FAA Paperwork Glitch Could Trip Up Warbird Pilots

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A bottleneck in processing paperwork at the FAA could affect pilots who fly warbirds and some turbine-powered experimental aircraft. Pilots are required to carry papers from the FAA to show they're qualified to fly and instruct in the airplanes, which have no standard type ratings. A program due to expire July 31 allows pilots to exchange those papers, called Letters of Authorization (LOA) and Letters of Operational Authority (LOOA), for new airman certificates that list Authorized Experimental Aircraft Ratings just like any other rating. But the FAA has gotten behind on the processing, so not all pilots who have applied will have their new certificates by the deadline. The FAA says it won't extend the deadline, but will add a 90-day grace period when it's OK for the pilots to fly as long as they have applied. Pilots must document that they met the deadline (with a receipt from the post office or FedEx, for example) prior to July 31, and they may continue to operate for up to 90 days beyond the deadline while their applications are processed and new airman certificates are mailed, EAA said last week. Pilots who sent application packages but do not have legal evidence that shipment was made are being asked to resubmit their materials on or before the July 31 application deadline and retain proof of mailing. This will allow individuals to continue to operate for an additional 90 days. However, all pilots should note that this is not an extension of the application deadline; all applications must be postmarked or shipped on or before July 31, 2004, or the existing LOA and/or LOOA will be null and void. For more information, go to EAA's Web site.