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Lawrence to Discuss Amateur-Built Rules at Golden West Fly-In

June 5, 2008 — Amateur-Built aircraft rules will be in the news at this weekend’s Golden West Regional Fly-In at Marysville, California. Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of industry and regulatory affairs, hosts a forum to discuss possible changes in the FAA’s administration and enforcement of Amateur-Built rules and the “51% Rule” — the FAA requirement that amateur builders compete “the major portion” of an amateur-built aircraft. He’ll speak at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 7.

In 2007, the FAA announced its intention to tighten up its treatment of the 51% Rule. FAA officials are concerned that some practices, including some commercial assistance and some quick-build kits, might be stretching the limits of the 51% Rule. The agency has expressed particular concern that some high-performance, pressurized, and composite kits cannot be built without substantial commercial assistance.

The FAA has repeatedly stated its commitment to preserve the Amateur-Built Category. Last fall, EAA represented amateur builders and the amateur-built industry on an advisory committee on the 51% Rule and continues to advocate for the amateur-builder community. At April's Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, the agency announced that it has adopted one of EAA’s key recommendations—that any kit already evaluated and approved under the Amateur-Built rules will be “grandfathered” under any new FAA policy.

The FAA’s proposed new policy is expected be issued prior to AirVenture 2008, where EAA will lead a number of public forums on the issue. Members of the EAA Homebuilt Aircraft Council (HAC) and FAA officials will also participate in those forums.

There will be a public comment period before the new policy is finalized and EAA will provide a detailed analysis of the proposal, at AirVenture and through its website and publications. EAA members are encouraged to comment on the proposed policies when they are made available.

For the complete story, so far, on possible changes ahead for amateur builders, visit EAA’s Government Advocacy website, www.eaa.org/govt/.

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