URGENT — Comment to FAA Policy

March 25th, 2014 | Newsletter

Dear LSA Manufacturer or Business Person:

This letter makes an URGENT REQUEST of you. You must act by no later than March 30, 2014.

We regret last-minute requests, especially while many of you are rushing to prepare for Sun ‘n Fun 2014. However, we only heard about this potentially damaging FAA policy draft recently and we hastened to study the document and prepare a response.

What we are asking of you is to write a comment to FAA resisting this unnecessary action. You will find below a document written by LAMA board member, Phil Solomon. His effort can help you to make your comment quickly and with less effort that starting from scratch on your own. However, we caution you to use your own words and not merely copy Phil’s letter.

Note that failing to comment could mean greater restrictions on your use of LSA and on your ability to sell these aircraft. Since we believe no safety argument exists to support this new, proposed restriction, we urge you to comment.

In our effort to blunt FAA actions in this matter — while we also try to move forward on the positive front of possible commercial use of LSA — our collaborator has been Roy Beisswenger representing the USUA, a pilot organization. Roy is also the publisher of Powered Sport Flying magazine and recently posted this light-hearted article about the FAA policy draft. Have a look:

http://www.psfmagazine.com/2014/03/more-proposed-faa-policy/

Besides resisting FAA restrictions, LAMA and USUA will be holding a Safety Conference with many organizations and several FAA representatives at Sun ‘n Fun. Our goal is to work within the system to improve your business outlook. These actions are being taken by LAMA in support of the LSA and light kit industry. Your support of LAMA through membership will help us continue  this work. If your business is not a member please consider joining. Visit this link to do so:

http://www.lama.bz/membership-form

On behalf of LAMA’s Board of Directors, best regards,

Dan Johnson, President & Chairman

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Phil Solomon letter with details about FAA’s Draft Order:

IMPORTANT NEWS about FAA Draft order 8130.2(H)

This somewhat bland sounding document has the potential to severely curtail the degree to which you and your fellow pilots and aviation enthusiasts are able to exercise the important freedoms of flight that have been won over many years. Once you have read this we need you to e-mail, fax or write to the FAA expressing your opinion on these changes.  Comments must be received no later than 30 March 2014 and should be addressed to:

e-mail:  Craig.holmes@faa.gov

Deliver comments by mail or hand to:
Federal Aviation Administration
950 L’Enfant Plaza, SW – Suite 500
Attn: Craig Holmes
Washington, DC 20024

Fax comments to:
202-385-6475

If you prefer to follow a preformatted comment form then the Order itself provides a copy in Appendix I-1 (FAA Form 1320-19) on the last page of the 322-page PDF file referenced below. The full text of this Order may be found at the following web address:

http://www.faa.gov/aircraft/draft_docs/media/draft_order_8130.2.pdf

This order is a very detailed update of the whole process and requirements for aircraft certification across the entire range of aircraft including experimental, Part 23, Light Sport, etc. It is not easy to go through a 322-page document and spot potential challenges so what we are highlighting may not be the full extent of potential concerns to the aviation community.

The damaging clauses that we would like you to comment on are contained in Appendix C that starts on page 292 of the PDF file, and is a guide to FAA and other designated personnel on what restrictions they should put on different types of Certificates of airworthiness.

On page 293 under Clause “5. Procedure” it provides a table by aircraft type for issuing potential restrictions.  The proposed restrictions that are of concern are firstly:

c. Prohibit the carriage of passengers, flight over densely populated areas, and night or

instrument flight rules (IFR) operations in the following:

(1) Experimental LSA aircraft that formerly held a special LSA airworthiness certificate; 

(6) Electric-powered aircraft.

 

This restriction would mean that an LSA that was originally factory manufactured as an SLSA and any aircraft powered by an electric motor would not be allowed to carry passengers at all – so pilot operations only, would not be allowed to fly over towns and cities, would not be allowed to fly at night even if the pilot is qualified and the aircraft otherwise fully equipped and not allowed to file an IFR flight plan.  There are multiple reasons why this restriction does not make any sense but one is that all of these privileges are NOT restricted for an aircraft that was always an experimental/homebuilt (from an LSA perspective) so gives the message that an aircraft that has been built and maintained in full compliance with the ASTM standards and the FARs is more dangerous to the general public than one that was potentially built in somebody’s garage or basement.  We should also mention that when an owner applies to have an SLSA moved into the experimental class to ELSA that aircraft has to be fully compliant with the SLSA requirements at the time of transfer or it is not eligible at all so you have a second level of quality and safety control.  Electric propulsion sources will, over time, have some place in mainstream aviation and the best place for it to start is in lighter aircraft such as LSA.

The second concern (page 294):

e. Require all operations be conducted within a specified geographical area for aircraft

described in paragraph c above and—

(5) Electric-powered aircraft.    

 

In addition to the restrictions noted in the first concern they are also looking to restrict electric powered aircraft and experimental LSA (ELSA) that were originally SLSA to a predefined geographical area!

These types of restrictions — inserted without consulting industry — like the restriction on former SLSA aircraft, are not based on any statistical or other objective data shown to LAMA and LAMA believes they have not been the subject of a controlled study or research.

Because LAMA has seen no evidence of studies supporting these changes and as LAMA believes safety is not served in any way by these changes, we urge you to object to them in the strongest possible terms.

We need your help to prevent this from coming part of the federal regulations and we need you to act fast. Please comment using your own language (everyone using the same language is not as helpful).

In summary, we are commenting on FAA order 8130.2(H) and objecting to putting additional restrictions on the use of experimental Light Sport Aircraft (ELSA) if they originally held a certificate as an SLSA before becoming experimental and on all electric powered aircraft. An increasing number of people are following this path of buying a factory built SLSA so that they can benefit from the professional quality controls given by an established manufacturer and then moving it to Experimental to enjoy the additional freedoms that the experimental category offers. We do not have statistics on this, but the FAA has presented no evidence to suggest that a converted ELSA is maintained any differently than an SLSA.

Thanks for giving this important FAA action the attention it deserves.

Respectfully submitted,

Phil Solomon,

on behalf of the LAMA Board of Directors

Download as PDF
iv>