AOPA is warning that proposed changes to FAA airworthiness standards could make it virtually impossible to update or restore many older GA aircraft.
In comments filed this week in response to an FAA notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the Standard Certification of New Aircraft, AOPA points out that the proposed rule does not allow the remanufacture or alteration of older aircraft whose type certificate or supplemental type certificate is no longer supported by a manufacturer. Such aircraft are commonly referred to as "orphans."
"As the GA fleet ages, more and more of our aircraft are becoming dependent on alterations and restorations to keep them flying," said Luis Gutierrez, AOPA director of regulatory and certification policy. "This proposal would make such changes impossible for orphaned aircraft. So when original parts are no longer available, many classic airplanes will be grounded, even though they could be flown for years to come with appropriate modifications."
The proposed rule also would stop the restoration of many antique and military aircraft that are rebuilt from spare or surplus parts after having been declared destroyed or demolished. And it could make the purchase and maintenance of imported aircraft more expensive by requiring manufacturers who hold a type certificate to hold a production certificate as well.
AOPA is asking the FAA to retain the methods that have allowed the owners of orphaned aircraft to keep their airplanes flying safely in the past and to protect the restoration of aircraft that have been classified as demolished or destroyed. The association also is urging the FAA to allow imported aircraft kits and major assemblies to be put together without requiring a production certificate.
April 13, 2005