Light-Sport/Sport Pilot Passes DOT

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Closer To Reality...

The Light-Sport/Sport Pilot classifications could be a reality early in the coming year after Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta signed off on the rulemaking package Tuesday and forwarded it to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for a final review. The new classifications will allow reduced training and medical standards for people who want to fly relatively low-performance light aircraft purely for recreation. "There's a whole industry out there waiting for this," said EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski. "We hope they use all due speed to move this along to make it a reality," he said. "The sport pilot proposal offers a dramatic opportunity for people who've always wanted to fly but found the process too expensive, too time-consuming or too complicated," said Knapinski. Knapinski said the OMB has 90 days to do its final assessment of the rule. The OMB's role is to make sure the rule doesn't result in spending that isn't already taken into consideration by the DOT's and FAA's budget. He said that since the FAA has already set up its Light-Sport Aircraft and Sport Pilot department, it's clear the paperwork is in place for the new rule. He said the OMB, along with everyone else, had its chance to pick holes in the proposed rule during the comment period and he doesn't believe any major concerns exist.