Wed, Sep 14, 2011
Ads Which Look Too Much Like Air Tours May Trigger
The FAA appears to cracking down on the use of light sport
aircraft for what it calls commercial air tours, and what some
operators creatively call "introductory flight lessons."
The Associated Press reports a stricter surveillance plan was
announced Friday in the wake of several recent accidents. FAA
Western-Pacific Flight Standards Manager Nick Reye told the
Honolulu Star-Advertiser that some trike operators, quote - "...are
trying to get around the air tour provision by offering scenic
flights under the guise of introductory flying instruction."
Reyes promises more ramp checks and what were termed
"interviews" with pilots to back up a recent meeting with
weight-shift control operators to encourage more voluntary
compliance. Operators have been warned that ads which appear to
offer air tours will trigger enforcement action ranging from
warnings to revocation of certificates, and that includes ads on
Five businesses in the state appear to be targeted. There have
been five crashes of trikes in Hawaii in the last 18 months, two of
them fatals involving passengers on what the FAA charges were
commercial tour flights. Investigations are ongoing.
Since experimentals and S-LSAs cannot legally be used to carry
persons or property for compensation or hire in the US, there's no
legal way to simply sell someone a ride. But a flight instructor
can use an S-LSA, or an experimental with a Letter of Deviation
Authority, to provide dual training for pay. So, if you think
you're interested in flying a weight-shift aircraft or gyroplane,
and don't have a friend who will take you up free, the only way to
get that first flight is to buy an hour of actual instruction.
That's understood by visitors to fly-ins catering to
enthusiasts, but many tourists in Hawaii have no such long-term
interest in the sport. They just want to go sight-seeing in
something more bird-like than an AStar helicopter or an AirVan.
Weight-shift flight schools will have to be more careful in their
advertising presentations, but the nodding and winking are likely
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