Ultralight Pilots Seek More Time For LSA Transition

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The U.S. Ultralight Association (USUA) on Tuesday asked the FAA to give ultralight pilots and instructors two extra years to transition to the Sport Pilot rules and for ultralight aircraft to transition into Light Sport Aircraft. The USUA also asked that the training exemptions that allow the use of two-seat ultralights for training purposes also be extended for two years. "This additional time is necessary to allow the industry sufficient time to develop to the point where it can take advantage of the benefits of the Sport Pilot rule," according to the petition. The changes would move the deadlines back to Jan. 31, 2009, for transitioning pilots, and would allow the use of two-seat ultralights for training until Jan. 31, 2012. The USUA said that it believes that the success of Sport Pilot is "paramount" and essential to the future of sport aviation. However, the USUA is concerned that "the infrastructure needed for a smooth transition is coming into place very slowly." There is a shortage of instructors and examiners, a shortage of manufacturers who are meeting SLSA standards, and a shortage of qualified LSA mechanics, repairmen, and designated airworthiness representatives. The USUA said it believes that by changing the timeframe in which certain key elements of the ultralight-to-Sport Pilot transition occur, more participation can be achieved with less effort, and it can benefit all segments of the industry.