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EAA Supports Vintage Aircraft Owners At FAA/Industry Aging Aircraft Summit

Lawrence Presents EAA/VAA's Aging Aircraft Proposal

Earl Lawrence presents EAA's Aging Aircraft Proposal at the FAA Summit Wednesday, March 22
Earl Lawrence presents EAA's Aging Aircraft Proposal at the FAA Summit Wednesday, March 22.

May 27, 2007 — EAA and the Vintage Aircraft Association presented a proposal to create a new vintage aircraft certification category during this week's FAA/Industry Aging Aircraft Summit at Overland Park, Kansas. Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of industry and regulatory affairs, presented the plan Wednesday, which would create an aircraft certification category giving owners and their mechanics the ability to maintain vintage aircraft using acceptable data or safety-based form, fit, and function criteria, as opposed to unavailable or outdated type-certificate data. Also attending the two-day summit is H.G. Frautschy, executive director of the Vintage Airplane Association.

Aging aircraft issues affect aircraft of all vintages--from the first aircraft ever produced to aircraft produced in the 1970s and 1980s. Of particular concern are the effects of fatigue and corrosion on aircraft. As primary presenters at the conference, EAA and VAA's proposal addresses the concerns of the FAA while protecting the interests of individual aircraft owners.

Jay Underdown, EAA 717709, of Tailwheel Limited spoke Wednesday as a non-mechanic concerned about potential regulations increasing the cost of maintaining his 1940 Porterfield LP-65. "From a practical standpoint, we really do want to keep our old antiques flying," he said. Underdown also expressed interest in EAA's proposal to create a new certification category.

FAA presenters included Kim Smith (ACE-100), manager of the Small Aircraft Directorate, and Marv Nuss, continued operational safety program manager, who presented an overview of structural issues that mechanics must deal with on a daily basis. Also appearing were representatives of type clubs and other industry groups who have concerns related to parts and data availability.

In her Day 1 closing comments, Smith noted many of the presenters were suggesting proactive solutions. "I knew before how important type clubs were," she said. "I think today we may see them as one of the pivotal points in the solution to this. I don't think anybody knows these airplanes as they age better than the people who are flying them." Smith also expressed appreciation for the contributions manufacturers make to the continued airworthiness of the aircraft they produced.

Today's sessions feature breakout sessions where individuals will be polled to determine the key issues facing the aging aircraft fleet. An FAA presentation on orphaned aircraft type certificates was also scheduled.

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