Photo by Brett Brock
CFI/AGI Scott Johnson demonstrates the emergency parachute
deployment handle of the Flight Design LSA at EAA AirVenture 2009.
July 29, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin - EAA,
FAA, and light-sport industry representatives met Monday afternoon to hear
a progress report on the Light- Sport Aircraft Assessment, an ongoing
effort to assess the health of the industry in the United States. The
program’s focus is on identifying regulatory compliance issues in the
LSA industry and recommending improvements.
There were 52 LSA manufacturing facilities in
the United States at the time the assessments began. The FAA assessment
team visited 30 of them, collecting data on manufacturers’ compliance
with regulations and standards.
“This was not an individual manufacturer
assessment program,” said Brian Cable, of FAA’s Aircraft Certification
Service and assessment team leader. The results of the assessment project
will be reported on a global basis, presenting an overall snapshot that
identifies global trends and issues in the LSA industry. Industry visits
and evaluations were completed earlier this year and the project team is
currently analyzing the data and preparing its report, with a draft to be
completed in two or three months, said Cable.
All of the manufacturers were very
cooperative, Cable noted. Several of them used the assessment as a
learning experience and to gain a better understanding of the FAA
requirements and how to comply with them.
Numerous issues were identified, leading to
recommendations for improvement. Those recommendations will be presented
in the final assessment report.
“The issues identified here are not all on
the industry side,” said FAA’s Frank Paskiewicz, manager of the
production and airworthiness division. “Although the LSA industry has a
lot of work to do, there are things [FAA] will need to do—such as
publish new orders and advisory circulars.”
Overall, he added, “I have full confidence
that this industry will be as strong and as robust as any other in a short
period of time.”