EAA Responds That Newspaper Report Is "Misleading"
In the wake of the crash of a Tecnam P2002 that killed a Texas
high school student and his instructor, one aviation lawyer has
called the safety of the entire category into question.
Tecnam P2002 File Photo Courtesy
Aviation attorney John Kettles, who is also a pilot, told The
Dallas Morning News that LSA's "are not nearly as safe" as, say, a
Cessna 150 or Cherokee 140 as a training airplane. "You’ve
got a lower requirement for the airplane and a lower requirement
for the design and testing," he told the paper.
Kettles cites the self certification process that allows
manufacturers to certify the airworthiness of the airplanes without
the same level of documentation.
Alejandro House, the executive director of the aviation program
in which Dunbar High School participates, says the Tecnam was
selected following an extensive research period based in part on
its safety record. He said the Tecnam is one of the most stable
training platforms in the category. "We did our analysis because
safety is the most important priority for our students," he
In a response to the DMN article,
EAA Vice President, Industry and Regulatory Affairs Earl Lawerence
said the story gave a "misleading and incomplete glimpse" of the
light sport segment of the industry. He points out that the FAA
approved all standards for the Light Sport category, and those
standards are reviewed every two years by the agency. To
self-certification, Lawerence says that "These standards were
created under the auspices of ASTM International, which maintains
standards on everything from heart pacemakers to crayons, and
included FAA input throughout the process. These standards have
also been adopted by many other developed nations, including
Australia, New Zealand, Israel and China, and mirror European
standards in place for many years. In addition, many of these same
light-sport aircraft have served as primary training airplanes in
European nations for more than 20 years."
The FAA and NTSB are still investigating the cause of the
accident, and Lawerence points out (correctly, ed.) that it is far
too early in the process to place the blame on the aircraft or the
pilots. The exact cause of the accident may not be known for some
time. "It is a disservice to all involved to affix suspicion
primarily on the aircraft prior to the completion of any
investigation," he says.