EAA Says Progress Made On Light-Sport Aircraft Maintenance
The EAA says brought together light-sport aircraft industry
leaders and the Federal Aviation Administration officials this week
at the EAA Aviation Center in Oshkosh, hoping to make progress on
The gathering on Wednesday and Thursday, which built on the
productive talks held last month during EAA AirVenture 2005,
focused on the repairman/maintenance and inspection ratings for
light-sport aircraft (LSA), according to EAA officials. Among the
FAA representatives at Oshkosh for two days of discussions were
officials from FAA headquarters in Washington, DC, and the FAA
Sport Pilot Office in Oklahoma City. Progress was made in several
areas that would help complete the basic sport pilot/light-sport
"During this meeting, EAA and
industry officials emphasized to FAA the vital importance of
effective and practical regulations for light-sport aircraft
maintenance," said Earl Lawrence, EAA's vice president of industry
and regulatory affairs. "Using safety and practicality as our
cooperative goals, we made great progress to revise the previous
policy that was first unveiled earlier this year. The repairman and
maintenance courses are among the final pieces remaining to
complete the basic infrastructure for success."
Among the progress reported at the meeting was agreement to
utilize ultralight industry experts as instructors for
repairman/maintenance courses, which would allow better-qualified
instructors for traditional ultralight areas such as powered
parachutes and aircraft with two-stroke engines. In addition,
agreement came on approval for larger class sizes (up to 25
students) as long as a maintenance school meets Part 147 facility
requirements. That advancement would allow maintenance courses to
be more economically feasible.
Since the sport pilot rule became effective last September, no
LSA repairman/maintenance courses have been forwarded to FAA for
approval. There is interest for such courses from a sizable number
of maintenance schools, but FAA's restrictive course requirements
have kept them from submitting materials for approval.
Currently, light-sport aircraft can
be maintained and inspected by an FAA-certificated
airframe-and-powerplant (A&P) mechanic or authorized repair
station. However, the rule also provides for individuals to earn a
light-sport repairman/maintenance (LS-M) rating to do the
maintenance and annual condition inspection for any light-sport
aircraft, as well as other condition inspections.
"This is an infrastructure need that requires a resolution,"
Lawrence said. "EAA and the light-sport aircraft industry has been
working with FAA on a new policy for these courses for many months.
FAA has been quite willing to explore solutions with EAA and
industry to meet the needs of the expanding light-sport aircraft
Lawrence expects a revised procedure to be available from FAA by
the end of the year.