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09/08/04 - FAA HOSTS SPORT PILOT IMPLEMENTATION MEETINGS IN OKLAHOMA CITY

EAA Staff representing members’ interests

The sport pilot and light-sport aircraft (SP/LSA) final rule’s effective date was less than a week old, and FAA’s newly created Light-Sport Aviation Branch is wasting no time engaging the industry and aviation community in fine tuning the rule’s implementation process by holding a series of meetings this week in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. EAA staff members attending and representing the interests of EAA members include Earl Lawrence, vice-president of government and industry relations, Charlie Becker, director of aviation information services, and Mary Jones, editor of EAA Sport Pilot & Light-Sport Aircraft magazine.

Additionally, Rusty Sachs, executive director of EAA’s affiliate National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) and some 30 other industry and association leaders, including John and Martha King of King Schools, are participating in the discussions.

Martin Weaver, manager of the Light-Sport Aviation Branch, based in Oklahoma City, opened the meetings on Tuesday by introducing his staff and welcoming and encouraging input from all attendees. Throughout the week, participants will review and make recommendations on:

  • The Practical Test Standards (PTS) for all categories of sport pilot ratings
  • The Sport Pilot, Sport Pilot Flight Instructor (CFI-SP) and Examiner Airman Knowledge Tests
  • The Sport Pilot Examiner (SPE) program
  • Light-Sport Aircraft Operating Limitation Airworthiness Issues
  • Light-Sport Aircraft Repairman Courses
  • Designated Airworthiness Representative (DARs) requirements for light-sport aircraft

EAA Aviation Information Services Director
Charlie Becker, right foreground, and Rusty Sachs,
director of the National Association of Flight Instructors
(NAFI), third from right, participate in the small group
session reviewing the practical test standards (PTS)
for sport pilots intending to fly fixed-wing
sport-pilot-eligible aircraft. Sue Gardner, left, manager
of FAA's sport pilot program rulemaking team, as well
a number of other industry and association leaders
scoured the document.

EAA’s Lawrence called FAA’s engagement of the industry and aviation community in these processes a milestone in FAA history. “This is a groundbreaking approach for FAA to include the community in the development of testing standards and inspection processes, rather than just giving them review privileges after the fact,” he said. “FAA has made it clear that it’s willing to make this a cooperative venture. This level of cooperation is representative of the respect and trust FAA has for EAA.”

The meetings, which will continue through Friday, September 10, are a continuation of sessions that began two years ago to develop the testing and inspection processes for sport pilots and light-sport aircraft. Final standards and processes could not be completed until the SP/LSA rule was final. Weaver announced that FAA expects to release the PTS standards in early October 2004.

The Light-Sport Aviation Branch’s website,
http://afs600.faa.gov, provides detailed information about various implementation issues. Questions can be e-mailed to the Branch’s staff at afs610comments@faa.gov.


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