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EAA Clears Misunderstandings on Aircraft Certification Guidance

June 4, 2015 - Since the release of FAA Order 8130.2H - the document that governs aircraft certification and the issuance of operating limitations - EAA has been working with builders, designated airworthiness representatives (DARs), and the FAA to get quick answers to questions raised by the community and ensure that homebuilders receive their airworthiness certification quickly, with minimal hassle, and with a “business as usual” operational environment.

Specifically, EAA worked quickly last week to clear up some misunderstandings that were causing the issuance of incorrect operating limitations, and recommended changes to a new “job aid” tool to make it easier for DARs to use.

There have been some questions raised about the language used in the new operating limitations, particularly Limitation 46, regarding flight over densely populated areas. Unlike the previous revision of the order, 8130.2H omits language that allows flight over densely populated areas when directed by air traffic control (ATC). Despite this, the status quo has been maintained because the limitation for amateur-built and experimental light-sport aircraft permits flight over densely populated areas when taking off or landing or when sufficient altitude is maintained to land safely without hazarding persons or property on the ground. This is a reiteration of language in FAR 91.119 (a) that all aircraft must follow, and covers normal operations for personal aircraft with or without ATC direction.

“The new order has been formatted differently, and has naturally prompted some questions by DARs and some FAA officials in the field,” said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. “We encourage DARs who have questions to contact their FAA management, but also EAA. We are always happy to help, especially on an issue that is central to the vitality of the homebuilt movement.”

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