Sun, Jul 06, 2003
announcement of a final rule for the much-ballyhooed Sport Pilot
and Light Sport Aircraft programs appears to be heading for
even more delay. A number of sources are reporting
that hopes for an announcement at Oshkosh are probably in vain.
The FAA is apparently falling back to a position where they hope
to publish the final rule in September of 2003... but even that
may be problematic. Numerous sources (including those in
the FAA) do expect that their part in the rule will be done by the
advent of Oshkosh but that mandatory review by other aspects of our
government may delay it well past the end of summer... and possibly
further. The FAA is reportedly trying to head off some of the
delays by advance briefings with relevant parties in the DOT and
Once finalized, some effects are expected fairly quickly
(especially in terms of pilot regulation), but other aspects may
take the better part of a year to see serious implementation. Few
changes are expected from the draft that has thus far been
published, but we do hear rumors of some latitude that might allow
higher aircraft gross weights (to as much as 1300 pounds) and the
chance that some rotorcraft, specifically gyroplanes, may see some
inclusion in the rule, after all.
It's Not ALL Bad News...
The tireless work of the ASTM committees, that we have been
reporting on for over a year, is showing serious progress. An
ASTM memorandum recently reported the following
Aircraft: The FW committees have made immense progress.
They have completed their Quality Assurance Standard and released
it to ASTM, and are in the final stages of release for the
remainder of their Standards. Several manufacturers report that
they have aircraft ready for release upon approval of the
- Powered Parachutes: The PPC/PPG group has
completed all their Standards required by the Light Sport Rule, and
have released them to ASTM for publishing (despite ignoring some
changes that they had previously promised to incorporate... a
foolish move, we think). Representatives of this category of light
sport aircraft claim to be ready for prototype approvals when the
rule is published.
- Weight-Shift Aircraft: In the final stages of
completing their Design/Performance/Airworthiness Standard.
Representatives for this category of light sport aircraft claim
that they have aircraft available for approval and release upon
- Gyroplanes: The Rotorcraft/Gyroplane working
group has completed their first draft of their Design and
Performance Standard. Some stability testing standards remain to be
- Lighter-Than-Air: This working group has
drafted their Standards.
- Gliders/Sailplanes: This group has yet to
draft their standards.
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