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The cover story in the October 2003 issue of Popular Mechanics includes an exciting, seven-page feature on sport pilot and light-sport aircraft by Norman Mayersohn, a frequent visitor to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. It includes many photos of aircraft that could be part of the light-sport aircraft fleet when the rule is finalized in the near future. In the article, EAA is recognized as the “expert” for these new categories, a leadership role the organization has maintained since the proposal’s conception.

This kind of showcase in the general media certainly builds enthusiasm for the new sport pilot certificate and light-sport aircraft category, especially the positive influences the rule will have in making ready-to-fly aircraft more affordable, simplifying pilot certification for newcomers, and increasing current levels of safety and security.

A single magazine cover or article, even an extended one such as the one in Popular Mechanics, is designed to attract readership and cannot possibly touch on all the details about the new categories. It’s important to remember, for instance, that there are important requirements for sport pilot certification beyond those mentioned in a brief, attention-grabbing headline—such as 20 hours of approved flight training prior to certification, among others. The sport pilot proposal, however, does include the ability for sport pilots to use a valid United States driver’s license as medical certification as opposed to obtaining a third-class medical certificate.

The sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule, while it will simplify many aspects of getting involved in aviation, is still a complex rule. EAA members and Chapter members, can help as this new rule becomes better known by the public. You may be asked by the public for more information regarding the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft. We recommend directing interested parties to EAA’s sport pilot web site (www.sportpilot.org) or EAA’s Sport Pilot Hotline at 877-359-1232. Those are also excellent recourses to familiarize yourself with the requirements and potential of the new categories, so you more fully understand and can communicate them.

The October issue of Popular Mechanics is on newsstands now, and the complete article will be available on the magazine’s web site (
www.popularmechanics.com) in mid-October.

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