Sport Pilot Rule Takes A Step Off Track

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As the 90-day deadline loomed for the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to sign off on the FAA's Sport Pilot rule, the clock stopped last week when the FAA retracted the rule. "It's not unusual for us to go back and forth like this," the FAA's Sue Gardner told AVweb on Friday. "I'd expect this to take probably a couple of weeks." The OMB wanted answers to some concerns about the FAA's cost-benefit analysis, Gardner said. By retracting the rule and answering those questions, the FAA avoids letting the 90 days run out and then having the OMB reject it, in which case the FAA would have had to resubmit the rule and start over. Gardner said the FAA will post an update at its Web site soon, probably today. EAA described the move as an expeditious tactic that keeps the rule on track for final approval this spring. EAA President Tom Poberezny said FAA's decision was the best way for the agency to address the OMB's questions and secure a final rule as quickly as possible. "This is a temporary timing setback," he said. "EAA continues to champion and support the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule."