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Czech Aircraft Works Petitions FAA For Mermaid LSA Exemption

At Issue Is Amphib's Retractable Gear

Aero-News has learned Czech Aircraft Works is seeking an exemption from the FAA allowing it to receive a special airworthiness certificate in the light-sport category for its Mermaid aircraft.

Czech Aircraft says the Mermaid needs the exemption because it is an amphibian equipped with landing gear that can be retracted and extended while in flight.

Normally, that's a light-sport no-no -- as current standards allow retractable gear only when the gear can only be extended or retracted while the aircraft is on the ground. In other words, if you're flying an LSA under sport-pilot regs... you land in the same configuration you took off with.

The FAA, in turn, is seeking public comments on Mermaid operations. The agency wants to know whether the Czech plane and others like it can withstand improper use of the landing gear, such as landing on water with the gear inadvertantly extended.

As Aero-News reported last year, the parachute-equipped Mermaid made its first flight last May.

FMI: www.skyshops.org

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