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EAA Highlights 51% Rule Issue at Sun 'n Fun


See video
of Dick Van Grunsven discussing his RV-12 and the 51% Rule.

Sun 'n Fun
Dick Van Grunsven of Van's Aircraft speaks with EAA's Mary Jones about the RV-12 and the FAA's 51% Rule.

Sun 'n Fun
Van's display had lots of visitors asking about the RV-12.

April 9, 2008 — The FAA says some modern-day kitbuilding practices (prefabrication and commercial builder assistance) leave too few construction tasks for the amateur builder, so it is considering more strictly enforcing the 51 percent rule. At EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2006, FAA officials announced its intentions to reexamine its interpretation and enforcement of the 51 percent rule, and have since acknowledged that the agency's own certification practices over time have contributed to these concerns.

On Wednesday, the leaders of three popular kitbuilding companies that may be affected by FAA's new policy ... to be announced in the near future ... gathered at the EAA Member Village at Sun 'n Fun for a mini-forum on the 51 percent rule. Talking to a group of members were Dick Van Grunsven of Van's Aircraft; Mikael Via of Glasair Aviation, and Joe Bartels of Lancair International. And tomorrow (Thursday), EAA will conduct a forum at noon in Tent 2, "The 51 Percent Rule - Keeping it Healthy for the Amateur Builder."

With an entire industry of suppliers, designers, manufacturers, and service providers having built up around the FAA's precedents - and a groundswell of enthusiasts rushing in to support this industry - EAAers are urging the FAA not to unduly restrict amateur builders. Accordingly, we believe:

  • The FAA should not change the rules that allow amateur builders to design, build, and fly aircraft of any specifications.
  • The FAA should protect the spirit and intent of the amateur-building rules and preserve the educational and recreational benefits that so many enthusiasts are realizing in today's environment.
  • The amateur-building rules do not and should not prohibit the assistance of paid professionals . so long as the amateur performs the majority of the construction tasks.

To qualify for amateur-built aircraft certification, the rules require that an amateur builder or group of amateurs personally carry out a majority (51 percent or greater) of the aircraft construction tasks. As the FAA's revised interpretation and enforcement policy looms, EAA and its members are rallying to protect an activity that provides enormous recreational and educational benefits to participants, and advances the development of all of aviation.

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