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EAA Government Advocacy

LODA Re-Opens Flight Training

EAA/FAA Recreational Aviation Summit discussions bring results - After years of discussions, the FAA recently released revised Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) guidance, allowing primary flight instruction in gyroplanes and ultralight vehicles and for sport pilot certificates in previously exempted experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA).

The LODA issue was a point of emphasis during February’s EAA/FAA Recreational Aviation Summit in Oshkosh. Its release re-opens avenues for flight training in the low-and-slow end of aviation. In addition, the LODA still allows for compensated transition training in experimental category aircraft, which is an essential part of enhancing the safety record of amateur-built aircraft. It also fits into FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt’s call for more transition training for pilots.

“There were some huge challenges to fix with the previously issued LODA document and although the revision is not perfect, it is a major step forward,” said David Oord, EAA government and advocacy specialist. “These changes break down barriers to flight and enhance safety.

The LODA revision specifically allows:

  • Gyroplane training at all levels. This is essential for this class of aircraft since gyros cannot be certificated as S-LSA. Pilots receiving training no longer need “category and class” privileges to receive training.
  • Sport pilot certificate training in E-LSA, which is a big win for the low-mass/high-drag community. The drawback is this training must be conducted in a previously exempted E-LSA, owned and operated by the LODA applicant.
  • Ultralight training in low-mass, high-drag aircraft with an empty weight of less than 500 pounds and a VH (maximum speed in level flight at maximum power) of 87 knots. Any experimental aircraft meeting this definition can give training without a previously held exemption, but instructors must hold a CFI rating.

“There is still work to do, and EAA does have concerns that some potential flight instructors are no longer eligible because they gave up in frustration while waiting for this remedy,” Oord said. “Still, we encourage owners of these aircraft to apply for the LODA and will continue to urge the FAA to grant them willingly and without delay.”

Advocacy in Action at AirVenture 2011

Inhofe to Announce 'Pilot Bill of Rights' - Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), a longtime GA pilot and aviation advocate in Congress, is a regular visitor to AirVenture, often camping with his aircraft. As an active pilot, he is also aware of the frustrations that fellow pilots have in a number of areas.

On Saturday, July 30, at Oshkosh, Sen. Inhofe, EAA 179992, will be outlining his ideas to relieve some of those frustrations. EAA, AOPA, and the senator’s staff have spent several months creating draft legislation with the working title “The Pilot’s Bill of Rights.” Among the topics addressed in the bill are FAA enforcement proceedings, the manner in which NOTAMs and Flight Service Station briefings are provided to pilots, and medical certification processing.

Sen. Inhofe, who has served in the Senate since 1994, will be discussing the topics over the AirVenture public address system on July 30 and in a forum he is hosting at 1 p.m. in Forum Pavilion 11.

House Aviation Subcommittee to Visit - Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-WI), whose district includes Oshkosh, will host a group of his fellow members of the House Subcommittee on Aviation and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure at EAA AirVenture, affording attendees the opportunity to meet with policy makers face-to-face. House members making the trip to Oshkosh will hold a town hall meeting on Friday, July 29, at 11:30 a.m. in Pavilion 4. All EAA members are welcome to attend.

Questions for the Administrator? - FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt will answer questions at the traditional “Meet the Administrator” Q&A session in the Honda Pavilion on Thursday, July 28, at 11:30 a.m. If you cannot attend but have a question you would like answered, send questions to asktheadministrator@eaa.org no later than July 15, 2011. We will forward your questions to the FAA and EAA President Rod Hightower will select a few questions to ask on members’ behalf at the forum.

AvGas Lawsuits Differ On Goals

Both efforts ignore past progress, current efforts - Within the past two months, two separate notices have been filed advising of future lawsuits regarding the use of lead in aviation fuel, most specifically 100LL used by the bulk of GA aircraft. EAA is well aware of these notices and is working with the GA community and federal agencies on the appropriate responses.

The latest notice was released on May 27 by the environmental activist group Friends of the Earth. The group states it will file suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish lead emissions standards on avgas, with an ultimate goal to eliminate leaded aviation fuel.

Earlier this spring, the California-based Center for Environmental Health gave notice that it would sue fuel retailers and suppliers in that state for distributing leaded fuel, which it claims is in violation of California’s drinking water and toxic enforcement laws. This notice has been sent to dozens of aviation businesses, large and small, that sell 100LL as well as the major fuel suppliers in that state.

EAA, as a member of the FAA’s General Aviation Avgas Coalition, continues to work in a unified manner with aviation and petroleum groups to find a 100LL replacement that can work for the entire GA fleet. Friends of the Earth, in fact, was invited to participate in the Coalition and help find a solution, but declined to do so.

While ethanol-free, unleaded auto fuel is available for thousands of GA aircraft, it is not a complete answer. In addition, Congress has mandated ethanol for use in auto fuel and even staunch aviation supporters on Capitol Hill see no reversal of that mandate. EAA continues its effort to ensure that at least premium grades of auto fuel remain ethanol-free and available in all states.

The notice of future lawsuits also ignores the fact that finding a replacement fuel is a long-term solution. Aviators should not panic that 100LL will disappear in the short term. EPA and FAA are aware that adequate fuel supplies must be available for GA.

Safety Starts with Each and Every One of Us

It's hard to believe we are more than halfway through 2011 already. Summer is in full swing and flying season is underway. So how is the experimental amateur-built (E-AB) community doing with its safety record? The answer to that question is both complicated and telling.

According to accident statistics, this year there have been fewer fatal experimental aircraft accidents than in recent years. The experimental aircraft fatal accident rate has been tracking, on average, five to eight fewer accidents per month than in 2010.

Is that significant? The answer is yes and no. The “yes” answer comes from the fact that the E-AB community is growing in size. Registered E-AB aircraft have exceeded 30,000 aircraft nationwide. This is at a time when standard category aircraft are actually decreasing in numbers. The vibrancy within the E-AB community is something that is badly needed in GA right now. Having this kind of growth and a reduction in accidents is certainly a good thing.

The “no” answer is due to the fact that E-ABs still have a significantly higher fatal accident rate than standard category aircraft. Further, we have only watched this downtick in E-AB accidents over the past six months and, statistically, it may just be nominal variation.

The bottom line is that we all have ownership in improving safety. EAA is about to embark on significant enhancements to its safety programs and initiatives. You can do your part as well. Attend a local safety seminar. Do your flight review more often than just every two years. Learn from the mistakes of others and share the mistakes that you have learned from. We are all in this together and only collectively can we ensure the future freedoms we cherish in aviation today.

Government Relations Briefings

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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