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Manufacture of S-LSA and E-LSA kits now one step closer to reality

The Federal Aviation Administration accepted the first industry-developed consensus standards for light-sport aircraft on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at EAA Headquarters in Oshkosh, making the reality of ready-to-fly special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) and experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA) kits one step closer.

John Hickey, FAA’s director of aircraft certification services, signed the Notice of Availability (NOA) for
more than a dozen standards required for the manufacture of various light-sport aircraft. Hickey and other high-level FAA officials were at EAA Headquarters on Feb. 16-17 for long-range planning meetings with EAA staff.

“It gives me great pleasure to sign this acceptance at EAA headquarters, where so much work has been dedicated to making the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule and its implementation a reality,” Hickey said to EAA president Tom Poberezny and those attending the planning session.

ASTM International’s F-37 Light-Sport Aircraft Committee, which includes representatives from throughout the aviation community, developed the consensus standards over a more than two-year period. Official notification of the acceptance will be printed in the Federal Register during the week of February 21-25, 2005.

John Hickey, director of FAA's aircraft
certification services, signs the
Notice of Availability of LSA standards
as EAA President Tom Poberezny looks on.

“This is a historic moment, not only because it moves the manufacture of light-sport aircraft one step closer, but also because it is the first time FAA has accepted industry-developed standards in lieu of federal regulatory standards for the design and manufacture of aircraft,” said Earl Lawrence, EAA’s vice president of government and industry affairs, who also serves as chairman of ASTM’s F37 light-sport aircraft committee.

“For those individuals who were concerned that FAA might not keep its commitment to accept the ASTM standards, worry no more. The work done to date has officially been approved.”

FAA also accepted two standards for gyroplanes and three standards for lighter-than-air craft. In addition, two non-required standards were also accepted: airframe emergency parachutes and engine design and manufacture.

“There are no asterisks. These standards are complete,” said Scott Sedgwick, FAA’s manager of the Small Airport Directorate and a member of the sport-pilot rulemaking team. “Manufacturers can begin finalizing their designs and production plans for S-LSAs and E-LSA kits.”

A standard that still needs to be developed before manufactured airplane and powered parachute light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) can be sold is one pertaining to maintenance. That would cover inspection procedures, identification and recording of major repairs and major alterations. The maintenance standard is expected to be released in late March or early April.

Other standards still under development include: Manufacturers’ assembly instructions, which must be completed before light-sport aircraft kits (E-LSA) can be sold to the public; required standards for weight-shift trikes; and remaining standards for all other categories of LSA.

“Getting the final sport pilot/light-sport aircraft was obviously a major milestone; however, implementation of the rule is just as important,” Poberezny said. “We need to work together to keep the process moving forward. EAA stands ready to assist in any way it can.”

Jim Ballough, FAA’s director of flight standards, echoed Poberezny’s statements and offered FAA’s continuing commitment.

“If we do not continue moving implementation of the rule forward, we will fail the industry and community,” he said. “The FAA team knows that and is committed to implementation.”

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

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