenture Oshkosh e-flight activities.
EAA in Action
EAA responded to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram regarding an article that gave a misleading portrayal of LSA and the regulations that govern them. The article, written by the newspaper’s senior aviation reporter, came in the aftermath of a tragic accident that claimed the lives of a Dunbar (Texas) High School student and his flight instructor.
In EAA’s response, Earl Lawrence explained that the FAA, industry, and groups such as EAA worked together with ASTM International to create the standards that were ultimately accepted by the FAA in 2004. Lawrence also emphasized that the same light-sport aircraft have been used safely as primary flight training aircraft in European nations for more than 20 years.
“These standards have also been adopted by many other developed nations, including Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and China, and mirror European standards in place for many years,” Lawrence said. Read EAA's response
An EAA Legislative Alert was sent to all Washington state EAA members outlining a House of Representative’s bill that will impose a 0.5% (1/2 percent) excise tax on all aircraft in Washington. The bill states that if you elect to register your aircraft in another state and that state does not have an excise tax or is less than this new Washington excise tax, you will be required to pay the difference.
EAA urged members to take immediate action and contact their state legislators to protest the new and unwarranted excise/property tax on aircraft.
Efforts to make LSA more affordable, accessible, and innovative were addressed during the January ASTM committee meetings in Sebring, Florida. Earl Lawrence and David Oord participated in the meetings, along with EAA member Craig Willan, who continues to work for the development of a standard for electric propulsion in LSA.
EAA staffers Sean Elliott and Joe Norris participated in the first of four Amateur-built Flight Standards Board meetings. Along with others from the industry and the FAA, the team is examining accident rates and developing strategies to improve safety of higher-performance amateur-built aircraft.
I recently reviewed an article written by EAA founder Paul Poberezny in 1972 where he reflected on government advocacy challenges. His comments are as true today as they were then. He asked readers if they understood “the amount of time it would take to become conversant on all the local, state, and federal laws our governments are preparing and attempting to apply, or that are passed each month and year?”
Like Paul, I see a constant flow of laws, rules, regulations, and policies at all levels of government that affect our ability to participate in aviation. With the addition of new agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, and new rules such as sport pilot, the government has grown just as everything else has, including the EAA. We now have the speed of the Internet with blogs, web pages, Twitter, and so many more communication channels. However, even with all the technological and government changes, one thing has not changed: the need for members to share their concerns with our government leaders. As Paul stated, “a well-thought-out personal letter will get more mileage” than any other way of communicating.
Speaking of communication, the media play a large role, both good and bad. Recently, I wrote a response to a misleading newspaper article about a fatal special light-sport aircraft accident. Since writing that response, I have received several positive e-mails from members; I greatly appreciate your supportive comments. This accident and the publicity surrounding it resulted in many people questioning the safety of recreational flying. It prompted calls for new restrictions on pilots and aircraft. EAAers fly all kinds of aircraft certificated in many different categories, including experimental amateur-built, experimental exhibition, experimental LSA, special LSA, and standard category. It is important for all of us to understand the certification, rules, and limitations of the aircraft category in which we each fly and then abide by those rules. When our fellow aviators operate their aircraft outside of the limitations for a given category, we are challenged to defend the privileges we have earned.
Your EAA staff is continually working to arm you with information on all of the current advocacy issues. One way we do this is with the information provided on the EAA government advocacy home page found at www.EAA.org/govt. If you have not visited it recently, please do and let us know what you think. Are there other ways we can arm you to support aviation?
Share your comments in the “Hangar Talk” forum at www.Oshkosh365.org.
Read more about out what else is happening in the world of EAA's government relations.
EAA's Government Relations department works to preserve the freedom of flight and reduce the regulatory barriers affecting affordability and access to EAA members’ participation in aviation. Protecting the freedom to fly is the foundation on which all of the organization’s advocacy initiatives are built. EAA fights to preserve this freedom by providing clear solutions and practical alternatives backed by hard work and dedication. EAA’s 55-year history of success is a testament to that philosophy.