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Lawrence, Homebuilt Council Appear at SRO Arlington Forum

Arlington Forum
Appearing in Arlington were EAA Homebuilt Aircraft Council members Jack Dueck and Wally Anderson, EAA's Earl Lawrence, and HAC Chairman Doug Kelly. Photo by Ron Wanttaja

July 14, 2008 — EAA’s Earl Lawrence, vice president of industry and regulatory affairs, was joined by several members of the EAA Homebuilt Aircraft Council at a special forum to discuss EAA’s positions and actions regarding FAA’s 51% Rule at last week’s Arlington Fly-In in Washington. HAC members present were Chairman Doug Kelly, Jack Dueck, and Wally Anderson before the standing-room only crowd. The session was originally scheduled for an hour but stretched into two, with a lengthy Q&A period following EAA’s presentation.

EAA expects the FAA’s proposed new policy for administering and enforcing the 51% rule to be published prior to AirVenture Oshkosh. That’s the requirement that amateur builders complete “the major portion” of an amateur-built aircraft.

Lawrence restated EAA’s goals regarding FAA’s amateur-built rules. “EAA stands firmly in support of amateur builders and the amateur-built rules,” Lawrence said. “Protecting the current rights to build fast-build aircraft kits currently on the FAA’s 51% approved list was achieved when FAA agreed to grandfather all previously evaluated kits. We also aim to protect the amateur's privilege to build an aircraft of any complexity, power or size.

“We do not want to lose any of the privileges we have earned over the last 50 years.”

EAA also supports FAA’s desire to have consistent, uniform kit evaluation procedure so that all kits are measured on the same scale. The Arlington audience was fairly representative of the homebuilt community, including past, current and future builders, a few kit manufacturers and other interested parties.

“Generally it went quite well,” Kelly said. “It was a good, detailed anticipatory discussion about what we think is going to occur when the (FAA) policy is released soon. The audience certainly appeared to well-versed on this subject, judging from the kinds of questions we received.”

All agreed that many lively discussions lay ahead at Oshkosh this year in the wake of FAA’s policy release.

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