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10/27/04 - ASTM COMMITTEES MODIFY STANDARDS TO MEET FINAL SP/LSA RULE

The ASTM light-sport aircraft consensus standards committee, led by Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of government and industry relations, completed two busy and productive days of committee and sub-committee meetings on Wednesday, October 27 at Sebring, Florida. The final sport pilot/light-sport aircraft (SP/LSA) rule governs LSA manufacture and maintenance and generally mirrors the original notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). However, some significant changes to the final rule required previously completed standards to be modified.

On Tuesday, October 26, the various ASTM sub-committees met separately to discuss the modifications needed to bring the standards for the various classes of LSA in compliance with the final rule.

A number of standards for all classes of LSA were brought into compliance. The weight-shift sub-committee completed two standards, the airplane sub-committee brought all its standards into compliance, the powered parachute sub-committee completed its sixth standard, while the lighter-than-air subcommittee completed one standard and made significant progress on others required for that class of aircraft.

James Tubbs of Engine Components, Inc., addresses the ASTM LSA committee during the discussion of independent audits.


The crosscutting sub-committee discussed the recreational airpark standard, which it expects to complete soon. A new LSA airport operations standard remains under development, while a proposed noise standard is not currently being actively discussed. The emergency parachute standard underwent revision and was submitted to ASTM-LSA members for approval. The propeller standard made significant progress, but remains under development.

New task groups were formed to develop standards for assembly kit instructions and maintenance manuals, as required by the final SP/LSA rule. A lively discussion resulted in a new task group formed to consider a standard for an independent audit system verifying that manufacturers are producing aircraft in compliance with the standards.

Even though their aircraft are not covered by the SP/LSA rule, the hang-gliding and paragliding community, with FAA’s encouragement, continues to develop standards for two-place operations under the ASTM process.

An important note to consumers
: While many of the consensus standards had been completed in accordance with the original SP/LSA NPRM, changes and new requirements in the final SP/LSA rule necessitated modifications to some of those standards. That work moved forward during the ASTM committee meetings this week. However, until the FAA issues the official notice of availability (NOA), signifying its acceptance of the standards, it is impossible for any manufacturer to sell a special LSA (S-LSA).

The next formal ASTM LSA committee meeting will be held in Reno, Nevada, in May 2005. However, the various sub-committees will continue online meetings to move the remaining standards forward toward completion. It is expected that FAA will begin issuing NOA for several standards in the near future.


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