EAA To Fight Hangar Homebuilding Policy

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EAA says it will fight to have all active homebuilding considered an "aeronautical use" at airports receiving FAA grants after reviewing a proposed policy issued by the agency a couple of weeks ago. EAA says it also heard from members apparently confused by the document because of "faulty information from inaccurate reports and chatter." While EAA continues to maintain that the new policy is a "major step forward" it also says the section of the policy that deals specifically and in some detail with the status of homebuilding in airport hangars needs a rewrite.  As we reported earlier, the policy, which appeared in the Federal Register July 22, regards all stages of homebuilding before an undefined tipping point as "final assembly" to be a non-aeronautical activity. EAA first reported on the proposed policy July 24. "We do not agree with the draft language regarding final assembly stipulations," EAA said in a follow-up story published on its website Thursday. "EAA will ask the FAA to consider all active aircraft construction as an aeronautical activity. We believe any type of active homebuilding meets the standard of aeronautical activity and EAA will fight for that language." Comments are being accepted by the FAA until Sept. 5 and EAA is urging members to read the policy and comment.

EAA is also urging hangar owners and lessees to review contracts with their airport authority to determine if they are in compliance. The current dustup resulted from controversy at Glendale Airport (PDF) in Arizona after complaints about non-aviation use of hangars there. The problems in Glendale prompted the FAA to audit dozens of airports around the country and they found many examples of non-aeronautical use of hangars besides homebuilding. As we reported earlier, EAA says it communicated with the FAA on the issue and the resulting proposed policy earned at least some measure of protection for homebuilding activity. "This is a major step forward because it nationally recognizes homebuilding as an aeronautical activity, which it never was previously, even if it was allowed at an individual airport," EAA VP of Advocacy and Safety said in the EAA post. "Most homebuilders probably don't realize that FAA has never recognized homebuilding as a protected aeronautical activity. Now that will change."