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Wed, Apr 01, 2009

FAA Ups Weight Restriction On LSA

'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.

FMI: www.faalsayeahright.gov

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