EAA, Vintage Aircraft Association Efforts to Help Owners of Older Aircraft Make Headway
EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (February 7, 2007) — Years of work by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and its Vintage Aircraft Association (VAA) division to unlock the regulatory vault that holds essential safety and maintenance data for vintage aircraft are showing results, as the Federal Aviation Administration is asking for a change that would make such data more widely available.
As part of FAA's reauthorization bill heading to Congress, the agency will seek the ability to release abandoned type certificate or supplemental type certificate data to individuals in order to maintain aircraft airworthiness. If approved, the EAA- and VAA-proposed change would eliminate the dilemma where owners had to maintain their vintage aircraft to approved data even though that data could not be released.
"This is a major step in the right direction to preserve unique vintage aircraft," said H.G. Frautschy, VAA executive director. "The owners of these aircraft want to maintain them to the highest possible standards, but could not do so because the original factory data was regarded as intellectual property - even though the companies have not existed for decades and no other entity offered technical support for these aircraft.
"EAA and VAA support approval of this regulatory change as a way to safeguard the future of these aircraft, as well as making continued safe operation practical and affordable."
Frautschy emphasized that this proposal is designed to address the problem of abandoned type certificates, such as those for aircraft built by long-defunct companies prior to World War II. It would not block any rights by current companies or holders of aircraft type certificates that offer support for those vintage models.
Under the proposal, the release of data would be allowed only if the type certificate is inactive for at least three years; the owner or owner's heir cannot be located; and the release of the data will enhance aviation safety.
This regulatory proposal has been part of EAA's and VAA's ongoing dialogue with senior FAA management. It was also a point of emphasis during last month's EAA/FAA Recreational Aviation Summit held in Oshkosh.
"Progress such as this is exactly why these summit sessions are so valuable," said Earl Lawrence, EAA's vice president of industry and regulatory affairs. "EAA has the ability to sit down with aviation policymakers and discuss not only the problems, but offer practical solutions that assist our members."
EAA and VAA will continue to support this legislation as it addressed by Congress in the coming weeks, and will assist members of their organizations who wish to voice support to their individual congressional representatives.
While the release of abandoned aircraft data is an important first step, EAA and VAA acknowledge that additional progress is eventually needed for a complete solution. That includes availability of technical data when current owners of that data refuse to release it, which restricts aircraft owners from maintaining their aircraft according to federal regulations.Additional information on the proposal is available at www.eaa.org and www.vintageaircraft.org.
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