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EAA’s decade-long effort pays off with more aviation opportunities

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (July 16, 2004) - A bright new age of aviation participation is ready to unfold, capping a decade of effort by the Experimental Aircraft Association and the aviation community, as the highly anticipated sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule has cleared its last governmental hurdle. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the rule to the Federal Aviation Administration, the last of many federal approvals that were necessary before this major rule could be published.

“We are extremely pleased that this rule is close to becoming reality,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA President. “It has long been a goal of the aviation community and provides the first rulemaking package specifically written for recreational flying. EAA is proud of its role to make personal flight more accessible and build aviation’s infrastructure through this new entry-level base for pilots.”

The regulation, commonly known as the “sport pilot rule,” is now ready for publication in the Federal Register within several days. It gives aviation enthusiasts a way to focus on the basics of flying by lowering costs while enhancing safety and security considerations. The light-sport aircraft portion of the regulation, meanwhile, opens the door to more affordable aircraft.

EAA led the charge for this rule over the past decade to break down the barriers to safe, affordable and fun flying. Along the way, EAA helped forge an unprecedented partnership between government, industry and consumers that led to the creation of regulations and aircraft standards that are intended to be both thorough and practical.

A major part of that partnership involved developing consensus standards for the recreational aircraft that will be built and operated within the light-sport aircraft category. EAA initiated contacts with ASTM International, which administers the highest industry standards for products around the world, chaired the light-sport aircraft standards committee and helped form industry/government working groups to write the standards. In addition, EAA’s new publication, EAA Sport Pilot & Light Sport Aircraft, is the first magazine dedicated to informing, educating and entertaining sport pilot enthusiasts while an associated web site (
http://www.sportpilot.org/) is a vast on-line resource.

“While EAA is proud of its leadership role that will allow more people to pursue their aviation dreams, this was truly a team effort,” Poberezny said. “First, enormous credit must be given to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey and her predecessor, Jane Garvey, as well as the entire sport-pilot rulemaking team at the agency. They truly believed in this effort and fought hard to work it through the many governmental channels that were part of the process.

“In addition, there are those in the aviation industry who wanted to create this new arena for recreational flight and backed up their words with action, as they eagerly participated in the industry coalition for the development of safe, practical standards. Finally, we thank those EAA members and other aviators whose enthusiasm and spirit inspired us to strive toward making sport pilot a reality.”

EAA officials will review the rule as soon as it becomes available, so complete briefings can be held during the 2004 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in (July 27-August 2). Sport pilot will play a major role at that event, which has the theme “Launching the Next Century of Flight.” A large sport pilot pavilion will be located at the center of the EAA AirVenture grounds, with EAA and FAA personnel ready to answer questions and distribute information on the new rule.

“We will definitely celebrate the emergence of the sport pilot rule during EAA AirVenture 2004,” Poberezny said. “It is fitting that as we launch the second century of powered flight, this new rule will allow more people than ever before to pursue their personal dreams of flying. It is an exciting new day for aviation participation, and EAA members will have the most valuable information resources available to discover and enjoy these new opportunities.”

EAA, The Leader in Recreational Aviation, is an international association with 170,000 members and 1,000 local Chapters. To join EAA or for more information on its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or go to

EAA Aviation Center, 3000 Poberezny Road, Oshkosh, WI 54902
Phone: 920/426.4800

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