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EAA Supports Goals of New Kit Manufacturers' Association


July 3, 2012 - EAA is encouraged by the goals of the new Aircraft Kit Industry Association (AKIA) that is organizing and includes kit manufacturers and component and material suppliers. That group has among its primary objectives improving experimental-amateur built (E-AB) aircraft safety and preserving the FAA's 51 percent kit rule.

"EAA welcomes any organization that shares these common goals, as EAA has been a powerful advocate for improving E-AB safety and establishing and protecting the 51 percent rule that allows kit builders to build a high-quality and safe airplane," EAA President/CEO Rod Hightower said.

"The fact that the aircraft kit manufacturers are organizing themselves into an association demonstrates how the kit designing and manufacturing business is maturing. Just as with the General Aviation Manufacturers' Association member companies, for instance, aircraft kit manufacturers share common issues and challenges and the new association will help kit manufacturers address those concerns."

Though AKIA is still early in its formation, the group did announce that Van's Aircraft founder Dick VanGrunsven is president, and John Monnett, creator of the Sonex line of kits, is vice president.

"Kit building has led the way in the tremendous amateur-built community's expansion over the past decade and it's important that kit manufacturers continue to offer high-quality kits to builders," Hightower added.

In addition, over the past year the issue of E-AB safety has moved to front and center with the FAA and NTSB. The NTSB has put general aviation on its list of "10 most wanted" safety improvements.

"EAA is working closely with NTSB to find ways to improve all of general aviation safety, and particularly the record of E-AB," Hightower said. "EAA experts testified at NTSB hearings in Washington earlier this year, and I am happy to report that the NTSB recommended that we continue and intensify the safety initiatives EAA already has in place. Our work with the type clubs and the analysis of five years of E-AB accidents that we published in Sport Aviation magazine in March are just two of our safety efforts. And now we look forward to working with the members of AKIA as well to take kit airplane safety to the next level."


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