EAA Finds Positive News In FAA Changes

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Amid all the recent protest over the FAA's plans to change its funding structure, EAA has found something to be glad about in the agency's reauthorization bill, which is now heading for debate in Congress. The FAA is asking for permission to release abandoned type certificate or supplemental type certificate data to individuals so that aircraft airworthiness can be maintained. The change was lobbied for by EAA and the Vintage Aircraft Association (VAA). If approved, it would eliminate the dilemma for owners who had to maintain their vintage aircraft to approved data even though that data could not be released due to intellectual-property rules. "This is a major step in the right direction to preserve unique vintage aircraft," said H.G. Frautschy, VAA executive director. "The owners of these aircraft want to maintain them to the highest possible standards, but could not do so because the original factory data was regarded as intellectual property -- even though the companies have not existed for decades and no other entity offered technical support for these aircraft." Frautschy emphasized that the proposal is designed to address the problem of abandoned type certificates, such as those for aircraft built by long-defunct companies. It would not block any rights by current companies or holders of aircraft type certificates that offer support for those vintage models.