EAA Government Advocacy
Homebuilts and Accidents - In late March, a pilot flying a Lancair executed a good emergency landing onto the beach near Hilton Head, South Carolina, after losing a propeller and having oil splatter over the windshield, blocking his view.
Unfortunately, a jogger was running on the beach where the aircraft landed. The jogger was struck and killed. The oddity of the story made it national news, and the Associated Press (AP) ran a story about an FAA safety advisory regarding Lancair aircraft. Read More
On our Radar
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering regulations to reduce lead emissions from general aviation aircraft and implement a transition process. An advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) drafted by the EPA is currently under review. The ANPRM is intended to provide background information for the drafting of the regulation. EAA and others have been engaged in this issue for several decades and continue to work with the EPA to ensure that all technical, safety, and economic considerations specific to the highly specialized general aviation community are taken into consideration.
EAA in Action
Through the fence solutions sought. As a result of the EAA/FAA Winter Aviation Meeting, EAA and key industry leaders are developing an appendix to the FAA Airport Compliance Manual, Order 5190.6B, that would highlight a process for the FAA to continue allowing adjacent airport residential through-the-fence (TTF) agreements at the nation’s public-use airports. The appendix would be a checklist to help airport managers and property owners write new or renewal TTF agreements.
EAA submitted a total of 37 pages of comments to Order 5190.6B, focusing on ensuring fuel availability on airports, preserving aircraft owner’s ability to perform self-maintenance, reducing fair-market value rent for nonprofit EAA chapters, allowing aeronautical activities in airport hangars, and guaranteeing access to airports by recreational aviation pilots, enthusiasts, and trailerable aircraft.
It’s now more affordable and less cumbersome for light-sport aircraft (LSA) from the United States to be flown into Canada. Transport Canada (TC) revised its Standardized Validation form, the equivalent to operating limitations for experimental aircraft in the United States, putting LSA on equal footing with U.S. amateur-built aircraft flying into Canada.
Before this revision, pilots were required to call TC and receive authorization to operate an LSA in Canada, obtain a validation form to keep in the aircraft, and pay a $100 fee.
TC still requires pilots to have a private pilot certificate with a valid medical, meaning that sport pilots flying with a driver’s license medical are not allowed to fly LSA into Canada.
The revision demonstrates the continuing member value of U.S. and international relationships developed through the International Federal Pavilion partnerships.
Earl's Epilogue - Guest columnist Roy Beisswenger, EAA 537298
FAA Chooses Commercial Concerns over Safety - Most pilots understand the need for rules and structure in aviation to maintain a level of safety. The transition from exemption-driven ultralight training programs to the sport pilot program was supposed to improve safety for those wanting to fly light-sport aircraft as well as those choosing to learn to fly ultralights. The premise was that with higher standards for instructors and aircraft, safety would improve.
However, safety is not improving for the community of pilots flying aircraft with maximum speeds less than 87 knots. The problem stems from the loss of flight instructors who have abandoned flight instruction because of the increase in bureaucracy and the fact that the reward of flight instruction—monetary and intrinsic—has not kept pace with the increased burdens.
The interest in learning to fly is still there. In fact that interest, combined with a significant lack of instructors for gyroplanes, powered parachutes, weight-shift control trikes, and low-speed/high-drag airplanes, is what is creating the unsafe situation. What is the FAA doing? Its answer seems to be a doubling down on failure by driving more instructors out of business.
The FAA is doing that by requiring that certificated flight instructors purchase new special LSA (S-LSA) instead of allowing them to continue safely training with their experimental LSA (E-LSA). While that is an unfunded mandate that most instructors would like to comply with, it piles a financial burden on part-time instructors who can’t possibly recoup their investment in a reasonable amount of time. Given hard choices to be made by everyone this current economy, large numbers of instructors are choosing to cease instructing.
The FAA is aware of the problem, and it is also aware of a viable solution already in the regulations. That solution is to allow an instructor to provide instruction for hire by letting that instructor’s flight standards district office (FSDO) write a letter of deviation authority (LODA). However, the FAA has been dragging its feet on providing the needed guidance to the FSDOs on how to write the LODAs. This lack of guidance has hamstrung most of the flight-training community in the sub-87 knot categories.
Why is the FAA sacrificing safety by not acting responsibly? E-LSA have already proven to be capable aircraft, and the instructors have proven themselves to be capable under FAA standards. It seems that the only ones to benefit from forcing instructors to purchase new aircraft are the producers of the S-LSA. I greatly support manufacturers, and I’m glad that the FAA does, too. I just wish that the FAA support wasn’t at the expense of aviation safety.
Guest columnist Roy Beisswenger, EAA 537298, is the host of the Powered Sport Flying radio show and technical editor of Powered Sport Flying magazine.
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.