Wed, Apr 01, 2009
'Old Pilots Are Usually Fat, Too'
ANN APRIL 1st "SPECIAL"
EDITION: The Federal Aviation Administration announced
Wednesday a major shift in policy in regards to the nearly
five-year-old Sport Pilot category, affecting light sport aircraft.
The agency will soon issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, stating
the maximum gross weight restriction for aircraft certificated as
LSA will be raised to 1,800 lbs.
"Let's face it... older pilots are the primary beneficiaries of
the Sport Pilot rating at this point, and old pilots are usually
fat, too," said Acting Administrator Lynne Osmus.
"In addition to that reality, a number of European-sourced sport
aircraft are certified in their home markets for gross weights of
up to 1,700 lbs; for them, the US 1,320 lb. restriction for
land-based aircraft is only a line on a piece of paper. Why should
we subtract usefulness in the name of bureaucracy?"
Of course, in addition to raising the allowable useful loads for
a number of existing light sport aircraft, the eased weight
restriction should also theoretically make available a number of
older aircraft designs in the LSA category; namely, the Cessna 140
and 152 lines.
"We realize how unpopular the agency's original decision in
regards to LSA weight was with some," Osmus said. "It's taken a
long time, but the FAA is starting to come around."
FAA Administrator-Designate Randy Babbitt is also said to be in
favor of the plan.
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