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05/25/04 - ASTM INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE CONTINUES TO BUILD INFRASTRUCTURE FOR LIGHT-SPORT AIRCRAFT
EAA leads industry-wide efforts to create consensus standards
May 25, 2004 - The ASTM International committee that is developing consensus standards for light-sport aircraft under the upcoming sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule continued its success last week, as government, industry and aviation user groups gathered in Salt Lake City. The committee, chaired by Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of government and industry relations, approved additional aircraft standards and also began work on other infrastructure areas for successful light-sport aircraft development.
ASTM International standards establish industry criteria on thousands of products and are known for their high technical quality and market relevance. These standards are an important part of the information infrastructure that guides design, manufacturing, and trade throughout the global economy.
"This ASTM committee has matured through the past two years and is now truly providing the foundation for the successful development of light-sport aircraft of all types," Lawrence said. "In addition, this committee has been an outstanding example of what can be accomplished when various groups have the common purpose of creating safe and practical standards for all."
A key measure approved during the ASTM session was a set of consensus standards for weight-shift aircraft. These standards emerged from extensive debate that addressed the complexity of these aircraft. A glider subcommittee was also established to begin work on standards for gliders and sailplanes within the light-sport aircraft rule, which is expected to be published by FAA this summer.
The ASTM committee also began work on guidelines for light-sport aircraft airparks, fixed-base operators and other infrastructure elements. These guidelines will give aviation enthusiasts and municipalities safe and thorough standards to develop these support services for sport pilot enthusiasts, opening the door for insurance and financing opportunities. These efforts include ways to consider noise-level standards that would respect local communities while providing practical benchmarks for manufacturers.
"Creating a new set of industry standards is complex work," Lawrence said. "Some standards emerge quickly, while others evolve only after much effort. EAA is proud to be at the forefront of the ASTM process, which has created an atmosphere where diverse aviation groups can find common ground and enormous potential for this new class of recreational flying."