August 2, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Earlier this week, leaders from EAA Warbirds
of America and other warbird groups met with officials from several FAA
branches to help shape the regulations that govern warbird operations. EAA
Warbirds Executive Director Bill Fischer said discussions here between the
FAA and the warbird community covered a number of issues. Two of the most
notable were a review of operating limitations for experimental/exhibition
category aircraft (which includes many warbirds) and the creation of a
standardized schedule and specifications for aircraft inspection programs
for some warbird types.
Groups within the warbirds community are
collaborating with the FAA to rewrite the operating limits on warbirds.
Fischer said the group’s goal is to make the limits less restrictive
without compromising flight safety. They want limitations to be based on
known concerns or deficiencies in the warbird industry or in specific
aircraft, not on speculative “what-ifs.” The warbird community also
aims to make the regulations clearer and more concise.
The inspection program, said Fischer, needs to
be standardized and clarified, so owners, mechanics, and inspectors know
consistently what is required and to comply.
EAA Warbirds of America, the Classic Jet
Aircraft Association, the Commemorative Air Force, and other members of
the warbird community have worked closely with FAA’s Aircraft
Certification, Flight Standards, and Aircraft Maintenance Branches and
Small Airplane Directorate. It’s been a slow process, said Fischer, but
a productive one. The FAA is expected to issue the new operating
limitations and inspection standards for public comment sometime this
At the close of the congressional forum on Saturday noon, Congressman
Tom Petri, (R-WI), made a comment worth thinking about. Petri is the
ranking member of the House of Representatives Aviation Subcommittee and a
long-time strong supporter of general aviation (GA). He praised EAA
AirVenture Oshkosh as “a jewel of the United States.” And then he
said, “It is a celebration of aviation. It is a celebration of freedom.
And it is a celebration of responsibility.”
Responsibility. . . A pilot-in-command assumes
responsibility for the safety of his or her aircraft, passengers, and all
other aspects of the flight—to maintain situational awareness and to
respond quickly and appropriately to any problem or emergency.
GA is under threat as never before. It is an
economic threat. It is a regulatory threat. It is the threat of an aging
pilot population outnumbering pilot starts.
We must stand together. And each and every one
of us must Stand Up for GA.
Everyone can do something. Fly a Young Eagle.
Support an EAA or chapter event. Write to your senator, congressman, or
newspaper editor, take a politician or local official for an airplane
ride. Visit the EAA Welcome Center at Air- Venture or go to www.EAA.org
to learn more ways that you can get involved. As Congressman Sam Graves
said on Saturday, “All GA has to stick together, or we’re going to
If you care about general aviation, you have a
responsibility to Stand Up for GA.