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EAA Continues Efforts To Ensure Experimental Flight Freedom


November 7, 2006 — Ensuring availability to airports and airspace, especially for homebuilt and historic aircraft, is an area where EAA's unique expertise has been creating solutions in recent weeks for its membership and all recreational aviators, so they can enjoy the world of flight. These matters can become even more complex when a number of factors are added, such as special requirements for amateur-built aircraft, or when development encroaches on a formerly outlying airport. EAA has had substantial success when working toward solutions that benefit aircraft builders and pilots alike.

In recent weeks, EAA's efforts have paid off in many situations, including:

  • Van Nuys, Calif., where EAA cleared up confusion regarding Experimental-category aircraft operations from that airport. EAA requested a final determination from FAA headquarters on guidance for use by local FAA officials;
  • Tampa, Fla., where EAA brought together airport officials and aviators to re-open a convenient, safe VFR corridor that saved general aviation users time and kept them separated from high commercial traffic airspace;
  • Las Vegas, Nev., where EAA's initial involvement led FAA to commission independent safety studies regarding traffic at a local airport, so informed decisions could be made by FAA that preserved most homebuilt aircraft operations there.

"The amateur-built movement has come a long ways from 50 years ago, when there was just one specific test-flight corridor in each area for a homebuilt airplane, only one airplane was allowed in the corridor at any time, and authorities had to be alerted immediately upon the airplane's safe return," said Earl Lawrence, EAA's vice president of industry and regulatory affairs.

"This half-century of progress to today's homebuilt aircraft requirements is a credit to the safety mindset of aircraft builders and pilots, who have continued to set new standards in the safety numbers reported by the government each year."

EAA focuses its efforts in two areas: Safety, of course, is always primary, but so is preserving the rights of recreational aviators to use the airspace and aviation facilities. This is an ever-evolving landscape. That's why it's important to bring people together for solutions that enhance safety and preserve recreational aviation.

EAA also understands that we share these areas with a public that may have misconceptions or outright misinformation regarding aviation. Efforts to preserve aviators' rights must also include understanding and education by all EAA members, so we do not find ourselves isolated in the forum of public opinion that affects our abilities to fly.

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