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EAA has applied for an exemption from the FAA to remedy a pair of “Catch 22” situations facing transitioning ultralight pilots in single-place light-sport aircraft. The exemption would allow such pilots to conduct their sport pilot practical tests in their planes, eliminating the quirk in the FARs that require a person to be Pilot in Command to fly an aircraft. But one cannot be PIC until after completing a practical flight examination.

The exemption would also allow transitioning pilots in single-place, tail-wheel aircraft to take the practical test in the aircraft, plus give the LSA pilot examiner the authority to issue the tail wheel logbook endorsement based on the pilots demonstrated flight ability during that practical flight examination.

“As written, FAR 61.31(i) requires the pilot to receive ground and flight training, as well as a logbook endorsement prior to acting as PIC of a tail wheel aircraft,” said Randy Hansen, EAA director of government relations who submitted the exemption request. “EAA does not believe the authors of the Sport Pilot rule intended to place these practical test road blocks in front of FAR 61.329(a)(1) transitioning ultralight pilots who fly single-place aircraft. Our continuing partnership with the FAA, and others within the sport pilot industry, allow Sport Pilot Rule ‘Catch-22s’ to be resolved soon after they are discovered by Sport Pilot Examiners in the field. This joint effort goes a long way toward easing the pressure the January 31, 2007 deadline date.”

EAA asked that the exemption termination dates coincide with the January 31, 2007, conversion deadline for transitioning ultralight pilots wishing to receive credit for their flight time (per 61.329(a)(1); and January 31, 2009 for all other sport pilots taking their single-place LSA practical flight test.

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