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EAA Government Advocacy

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In December 2010, 18 airplanes—17 of them light-sport aircraft (LSA) flown by sport pilots—flew the 85 nautical-mile route from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Freeport, Bahamas, for the first international sport pilot fly-in.

Earlier this year, the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) changed its rules to allow U.S. sport pilots, using a driver’s license medical, to operate in its airspace. That rule change resulted from a relationship established between EAA and the CAA through its participation at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in recent years. The hour long flight to and from Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) was safely and easily accomplished through thorough planning and preflight briefings. Greg Rolle, from the Bahamas CAA, assisted with the necessary paperwork and customs associated with international travel. More importantly, the experience was one the participants will never forget.

LSA aficionado Dan Johnson, EAA 368861, said, “The experience was spectacular in many ways. Large FBOs catering to the jet crowd—such as Odyssey in Nassau—offered polite and excellent service even though we bought a mere $30 worth of fuel. My overall experience suggests that LSA can easily negotiate and navigate flights from mainland USA. What an opportunity for sport pilots.”

EAA’s advocacy team continues to work to reduce the barriers to your participation in aviation. The Bahamas became the first international country to accept a U.S. driver’s license in lieu of a medical certificate for sport pilots, and with that precedent made, we will continue to push for Canada and Mexico to follow suit. Until then, take the short trip over to the islands of the Bahamas, and thank them for opening their borders.

On our Radar

On our Radar

Pilot Certificate Changes -- This month, EAA will submit comments to an FAA notice of proposed rulemaking entitled “Photo Requirements for Pilot Certificates.” The proposal, which is in response to a congressional mandate resulting from the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA), would require a pilot, when flying, to carry a pilot certificate that includes a photo.

The proposal, as written, could cause unnecessary financial hardship for EAA members, would not increase the current level of security (now, pilots must present their pilot certificate along with a government-issued photo ID), and may not meet all of the IRTPA requirements.

EAA recommends members submit their comments to the docket, FAA-2010-1127.

IA Approvals and Part-Time Mechanics -- Inspection Authorization (IA) approvals for part-time mechanics could be affected by a proposed FAA policy change.

At issue in the proposal is the definition of “actively engaged,” a requirement for approval as an IA. The FAA recently offered its aviation safety inspectors a clearer definition of the term, stating if a mechanic’s activity meets one of the five criteria outlined in FAR 65.93, a part-time mechanic should be considered actively engaged. (Visit www.SportAviation.org for a direct link to this language and comments submitted by EAA.) EAA believes the current level of part-time IAs should be maintained and encourages all eligible mechanics to apply. We will continue to monitor the issue to ensure that the policy change does not adversely affect the IA renewal process. The FAA intends to enforce the new policy when the IA renewal cycle begins on March 31, 2011.

Introducing Sean Elliott

EAA advocacy efforts are more important as ever -- Our world and the aviation freedoms we enjoy are as delicate today as at any point in history. EAA must continue the good work that has been accomplished in the past protecting those freedoms and ensuring our continued ability to pursue our aviation passions. Nothing could be more important to me both as a member of EAA and as an aviator.

My name is Sean Elliott, and I am your new vice president, government and industry relations. I am passionate about aviation and have been since soloing on my 16th birthday 27 years ago. I am an airline transport pilot and certificated flight instructor and have been an EAA staff member since 1996. In my previous position as director of aircraft operations, which I will continue to oversee, I worked closely with the EAA advocacy team on many issues. As the former executive director of the National Association of Flight Instructors, I established key relationships in Washington, D.C. and I feel confident that my transition to this new role will be a smooth one.

So what is my priority with EAA advocacy efforts? At the top of my list is taking the complex issues EAA is engaged in and communicating them to you in a simple, easy-to-understand way. Maybe it is the flight instructor in me that thrives in making complicated issues easier to understand, but I feel this is paramount to our efforts moving forward.

I look forward to serving you, our members, in our advocacy efforts. We have a great team, and I could not ask for a stronger foundation upon which to build. The good name of the association and the terrific community that is EAA are important to preserve and protect. — Sean Elliott, EAA Vice President, Government and Industry Regulations

Read more about out what else is happening in the world of EAA's government relations.

EAA's Government Relations department works to preserve the freedom of flight and reduce the regulatory barriers affecting affordability and access to EAA members’ participation in aviation. Protecting the freedom to fly is the foundation on which all of the organization’s advocacy initiatives are built. EAA fights to preserve this freedom by providing clear solutions and practical alternatives backed by hard work and dedication. EAA’s 55-year history of success is a testament to that philosophy.

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