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FAA Retires Exemption 7162

November 1, 2007 —Midnight on October 31, 2007, signaled the end of an era with the FAA's non-renewal of Exemption No. 7162. The exemption allowed owners of experimental aircraft to be compensated for renting their aircraft to others who sought experimental aircraft-specific flight training and flight reviews. Its goal was to reduce the number of fatal experimental aircraft accidents, especially during the initial test flight period of an amateur-built aircraft and during the initial 10 flight hours after buying an experimental aircraft.

By that measure, Exemption 7162 was an unqualified success as it significantly contributed to a dramatic reduction in fatal experimental amateur-built aircraft accidents - from 68 in fiscal year 1997 to 49 in fiscal year 2006. Aircraft in other experimental categories achieved similar fatal accident reduction rates as a direct result of the flight training programs allowed under Exemption 7162.

The exemption was developed in partnership with the EAA Safety Programs office, the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), the Small Aircraft Manufacturers Association (SAMA), the FAA and the NTSB. Even though this exemption has ended, the historic safety partnership continues, thanks to the Certification of Aircraft and Airmen for the Operation of Light-Sport Aircraft (Sport Pilot) rule issued on September 1, 2004. A new regulation within the rule, FAR 91.319(h), replaces the exemption and places responsibility of administering this process with FAA Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs).

Experimental aircraft owners who wish to allow their aircraft to be "hired" for flight training will need to contact the Operations Supervisor at their local FSDO and apply for an Experimental Aircraft Flight Training Letter of Deviation as outlined in FAA Notice N 8900.15. Once that letter is issued, the aircraft owner may receive compensation for the flight training use of the aircraft. Remember that the Letter of Deviation is only required if the owner of the aircraft wishes to rent his experimental aircraft to others for transition training. A pilot may receive flight instruction in his own aircraft (once the initial flight test period is complete) without specific authorization. Also, a person may allow others to use their experimental aircraft for flight training at any time so long as no fee is charged for the use of the aircraft.

Individuals building an experimental aircraft or buying an experimental aircraft who need aircraft-specific flight training, or experimental aircraft owners in need of a flight review should also contact the Operations Supervisor and ask for a list of available experiment aircraft within their region for the needed flight training or flight review. EAA no longer maintains a national database of experimental aircraft that may be used for hire for flight training.

Members with questions concerning this issue should call EAA Safety Programs at 888-322-4636, ext. 6864.

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