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EAA Files Exemption for E-LSA Conversion Process

Backlog indicates more time is needed


December 20, 2007 — On behalf of EAA members who are still trying to meet the upcoming deadline, EAA submitted an exemption request this week that, if approved by the FAA, would allow owners of two-place, or "fat" ultralights the opportunity to complete the airworthiness certification process of their vehicles to the experimental-light-sport aircraft (E-LSA) category after the January 31, 2008, deadline. In the request, EAA asks that owners who have submitted their aircraft registration (n-number) application to the FAA Aircraft Registration Branch and it has been entered into the FAA system on or before January 31, 2008, be allowed to complete the process, including issuance of an airworthiness certificate, beyond the deadline.

The FAA has repeatedly stated that the conversion deadline will not be extended, but this exemption request seeks to address the large backlog of applicants awaiting airworthiness inspections for their aircraft. "We felt an exemption request was the right thing to do for our members," said Earl Lawrence of EAA's vice president of industry and regulatory affairs. "The last thing we want to see happen is they end up with an expensive 'lawn ornament.' More time will help solve the problem." The latest figures (as of November 30, 2007) show that there were 4,273 E-LSA registered but not yet certificated, compared to 3,870 already-certificated aircraft.

The backlog has outpaced the ability of FAA inspectors and designated airworthiness representatives (DARs) to perform inspections before the January deadline.

"We've been closely monitoring the situation, especially during the second half of 2007 with the approaching January 2008 deadline," said EAA's Joe Norris, who is also a DAR. "We were hoping that the backlog would start to shrink as we got into the fall, but that has not been the case. An exemption would provide more time for FAA inspectors and DARs to deal with the volume."

If approved, the exemption request would not only provide additional time for those already registered but awaiting inspection, but would also provide relief for those facing certification issues beyond their control (i.e., severe weather preventing DAR travel, shortage of critical flight safety components from manufacturers, etc.) to complete the certification process beyond the deadline.

The forms (FAA form 8050-1 & 8050-88A) are available at your local Flight Services District Office (FSDO), and are also included in EAA's E-LSA Conversion Kit (Member price $12.99 plus shipping.) The EAA kit has everything needed to convert an ultralight vehicle to the new experimental-light-sport aircraft category including a 15-page Step-By-Step Conversion Guide that walks you through the entire process.

As always, EAA's Aviation Services staff is available to assist you at 877-359-1232.

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