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AOPA prepares for MOSAIC comment deadline

The FAA’s comment deadline on the proposed rulemaking for the expansion of light sport aircraft and the privileges for sport pilots will close on January 22. AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association are working collaboratively to express support for specific elements—and to propose necessary revisions.

The JMB Aircraft VL-3 RG, approved in Europe as a two-seat ultralight, is one of several aircraft designs that would fall under the definition of light sport under an FAA rulemaking proposal published in July. Photo by Mike Fizer.

The 300-page rulemaking proposal is the product of years of collaboration between the FAA and industry stakeholders to expand the definition of light sport aircraft and relax operating limitations in the category through the Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certification (MOSAIC). AOPA has been a vocal advocate for these changes for years and has reviewed the proposed regulations extensively in order to voice the most thoughtful support and evidence-based recommendations to the FAA.

Several provisions were included in the rulemaking proposal thanks to AOPA’s advocacy efforts—which expand the privileges of sport pilots. If adopted, MOSAIC would allow sport pilots in light sport aircraft to perform aerial work, such as product demonstrations. Sport pilots would also be granted the opportunity to receive endorsements to fly at night while operating more capable aircraft.

One proposed change that AOPA supports would increase the allowable number of seats in fixed-wing light sport airplanes from two seats to four seats. This would expand light sport aircraft utilization for recreation, personal transportation, and flight training.

Other significant and welcome changes include the increase of aircraft stall speed (clean) to 54 knots; the increase of maximum airspeed to 250 knots (calibrated); the elimination of the aircraft weight limit, which is currently 1,320 pounds; and the authorization of retractable landing gear and controllable-pitch propellers.

While AOPA applauds the efforts of the FAA to bring significantly expanded and long-awaited privileges to sport pilots and light sport aircraft operations, there are still a few areas where the proposed rulemaking could be amended and expanded. AOPA hopes to see the 54-knot clean stall speed increased even further and noise certification application proposals reevaluated. Additionally, AOPA recommends that the number of four-seat aircraft proposed for sport pilot operation be expanded. This would cover and protect the existing fleet and allow commonly used training aircraft to be covered under the revised limitations.

The formal effort to begin shifting the light sport category through MOSAIC began in July when the FAA released the long-awaited rulemaking proposal. In October, a revised rulemaking was published, extending the deadline of the comment period at the request of industry stakeholders that needed more time to make recommendations on the most significant overhaul to aircraft certification rules in decades.

For many, the light sport conversation is long overdue—the last major changes to aircraft certification rules were implemented in 2004. AOPA will continue to work alongside stakeholders and provide guidance to the FAA so that these long-awaited changes protect and expand privileges for our members and sport pilots.

“MOSAIC represents years of work, and we appreciate the FAA moving it forward. AOPA will continue to advocate for its enactment and work toward ensuring its full potential,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “We want to make sure this gets done as it will be a big win for GA and for pilots.”

Anyone who wishes to submit comments on MOSAIC must do so by January 22.

Lillian Geil

Communications Specialist
Communications Specialist Lillian Geil is a student pilot and a graduate of Columbia University who joined AOPA in 2021.
Topics: Advocacy, Aircraft Regulation, Pilot Regulation

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