EAA & FAA Meet in Oshkosh
Officials address key GA issues
February 17, 2011 — Several high-ranking FAA officials were at Oshkosh this week for the EAA/FAA 2011 Recreational Aviation Summit, an annual meeting with EAA to address key issues of importance for GA pilots and aircraft owners. Leading this year’s FAA delegation were John Allen, director of FAA Flight Standards Service; Dorenda Baker, director of Aircraft Certification; and Tony Fazio, director of Accident Investigation and Prevention. Other areas represented included the General and Commercial Aviation Division; Small Airplane Directorate; GA Maintenance Branch; Regulatory Support Division; and Airworthiness Certification Branch.
“We are really glad you’re here with us,” EAA President Rod Hightower said in his opening remarks. “The positive, constructive relationship that Paul Poberezny started and that continued with Tom Poberezny, I will continue.”
Paul was also present for the daylong session and reflected on the “shared positive relationship” with CAA and FAA over the years. “We would not be able to do what we do today without it,” he said.
Allen remarked that meetings like this with EAA and other stakeholders were “critically important” for the aviation community. “We would be remiss to not be engaged with EAA in the promotion of safety,” he said.
Baker cited the importance of leveraging each other’s strengths, especially in these times of budgetary constraints. “It’s a continuing part of our operational safety efforts. What we discuss here has a direct correlation on safety.”
Among the agenda items were aviation safety, warbirds and sport pilot issues, the transition to an unleaded aviation fuel, and NextGen.
Among the top priorities for the FAA is a desire for EAA to actively work to improve the accident rate for amateur-built aircraft and reach out to our members in meaningful ways. EAA has committed to step up its activities in these areas and is already engaged in a strategic planning process to reenergize the highly successful Flight Advisor and Tech Counselor programs and target those programs as known causal factors leading to accidents. EAA has also committed to participate in the FAA’s General Aviation Joint Steering Committee in an effort to ensure that non-regulatory safety interventions are well-targeted and data-driven.
The new FAA order governing warbird operations has undergone a revision that imposes new operational and airworthiness requirements on this community. EAA Warbirds of America and a consortium of warbird organizations have been working with the FAA to identify and mitigate the impact of some these new requirements. A commitment was made to explore how to potentially delay the April 16 implementation of the relevant section of the new order 8130.2G while dialogue to work through the issues continues.
Since implementation of the sport pilot and light-sport aircraft rule a number of unforeseen effects have been identified. Several rule corrections have been completed and EAA continues efforts to correct additional effects as they are identified. Among the additional unforeseen effects discussed were the conduct of flight training by reference to instruments by sport pilot instructors, the crediting of dual instruction from a sport pilot instructor toward higher certificates and ratings, and light-sport aircraft manufacturer assessments and compliance. The FAA is examining LSA manufacturers closely for compliance and identifying where standards need to be enhanced. But the FAA indicated it is confident the system is working largely as planned.
Regarding rule revisions, the FAA requested that EAA compile all the outstanding issues into a single regulatory proposal to “clean up” the rule.
The transition to an unleaded aviation fuel
The agency has demonstrated a higher level of commitment to the looming unleaded fuels issue in recent months with the formation of an industry-requested aviation rulemaking committee, and ongoing high-level dialogue between the FAA Administrator, the EPA, and Congress. EAA urged the FAA to be the advocate for safety in ensuring the continued regulatory availability of 100LL avgas until a suitable and safe alternative is developed and approved for use in the existing GA fleet of piston aircraft.
EAA requested a briefing on the FAA’s vision for NextGen as it relates to and impacts GA. EAA is concerned with the potential for significant mandatory equipment costs with little additional benefit to airspace access, information services in the cockpit, or safety over that enjoyed with today’s equipment.
EAA will continue to engage with the agency at a high level to ensure GA’s interests are considered in NextGen policy development.
Safety Management System (SMS)
SMS is a systemic approach to safety within organizations that is being implemented by regulation for air carriers, airports, and manufacturers. While the agency is currently focused on these larger organizations, EAA is concerned with the FAA’s vision for SMS as it applies to GA in the future. The FAA representatives conceded that there are no near-term plans to implement SMS for small GA shops and flight schools but embrace the concepts of SMS and would like to see GA adopt them as applicable to small operations and individuals in the future. EAA will continue to monitor this issue closely and will be submitting comments to the Part 121 SMS notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the coming weeks because it contains requirements that could later form the framework for a GA SMS program in the future.
Airworthiness directives and experimental aircraft
For decades it has been understood that airworthiness directives (AD) do not apply to aircraft in the experimental category or type-certificated products installed on experimental aircraft such as engines and propellers. Despite this, there has been a pattern of legal interpretations in recent years claiming otherwise. EAA elevated the AD issue to the highest levels of the agency seeking a means of clarifying that ADs are not the legal instruments for addressing unsafe conditions on experimental aircraft. Owners are still required to address any known unsafe condition that could be identified by an AD, but ADs themselves should not be applied to type-certificated products installed on experimental aircraft. EAA will continue the dialog with FAA senior management in the coming weeks to clarify this policy.
In response to the recent request for comments on the proposed changes or clarification to the renewal policy for Inspection Authorizations, the FAA received more than 900 comments expressing concern with the proposal. FAA reaffirmed that the intention was never to change how IAs renew their privileges, add new burdens, or put people out of business. The traditional view of “actively engaged” was never intended to be altered but rather the attempt was to clarify the requirements. FAA confirmed that they support the need for part-time IAs and the often unique expertise they bring to aviation safety and that no new requirements will be imposed.
E-LSA flight training
The long-awaited guidance for the letter of deviation authority (LODA) regarding E-LSA flight training was released late last year, but it does not does not allow for primary training in low-mass/high-drag E-LSA or gyroplanes. In order to continue to grow these segments of aviation, it is essential there is an adequate fleet for training. That fleet has yet to materialize, therefore necessitating that aircraft previously exempted for flight training be allowed to continue.
EAA pressed again for resolution to the LODA issue that has devastated flight training for these types of aircraft, characterized as a key entry point for aviation. EAA is cautiously optimistic that there could be favorable action forthcoming.
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.