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LODA Revision Re-opens Flight Training Avenues

EAA/FAA Winter Summit Discussions Bring Results

June 3, 2011 — A point of emphasis raised at February’s EAA/FAA Recreational Aviation Summit has brought results with re-opened avenues for flight training in the low-and-slow end of aviation.

In revised FAA Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) guidance, publicly released today, changes allow for primary flight instruction in rotorcraft gyroplanes, ultralight vehicles, and for sport pilot certificates in previously exempted Experiment light-sport aircraft.

In addition, the LODA still allows for compensated transition training in Experimental category aircraft, which is an essential part of enhancing the safety record of amateur-built aircraft. It also fits into FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt’s call for more transition training for pilots.

“There were some huge challenges to fix with the previously issued document and the revision is not perfect, it is a major step forward,” said David Oord, EAA government and advocacy specialist. “This was a point of emphasis for EAA during our February meetings with FAA, because these changes will break down barriers to flight and enhance safety. The agency noted the urgency that was necessary to preserve these segments of aviation that were neglected under the original policy.”

The LODA revision specifically allows:

  • Rotorcraft gyroplane training at all levels. Essential for this class of aircraft since gyros cannot be certificated as S-LSA. Pilots receiving training no longer need “category and class” privileges to receive training.
  • Sport pilot certificate training is allowed, which is a big win for the low-mass/high-drag community. The drawback is this training must be conducted in a previously exempted E-LSA, owned and operated by the LODA applicant.
  • Ultralight vehicle training in low-mass, high-drag aircraft with an empty weight of less than 500 pounds and a VH (maximum speed in level flight at maximum power) of 87 knots. Any experimental aircraft meeting this definition can give training without a previously held exemption, but instructors must hold a CFI rating.

“There is still some work to do, and EAA does have concerns that some potential flight instructors are no longer eligible because of frustration while waiting for this remedy,” Oord said. “Still, we encourage owners of these aircraft to apply for the LODA and will continue to urge the FAA to grant them willingly and without delay.”

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