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LAMA Reports Excellent Progress on Initiatives with FAA Achieving “Core-Four-Plus-One”

In June 2018, a series of many meetings beginning in 2014 came to an early but very promising juncture. Follow-up communication since that meeting confirmed excellent progress between LAMA, USUA (LAMA’s partner in this effort), and FAA.

In this news release, LAMA wishes to describe work the association has been pursuing for the last four and a half years. After polling industry and meeting with advisers, LAMA and USUA objectives were tightly focused on four core goals:

  1. Encouraging FAA to allow special Light-Sport Aircraft to perform aerial work (beyond flight instruction and towing)
  2. Introducing the safety benefits (and performance gains) that come with adjustable propellers controlled solely by a single lever
  3. Urging FAA to permit electric propulsion and instruction in aircraft designed for such motors
  4. Solving the longstanding problem that requires modern gyroplanes to be built only as kits (with the attendant problem that no commercial training is possible).

After a series of June 2018 meetings with several high-level FAA executives and project managers, LAMA is pleased to report that all these objectives and one more — increasing the gross weight of LSA — are included in FAA’s present actions regarding eventual rule making. Note that gross weight will probably be determined by a new system other than a fixed-weight number as FAA finalizes their regulation plans over the next years.

“Eventual” is a key word, however…

Work Far from Done

In 2018, industry manufacturers and LSA operators cannot take advantage of these new opportunities. While the future appears to hold great promise, LAMA and USUA have sought a faster solution.

Rulemaking is expected to consume at least three to five years before approval and implementation.

“LAMA has always assumed that even if rule making followed, it was worthwhile to pursue alternatives,” said Dan Johnson, president and chairman of the board of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association. “A 14-year-old industry does not want to wait five years or more for even the best-sounding regulations to be fully implemented.”

To address the interim period and following a specific request of the agency’s top executive management, LAMA and USUA partnered to submit a comprehensive business case for a program that the associations hope will much sooner allow manufacturers, dealers, owners, operators, and pilots to exercise the core-four-plus-one privileges.

“The program we proposed is an evaluation and data-gathering period which will give FAA precisely what managers and executives say they need to make regulation change,” said Roy Beisswenger, president of the U.S. Ultralight Association. “Our program can help industry and pilots but it will also help FAA.”

Allowing industry to exercise new privileges under controlled circumstances can give manufacturers and LSA operators fresh business opportunities in the near term while generating valuable data for FAA to use in justifying regulation change.

Not a Solo Flight

“We are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish on the smallest of budgets but we did not fly solo,” noted Johnson.

“We have also sought, and received, support for our initiatives from big organizations such as EAA, AOPA, and GAMA. We will continue to keep them informed of and involved in our activities,” Johnson explained.

“Assuming FAA pursues these plans as they indicated, industry businesses may have new opportunities in the near and medium term,” said Beisswenger. “This early success at reaching our goal drives us ever harder.”