Keeping Warbirds Flying

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EAA and its Warbirds of America division are working with the FAA to ensure the regulatory environment allows historic aircraft to keep flying long into the future. The FAA has come up with what it calls its Road Map to keep warbirds and other vintage aircraft in the air. During EAA AirVenture, EAA officials met with the FAA to discuss the document and make recommendations. "During the weeks immediately following EAA AirVenture 2006, EAA's Industry and Regulatory Affairs Department and the Warbirds of America's Advocacy Committee thoroughly reviewed the draft and made numerous recommendations to enhance the document," EAA said in a news release. Earl Lawrence, EAAs regulatory expert, told AVweb much of the focus is not on the aircraft themselves but on the people needed to fly and fix them.

As the aircraft themselves become rarer, along with the pilots and technicians who keep them flying, a special set of rules needs to be developed to ensure that new personnel can be trained to fill those roles. Lawrence says that may mean modifying rules on type ratings to allow people with experience in similar types of aircraft to be allowed to fly them. He said its not often practical to get checked out on certain aircraft but the pool of people who have parallel experience can apply their knowledge. "EAA and the Warbirds of America seek to make the final FAA Road Map document an effective preservation blueprint for the aviation community," Lawrence said.