Why Does The FAA Seem SO Intent on Shutting Down Historic Aircraft Flight Operations?
ANN is monitoring the reactions that have been piling up this week to recent FAA statements, memorandums and discussions concerning the future of operating historic aircraft in the USA. With public meetings coming up in just a month, the temperature of the community that embraces, restores, operates, instructs in, and maintains these aircraft is about as distrustful of the FAA's intent and goodwill as we have ever seen it... and for potentially good reason.
An increasingly risk/work adverse mindset in certain divisions of the FAA is creating a huge need for proactive effort on their part in order to make that these extraordinary historic aircraft remain airworthy and flying... an effort that is clearly being thwarted by senior people within the FAA.
Recent warbird/historic aircraft community chatter explains some of the reason for the growing concern, "The FAA has had a moratorium on all petitions for new aircraft to receive the exemptions. Current aircraft that have those letters could also be at risk as there is no guarantee from the FAA that those letters will be renewed."
Some of the more active personnel in the "Living History Flight Experience" (LHFE) community note that they, "...believe that some of the information in (a May 22nd NPRM) are erroneous and are meant to mislead the public in a negative way. The recent actions of the FAA in Washington appears to be more and more to hostile to warbird operations across the country. Examples of the FAA and DoD hostility include the exemption program moratorium, the recent change of how the airworthiness certificates for former military jet aircraft are issued, and the attempt to modify the Title 10 Section 2571 to prohibit any transfer of a govt. aircraft or parts for any purpose other than static display. It is quite clear that the FAA and DoD are speaking to each other, at least as it regards to former military jet operation. We believe that changes in the LHFE program are just a another way to limit warbird operation.
The issues that the FAA have proposed are virtually the same issues that were addressed at a conference in Oshkosh ten years ago at a meeting chaired by John Allen. These issues were resolved through the FAA policy of 2006, published in 2007. The current staff at the FAA chooses to ignore the existing policy and is using this opportunity to rewrite the regulations, not in our favor either. We need to hold them to the current policy while offering risk mitigation for aerobatics and manipulation of the flight controls, as proposed by CAF, CF, Cavanaugh and other organizations almost two years ago."
LHFE sources conclude that, "While the proposed changes are currently focused on the LHFE program, it is not much of a stretch to see where it would be easy for the FAA to change the regulations dealing with the operation of other warbirds in a negative manner. It is best to present a cohesive front to the FAA before the rules become more Draconian."
The FAA has currently scheduled THREE public meetings for late June. The June 26th-28th meetings are critical to the future of the LHFE program and related historic aircraft operations. The only way to be heard is to register beforehand and follow a set of procedures whereby the FAA will direct and control the conduct and content of the meeting. The public meetings will be held in the FAA Headquarters building auditorium on the third floor, 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591. Due to limited space, the FAA notes that, "attendees are required to please reply (RSVP) to 9-AFS-LHFE@faa.gov. Seating will be on a first-come-first-serve basis."
For those unable to attend the meetings, written comments (identified by docket number FAA-2012-0374) may be submitted using a number of methods (shown below):
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go tohttp://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for sending comments electronically.
Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590.
Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.
Hand Delivery: Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
The FAA claims that, "written comments to the docket will receive the same consideration as statements made at the public meeting."
ANN has looked over quite a bit of input and commentary on the matter and we quite agree with the sentiments expressed by an ANN reader that stated, "It is imperative that we have a strong showing at the meeting and inundate the federal register with supporting letters, from ourselves, members and supporters."
If you wish to heard, be advised that the 'drop dead' date for registration and comment is June 18th.