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EAA: FAA’s Proposal Would Adversely Affect Homebuilt Movement

Campaign to voice opposition continues

September 4, 2008"Having expressed concerns about compliance with amateur aircraft-building requirements for more than two years, the FAA has proposed a new policy that would overcomplicate participation in amateur aircraft building without solving the fundamental compliance concerns."

This conclusion of an EAA analysis document underscores the EAA community's call to action: Tell the FAA to enforce the existing amateur-built aircraft rules and to abandon its proposal that would impose new and complicated requirements for documenting and reporting an amateur aircraft builder's work.

"If adopted, the FAA's proposal would have a dampening effect on participation in amateur-building activities. That, in turn, would adversely affect kit manufacturers and suppliers of engines, parts, equipment, and accessories. A considerable segment of general aviation could experience a downturn," said Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of industry and regulatory affairs.

Lawrence urges EAA members to voice their concerns to the FAA. Accordingly, EAA is providing guidance for members who'd like to write-in before the Sept. 30 comment-period expiration. A more in-depth analysis of the FAA's proposals and EAA's responses is also available.

The FAA's statements of concern have focused on some commercial practices related to kit design and commercial builder assistance that leave too few construction tasks to the amateur builder. A cornerstone of the FAA's proposed remedy would entail requiring amateur builders to ensure, and prove, that they performed at least 20 percent of the total construction tasks doing "fabrication" work, at least another 20 percent of total construction tasks doing "assembly" work, and at least another 11 percent of total construction tasks doing any combination of these kinds of work, adding up to a minimum 51 percent of total construction performed by the amateur builder.

"This would greatly complicate an amateur builder's compliance with the regulation, which simply states that the amateur or group of amateurs must perform a majority of the total tasks involved in constructing the aircraft," Lawrence said. "This proposed change would place a significant burden on our members who are building aircraft within the letter and spirit of the regulations while doing little to address the limited cases of excessive commercial assistance," he said.

Lawrence served as co-chair of an FAA-chartered aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) that studied amateur-building issues and rendered recommendations from August 2005 through November 2006. Today the FAA announced plans to reassemble the ARC beginning in October to provide additional input.

"Our involvement on the committee, combined with comments from our members, might help to steer the outcome in a better direction," Lawrence said. "We're counting on our members - and anyone who cares about the future of general aviation, for that matter - to raise a voice of concern," he added.

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