FAA sources tell AOPA that the long-anticipated Sport Pilot—Light Sport Aircraft proposed rule will "hit the streets" next week (barring any last-minute glitches). The FAA will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to allow the public to comment on the rule. The proposal would regulate aircraft that are too large to be ultralights, but too small to economically meet current FAA certification standards. It also proposes a sport pilot certificate that could be obtained with about 20 hours of training and that would allow pilots to operate these aircraft with either a third class medical certificate or a valid driver's license.
"AOPA congratulates the Experimental Aircraft Association on their efforts in working with FAA and the industry to obtain the release of this proposal," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "AOPA applauds any initiative that serves to lower the cost of learning to fly and continues the enjoyment of flight activity. The association will carefully evaluate each provision of the proposed rule once it becomes public and will offer comments to ensure that safety is not compromised while maintaining a reasoned approach to sport aircraft and pilot certification."
AOPA will post the rule on its Web site as soon as it becomes public and will provide a message area so that members can send their comments on the proposal directly to the FAA.