Guidelines Aim To Keep Old Planes Flying, But Would Ban
EAA and the Vintage Aircraft Association presented a proposal to
create a new vintage aircraft certification category during this
week's FAA/Industry Aging Aircraft Summit at Overland Park, KS.
Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of industry and regulatory
affairs, presented the plan Wednesday. The proposal calls for the
creation of an aircraft certification category that would give
vintage aircraft owners and their mechanics the ability to maintain
those planes using acceptable data or safety-based form, fit, and
function criteria, as opposed to adhering to an aircraft's original
type-certificate data -- which the EAA says may be outdated, or
Also attending the two-day summit is H.G. Frautschy, executive
director of the Vintage Airplane Association.
Aging aircraft issues affect aircraft of all vintages -- from
the first aircraft ever produced, to aircraft produced in the 1970s
and 1980s. Of particular concern are the effects of fatigue and
corrosion on aircraft -- especially in light of several
high-profile airframe failures over the past several years.
As primary presenters at the conference, EAA and VAA's proposal
addresses the concerns of the FAA while protecting the interests of
individual aircraft owners.
EAA member Jay Underdown of Tailwheel Limited spoke Wednesday as
a non-mechanic concerned about potential regulations increasing the
cost of maintaining his 1940 Porterfield LP-65. "From a practical
standpoint, we really do want to keep our old antiques flying," he
said, while also expressing an interest in EAA's proposal to create
a new certification category.
Here are some of the guidelines the EAA proposed for the new
category (emphasis added by ANN):
- Aircraft would
not be limited in size or
- This is not a new Experimental
category; Part 43 airworthiness regulations would still
- The installation of parts and items that are not PMA or
TSO compliant would be allowed.
- Transfer to the new category would mean the loss of any
privileges to carry persons or property for hire.
- Transfer to the new category would be a one-way
process; the aircraft would not be eligible for
type re-certification via a conformity inspection or any
other means. Because of this, it would be essential that the
decision to change the certification category be made carefully by
- Transfer to this new category would
not be mandatory. The owner would have the
opportunity either to continue to operate under the current
regulations governing type certificated products, or to
“op-out” and choose to have the
aircraft maintained within the regulations of the new category.
Subsequent owners of the aircraft transferred into the new category
would be required to maintain the airplane in that vintage aircraft
FAA presenters included Kim Smith, manager of the Small Aircraft
Directorate, and Marv Nuss, continued operational safety program
manager, who presented an overview of structural issues that
mechanics must deal with on a daily basis. Also appearing were
representatives of type clubs and other industry groups who have
concerns related to parts and data availability.
In Wednesday's closing comments, Smith noted many of the
presenters were suggesting proactive solutions.
"I knew before how important type clubs were," she said. "I
think today we may see them as one of the pivotal points in the
solution to this. I don't think anybody knows these airplanes as
they age better than the people who are flying them." Smith also
expressed appreciation for the contributions manufacturers make to
the continued airworthiness of the aircraft they produced.
Thursday's sessions feature breakout sessions where individuals
will be polled to determine the key issues facing the aging
aircraft fleet. An FAA presentation on orphaned aircraft type
certificates is also scheduled.
Aero-News will be bringing you more from this conference, both
in print form as well as during Friday's Aero-Cast audio