...Aircraft A Little Faster, A Little Heavier
In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the aircraft were going to be limited to 115 knots maximum speed and 44 knots stall speed (clean) and 37 knots (with flaps). The final rule boosts the top speed to 120 knots and clean stall to 45 knots. The stall-with-flaps designation has been eliminated. Also, the all-up weight limit has been increased to 1320 pounds from 1232 in the NPRM. Despite what seemed to be a rocky road to enactment, according to an FAA fact sheet the rule itself appears to be otherwise almost identical to the NPRM that was issued more than two years ago by the FAA. The rule covers fixed-wing powered and non-powered aircraft, as well as gyrocopters and powered parachutes. Aircraft that meet FAR Part 103 for ultralights can stay under those regs. Anything else must be registered as an LSA. In a news conference announcing the final rule, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey estimated there are about 15,000 currently unregulated aircraft flying in the U.S. The hallmark of LSA is simple and slow. Blakey told the news conference the changes resulted from the FAA's consideration of 5,000 comments received on the proposed rule.