...Companies Anxious But Not Worried
A quick survey of companies directly affected by the rule at Sun 'n Fun revealed reaction ranging from resigned acceptance to mild irritation. Zenith Aircraft Company spokesman Nicholas Heintz said the delay hasn't really caused much direct financial hardship but has stalled the potential upsurge in business the industry is hoping for when it becomes law. "We haven't really lost any customers because of the delay," he said. "It hasn't completely dampened our sales." The major pent-up demand will come from pilots who can't qualify for a regular medical but will be able to fly under the relaxed Sport Pilot rules. But until they know exactly what those rules are and they're etched in stone, they're kicking the tires and keeping their wallets closed. RANS Aircraft owner Randy Schlitter said he's confident the rule will be passed and the best anyone can do is be as ready as possible for it when it does. He said he believes the FAA will try to announce the rule at EAA AirVenture in late July, guaranteeing the maximum exposure for the announcement. But a Canadian company that sells a lot of its kits in the U.S. isn't so sure. Murphy Aircraft spokesman Stephane Marois said the hangar talk on the rule is that noise and the question of medical fitness are the hang-ups and neither is easily addressed. In the meantime, he said, the delays give the traditional aircraft industry more time and more ability to influence politicians against the rule.