EAA Looks For Consistent Policy On Experimental/Exhibition Overflights
August 30, 2006 — EAA is working on solving issues regarding Experimental/Exhibition category aircraft overflights in southern California, an issue that could affect all Experimental aircraft if not addressed.
EAA requested a teleconference with officials at FAA Headquarters and the agency's Western Pacific Region to find a solution to difficulties faced by owners of Experimental/Exhibition aircraft, such as warbirds, when they fly or base their aircraft at airports in the Los Angeles basin. Some aircraft owners have been told that they cannot fly over densely populated areas at any time to land or take off at these airports, in spite of aircraft operating limitations and airworthiness certificates that allow them to do so.
"This is an important issue for EAA to address on behalf of its members and all pilots," said Earl Lawrence, EAA's vice president of industry and regulatory affairs. "To allow uneven interpretation of that policy by local regions or FSDOs would create confusion at the very least, and in a worse-case scenario, establish barriers that would make it nearly impossible for Experimental category aircraft of all types to operate out of local airports."
According to FAA orders, once an Experimental/Exhibition aircraft receives its operating limitations that allow flights over densely populated areas for takeoffs and landings, a FSDO inspector can direct pilots to plan arrival and departure routes that avoid those areas whenever possible, but not ban all overflights completely. In addition, Experimental/Exhibition category aircraft operating limitations and airworthiness certificates remain the same regardless of where the airplane is based. Instituting restrictions at individual airports or regions creates a patchwork of regulations and policies across the nation that could be nearly impossible to follow.
Finally, EAA believes that such a localized policy creates a double standard, since aircraft of the same type that are not based at this airport are allowed to arrive and depart the airport without such requirements, although those aircraft could be threatened with a violation without warning if they land at the facility.
"EAA wants to ensure that FAA regional officials have a consistent policy they can follow, so pilots have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, and we appreciate FAA's efforts to resolve this issue," Lawrence said. "Our goal is to ensure safety and efficient operations that benefit pilots and the residents of densely populated areas surrounding local airports."