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EAA Pushes For LODA Reform

EAA is continuing to push for reform and expansion of the FAA’s Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) program for compensated flight training in experimental aircraft. The LODA system, authorized under FAR 91.319(h), allows for operators of experimental aircraft to be compensated for the use of the aircraft in certain cases for transition or primary training, as prescribed by FAA policy.

The FAA also utilized the LODA system in July 2021 as a means of providing quick relief to those operators affected by the district court ruling in Warbird Adventures v FAA, which disrupted the ability of experimental, limited, and primary category aircraft operators to hire instructors to train in the operator’s own aircraft. Experimental aircraft owners and instructors can obtain LODAs that fix this issue via the FAA’s application form. EAA also holds an exemption that covers owners of limited category aircraft. EAA and other associations are exploring a legislative solution to this problem while at the same time, the FAA has repeatedly stated that they are pursuing a fast-track rulemaking fix.

EAA’s latest effort focuses on “traditional” LODAs for compensated flight training, which is the original purpose of the LODA system. These LODAs allow instructors to provide transition training in experimental aircraft and be compensated for the use of the airplane. Over the past decade this program has seen some success, with instructors throughout the country offering training in various types of experimentals, but EAA is advocating for an expansion of the program to allow its use in more circumstances. The proposed expansion would make transition training more viable, allowing for training toward endorsements as part of transition training. It would also strengthen a little-used part of the LODA program that allows limited primary training for ultralights and certain types of light-sport aircraft that currently lack widespread training options.

A policy expansion and companion advisory circular were written in 2015, but the new policy first required a rule change to allow grandfathered experimental light-sport training to continue. This rulemaking fix went out for public comment in 2018, but has been continually delayed since then.

EAA believes that renewed focus on the LODA system in the wake of the Warbird Adventures case may help finally nudge these reforms across the finish line. In the meantime, EAA raised concerns regarding the continual delays to the General Aviation Joint Safety Committee (GAJSC) at its quarterly meeting last week.The committee agreed to highlight the issue until a solution is apparent. This will provide additional attention from FAA leadership until the final documents are published.

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