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EAA Government Advocacy

Year in Review

Preserving the freedom of flight and reducing regulatory barriers is what drives the work of EAA’s advocacy team every day. We fight to preserve these freedoms by providing clear solutions and practical alternatives backed by common sense, hard work, and dedication. Here are some of the advocacy accomplishments made during the past year to protect EAA members’ freedom to fly, and make aviation more affordable and accessible.

We protected Zenith Zodiac 601 XL owners from an arbitrary grounding EAA’s advocacy team worked closely with the FAA, the Zenith Aircraft Company, and 601 XL owners to pre-empt the grounding of the entire fleet of Zodiac 601 XL experimental aircraft following several wing failure accidents in recent years. In the process, EAA not only protected members’ right to build and fly the aircraft of their choice, but also encouraged 601 XL owners to address the safety concerns discovered through the cooperative study conducted by the FAA and Zenith Aircraft. EAA encouraged the FAA to thoroughly examine the issue before acting. The FAA’s release of test data helped the company and builders develop a solution.

We’re part of the team striving to find an alternative fuel to 100LL As part of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition, EAA continues to encourage that all fuel alternatives be thoroughly explored in an open and transparent manner. Any alternative must be affordable and maintain the current level of safety, and the Environmental Protection Agency must properly study the issue and validate all tests.

EAA has been working on this issue for the past 20 years and will continue its efforts until a viable alternative is developed.

We saved through-the-fence agreements Through-the-fence (TTF) agreements allow homeowners direct access from their residential hangars to public airports. When the FAA issued a notice of its intent to mandate the discontinuation of all existing TTF agreements and outlaw any future agreements, EAA went into action, developing a model policy for the FAA. EAA member, Warbirds of America Director, and Representative Sam Graves (R-Missouri), called a congressional hearing on the issue. As a result of those efforts, the FAA agreed to modify its TTF policy and adjust agreements as necessary on a case-by-case basis rather than implement a one-size-fits all directive. EAA continues to monitor this issue.

We’re working to restore E-LSA instruction privileges EAA continues to press the FAA to allow primary instruction in high-drag/low-mass experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA) and gyroplanes. The FAA previously stated it would issue letters of deviation authority (LODA) to allow this training. However, inter-agency bureaucracy has prevented the guidance from being released.

LODA guidance currently allows for initial and transition training in experimental aircraft, which is of the utmost importance for increasing the safety of amateur-built aircraft. Similarly, allowing primary training in E-LSA is vital to the safety of that segment of aviation.

We influenced sport pilot rule modifications Sport pilots may now fly higher (and thus more safely) in mountainous regions and have easier access to towered airports; special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) now may be used at Part 141 flight schools, further reducing training costs for all student pilots—all resulting in part from EAA recommendations for modifications to the original sport pilot rule.

EAA’s focus was to maintain the original intent of the rule—to make learning to fly easier and more affordable, to ensure the continued growth of this segment of aviation, and to ensure continued lowering of economic and regulatory barriers for participants.

We fought TSA security grabs and reduced border crossing hassles Because of negative reaction from EAA and the entire general aviation (GA) community, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is making changes to its Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) to come up with a more reasonable approach to GA security. EAA is part of the newly formed General Aviation Working Group that will interact with TSA to develop its new approach.

Also as a result of EAA’s input, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol revised its Advance Passenger Information System (APIS), making the necessary border-crossing procedure more user- and GA-friendly.

Earl's Epilogue

Lawrence and his 1964 Twin-Commanche

My Last Column It is with fond memories of my experiences at EAA and great excitement for my next endeavor that I write my last Sport Aviation commentary as an EAA staff member. I am leaving EAA to lead the FAA Small Airplane Directorate in Kansas City, Missouri. It is truly an honor to have been selected for this position, which will allow me to serve the general aviation community in a new and expanded role.

I have been an active EAA member since 1986 and joined the EAA staff in April 1994, moving from EAA Chapter 723 in Camarillo, California, to Oshkosh. I have held many positions since my arrival at EAA headquarters and built many great friendships with members and government officials with whom I have had the privilege to work.

My time working for you has been a privilege. I have worked on some interesting projects, starting with my first assignment to help end an FAA moratorium on the certification of warbirds. That effort led to a long series of initiatives related to experimental aircraft operating limitations and certification policies.

I have represented members on a wide range of issues including the security threats to personal aviation after 9/11, multiple amateur-built safety and regulatory issues, numerous regulatory rewrites, and the writing of entirely new regulations like the recreational pilot and sport pilot certificates and the light-sport aircraft regulations.

I have worked directly with many wonderful members including the EAA Ultralight & Light-Sport Aircraft, Canadian, Homebuilt Aircraft, Legal Advisory, and Aeromedical Advisory councils; flight advisors and technical counselors; convention aircraft parking chairmen; aircraft tour volunteer pilots; mechanics and tour coordinators; the convention air show operations group; and the West Ramp Rats.

My goal in working for you has always been to spend your dues wisely, work hard to reduce the barriers to participation, and find ways to help you through the regulatory process.

I leave you with a top-notch advocacy staff with Doug Macnair as vice president of government relations in Washington, D.C., Randy Hansen as government relations director, and David Oord as a government relations specialist in Oshkosh. And they have great support from Sean Elliott, director of aircraft operations, and all of the executive directors at EAA.

Thank you for being part of my EAA family, and please fly safely!

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.

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