LIGHT-SPORT AIRCRAFT SETS CLOSER TO REALITY
The FAA's Light-Sport Aviation Branch (LSAB) announced on January 17
that the standards for establishing sets of light-sport aircraft (LSA) have been
finalized and are now available for review. LSAB manager Marty Weaver stated
that Larry Burke, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA),
will serve as the point person for coordinating recommendations back to the LSAB
as to which aircraft belong in which LSA set.
Many commenters to the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft (SP/LSA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in 2003 noted that the FAA's intention to require sport pilots and instructors to have a make/model sign-off for every light-sport aircraft (LSA) they flew was overly burdensome.
In response to those comments, and at EAA's suggestion, the FAA changed the final SP/LSA rule to create sets of LSAs, writing in the Preamble, "After reviewing the comments and gaining a better understanding of the technical similarities between certain makes and models of light-sport aircraft, the FAA agrees that the proposed rule could have been administratively and economically burdensome....The FAA now recognizes that grouping makes and models of light-sport aircraft that have very similar performance and operating characteristics as sets of aircraft would be an effective means to permit sport pilots to operate any aircraft within that set once an endorsement for that set has been received."
As a result the FAA created a working group of FAA and industry representatives to develop the standards for defining and establishing those sets.
Even though the FAA did not accept the less complex method for establishing sets that EAA had recommended for airplanes, Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of government and industry affairs, welcomed the establishment of the LSA sets. "We are generally pleased with the balanced approach the FAA chose based on the many divergent and much more restrictive recommendations they received. The establishment of these sets helps to move the implementation process forward greatly, and EAA welcomes that action," he said.