July 21, 2008
AOPA ePublishing staff
The FAA is scrutinizing “fast build” homebuilt aircraft programs and with that may come policy changes that affect future kit designs.
The FAA has released several draft documents to clarify the regulation of the homebuilt aircraft segment. The biggest potential change is to the definition of the so-called 51-percent rule. The FAA’s original intention was that the individual would fabricate more than 50 percent and assemble more than 50 percent of the aircraft.
The FAA became concerned when fast-build kits entered the market where an aircraft owner’s contribution resulted in 51 percent of the assembly only. The agency felt that this did not meet the intent of building “solely for their own education or recreation.”
The FAA now defines 51 percent as the builder completing, at a minimum, 20 percent of the assembly and 20 percent of the fabrication with the remaining 11 percent made up from either additional assembly or fabrication. The FAA now states that the commercial assistance or “for hire” building programs will not count toward 20 percent of the assembly by the individual.
The policy changes would not affect those flying traditionally certified aircraft or already completed amateur-built aircraft. Existing kit designs essentially would be grandfathered, while new models, after the rules go into effect, would get the extra scrutiny.
Continuing significant orders to the training market shows that Piper Aircraft is making progress in its three-year plan to gain market share in that competitive arena.
L-3 Aviation Products plans to join the general aviation ADS-B world with its Lynx MultiLink Surveillance System. The new products will be “specifically tailored to fit the panel and budget of today’s general aviation aircraft and pilots,” said Larry Riddle, vice president of sales and marketing.
It was a big day for the newly resurrected Mooney International Corp. Mooney president Jerry Chen handed over the keys to the first airplane to roll out of the Kerrville, Texas, manufacturer’s newly reactivated factory site.
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