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EAA Government Advocacy

Where EAA Stands . . . On One Easy Page

EAA advocacy briefings available to members, chapters - The calls come to EAA ’s government advocacy department every day—“Hey, what is EAA doing about (fill in the appropriate government issue)?”

Among the hundreds of aviation topics that are discussed and handled by EAA’s staff through the year, there is a select group that are of the widest concern and highest impact for EAA members and aviators everywhere. Beginning this month, it’s easier than ever to have an update on EAA’s concise positions on these subjects.

One-page briefing papers are now available on many of the top issues. These easy-to-understand briefings include an outline of the issue, what EAA’s concerns are about it, government and EAA positions, what the best outcome for aviators would be, and what you can do to help.

Among the top issues outlined are:

  • Avgas and its future
  • NextGen
  • General aviation safety and FAA’s Transforming GA five-year strategy
  • Amateur-built and light-sport aircraft (LSA) safety
  • ASTM consensus standards for LSA
  • Airworthiness directive applicability to experimental aircraft
  • Security impacts on GA
  • FAA reauthorization

These and other briefing papers will be regularly updated when new developments occur, giving EAA members a quick, focused look at EAA’s position on a key issue and what your organization is doing about it. Additional briefing sheets are already under development and will be added as needed.

“Not only do these briefing sheets supply an easy-to-find digest of some of today’s top GA topics, but also they provide EAA members and chapters with the things they need to know to help influence the best outcome for all of us who fly,” said David Oord, EAA’s government advocacy specialist. “As diverse as EAA’s membership is, we know that every member may not agree with every detail of a particular position. These briefing papers, though, supply reasoning behind EAA’s position to best represent our fellow members, as well as a starting point for further discussion on these important matters

California Group Files Intent to Sue Over Leaded AvGas

The Oakland, California-based Center for Environmental Health provided notice in early May that it intends to sue 50 fuel retailers and suppliers (including subsidiaries and affiliates) for violating California’s drinking water and toxic enforcement law, based on the suppliers’ distribution of aviation gasoline, which contains a lead additive.

The aviation members of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition, which includes EAA, are exploring all options for supporting the named fuel suppliers.

EAA and other coalition members maintain that individual state actions cannot override federal regulation of national aviation activities; this prevents a confusing patchwork of local and state regulations. Equally important, federal aviation gasoline fuel standards are focused on the safety of flight by ensuring that the engine of an aircraft in flight does not suffer a catastrophic failure.

10 Years of Accidents and Causal Factors

The General Aviation Joint Steering Commitee (GAJSC) and Safety Analysis Team (SAT) continues to focus on data-driven risks and solutions. To begin that process, the fatal GA accident range of 2001—2010 was selected for analysis, resulting in 2,472 total events. Accidents were categorized using the common codes such as loss of control—in-flight (LOC—I), controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), system/component failure—powerplant (SCF—PP), etc. Additionally, the type of aircraft was also categorized, using homebuilt, turbine, and reciprocating non-homebuilt, resulting in the chart seen here.

Loss of control (LOC) was identified far and away as the most prevalent type of fatal GA accident with 1,190 fatal accidents followed by controlled flight into terrain, with 432.

A risk reduction working group has been formed that will study LOC accidents, beginning with those occurring during the approach and landing phase of flight, determine contributing factors, and develop intervention strategies. EAA staff is actively participating in the GAJSC, SAT, and a newly established working group in our continuing efforts to reduce the fatal accident rate.

Denied, Revoked, or Withdrawn

Recently, I was in Washington D.C., meeting with several FAA Headquarters staff members. One of my visits was with Dr. Fred Tilton, the Federal Air Surgeon. Fred shared with me an issue that is often overlooked by pilots when securing a medical. It is the issue of withdrawing from or terminating an FAA medical exam once you have started the application process by signing the FAA medical application form, 8500-8.

The ability to fly using a valid state issued driver’s license has been a major accomplishment of the sport pilot movement championed by EAA. We all have read how the sport pilot driver’s license authority and its related selfevaluation process works and are relatively well versed on what happens to your ability to fly if the FAA revokes or suspends your medical certificate, or if during the medical examination process the FAA finds that you are not medically eligible to be issued a medical certificate. These three actions will also prohibit you from using your driver’s license to fly as a sport pilot.

What most pilots fail to realize is what the effect will be on your ability to fly as a sport pilot if you withdraw your medical certificate application. When you sign the FAA medical certificate application form 8500-8 and begin your medical examination, you must complete the process. It doesn’t matter if you are applying for an initial medical examination, renewing your existing medical certificate, or seeking a FAA Special Issuance of your medical certification. In all cases, once you sign the medical application form and submit it to your flight surgeon you have initiated the medical certificate process, which must be completed to be found “medically eligible” to fly as a sport pilot per FAR 61.303(b).

If you withdraw from the FAA medical certification process prior to its completion the FAA will find that you have “not been found eligible” for medical certification and therefore you cannot use your driver’s license to exercise the privileges of a sport pilot.

Even if you terminate your medical certification exam and head for the door, it’s official, and the process can’t be halted because the FAA now has a record of you and your withdrawn medical. As always, it is best to fully understand the rules and set your course based on that knowledge.

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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