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EAA Granted Exemption for Flight Training in Limited Category Aircraft
July 25, 2021 – EAA has been granted a sweeping exemption for flight training in Limited Category aircraft that any owner or operator can use. This exemption allows owners of Limited Category warbirds and their associated pilots and partners to continue training in their own aircraft following the disruptive fallout of the FAA interpretation and associated court ruling on operating certain aircraft for “compensation or hire” earlier this year.
The exemption is similar to the letter of deviation authority (LODA) being used as a temporary regulatory fix for experimental aircraft. It allows for compensated flight training and checking for owners of Limited Category aircraft and their delegates (i.e. other pilots who fly and require proficiency in the aircraft), as long as the use of the aircraft itself is not compensated. For private owners, including ownership groups, this returns the operating rules for these aircraft to essentially what they were before the ruling, provided that owners file a “notice of intent” to join the exemption on the federal docket.
In the aftermath of the FAA’s startling policy statement of July 12, which effectively halted all compensated flight training in Experimental, Limited, and Primary Category aircraft without a LODA or exemption, EAA quickly drafted and filed a prototype exemption request for Limited Category aircraft. While Experimental aircraft owners were able to immediately file for LODAs, those with Limited Category aircraft were not. The Limited rule, used to grant airworthiness to surplus military aircraft in the aftermath of World War II, does not contain a LODA provision, so the exemption route was the only option. EAA applied for the exemption using its P-51D Mustang Paul I and B-25H Mitchell Berlin Express as test cases, building the case that training in these aircraft is in the public interest and carries a safety benefit.
Any member of the community, EAA member or otherwise, can use EAA’s exemption by filing a “notice of intent” to the exemption’s docket. Per the text of the exemption, the notice must include:
- Aircraft registration number(s)
- Aircraft serial number(s)
- Aircraft make(s)/model(s)
- Owner (or responsible person if the owner is a company or association) requesting this relief
- Contact information (address, email, and telephone) for the owner or responsible person.
Once the notice is filed, the exemption instantaneously applies to the aircraft and any crew member receiving instruction within the parameters of the exemption. This is in many ways more convenient than the LODA process, which currently requires an individual LODA be granted to each operator. The exemption is valid until July 31, 2025.
“This in no way is an acceptable long-term fix for the serious safety problem that FAA and the courts have created, but the FAA flight standards team worked hard to create a solution for Limited Category aircraft through this exemption,” said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. “As an advocacy organization that both routinely operates Limited Category aircraft and maintains strong relationships with key FAA personnel, we were able to quickly apply for relief that covers the entire community.”
This is EAA’s latest involvement in a legal and regulatory saga that has gone on for the past year and a half. We continue to advocate a full repeal of any requirement for a LODA or exemption to train in private aircraft, and are actively working on a legislative fix alongside many other general aviation groups.