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EAA Community's Voice Preserves Key Elements of Amateur-Building Privileges


August 29, 2008 — The FAA on July 15 published in the Federal Register its Official Notice of revised policies for interpretation and enforcement of the amateur-built aircraft regulations. The published terms confirmed two key victories for the many members of the EAA community who have expressed concerns to the FAA:

  • The FAA’s proposed policy statement preserves the amateur builder’s privilege to design, build, and fly an aircraft of any airworthy design, without limitations on the aircraft's complexity, power, size, performance, or other specifications.
  • The proposed terms also provide for “grandfathering” — that is, the new interpretation and enforcement policy will not disqualify any aircraft kit that the FAA had already placed on its published list of approved amateur-built kit designs.

These protections are good news to the EAAers who’ve rallied to preserve an activity that provides enormous recreational and educational benefits, and that advances the development of all aviation. However, the EAA community is concerned that, in an attempt to apply more stringent oversight of amateur-built certification, the FAA is proposing a convoluted formula to measure not only the amateur’s overall contribution to construction, but also the proportion of tasks to be completed within two broad categories.

Homebuilding continues its legacy of innovation and progress for all of aviation

The Amateur-Built category and the 51% rule were created more than 55 years ago. In 1953, EAA Founder Paul Poberezny organized a small group of aviation enthusiasts to seize this new regulatory opportunity to build and fly their own aircraft. This small cadre of amateur aircraft builders worked from a few published plans or created designs of their own. No one then envisioned the scope of the amateur built industry in the 21st century.

Today the amateur-built marketplace offers a dizzying array of pre-built assemblies, aircraft kits, “quick-build” kits, and builder assistance services from manufacturers. An entire industry of suppliers, designers, manufacturers, and service providers has grown up around the amateur-building movement and the FAA’s precedent interpretation and enforcement of amateur-built certification.

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