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FAA Applauds EAA, Homebuilt Safety Improvement

Winter recreational aviation summit brings top FAA policymakers to Oshkosh

February 11, 2016 – EAA’s efforts in enhancing homebuilt aircraft safety and the results from the past year were recognized by top FAA officials during this week’s annual Winter Recreational Aviation Summit, held at EAA headquarters on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The annual session brought 20 FAA representatives, including leaders in the aircraft certification and airports areas, to Oshkosh for focusing discussion on a number of grassroots aviation issues. It is a unique occurrence to have FAA’s top managers go outside Washington as group for such a discussion, and speaks well of EAA’s longstanding working relationship with agency personnel – a philosophy pioneered by EAA founder Paul Poberezny more than 60 years ago.

“This annual summit gets to the heart of issues that matter to EAA members, both in a very broad sense as well as narrow, specific topics that are important to a segment of our community,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety. “Along with frank discussions on the issues, this summit builds the personal relationships that make it easier for EAA to contact the right office at FAA when situations arise throughout the year. You can’t overestimate the importance of that when working with a large government agency, because it can help individual EAA members when necessary.”

For the first time, senior leaders from FAA’s airports division were at Oshkosh for the summit, allowing continued discussion on the agency’s hangar use policy, particularly relating to aircraft building and restoration. EAA maintains that active homebuilding be regarded as a true aeronautical activity and should be defined as such in FAA’s hangar use policy.

In homebuilt safety, FAA officials complimented EAA and its members for the improving homebuilt safety numbers over the past year and were engaging in further enhancements to Phase 1 flight testing. This builds upon the successful Additional Pilot Program introduced in 2014.

Among other items in the packed two-day agenda were:

  • FAA recognized that training for lighter aircraft needs to be more accessible as a consensus principle. EAA continues to push to make those avenues available to more people.
  • Engaging FAA in detailed discussions on operating limitations in homebuilt aircraft.
  • Ensuring there are adequate Designated Airworthiness Representatives (DAR) resources available for homebuilders.
  • Reinforcing definition of stadiums and similar public venues as congested areas, opening opportunities for pre-event and patriotic flyovers.
  • Specific issues affecting the warbird, aerobatic, and vintage aircraft communities.

“Having this summit in Oshkosh every winter is important to grassroots aviation not only for the issues discussed, but it also keeps an action plan moving forward to review at AirVenture,” Elliott said. “We will meet with many of these FAA leaders at Oshkosh this summer to ensure that progress is being made in all of these areas.”

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