FAA: No New Regs For Trikes

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The FAA says it will not impose new regulations on the operators of weight-shift-control aircraft in Hawaii but will keep a close eye on them to ensure they are in compliance with existing regulations. Six people died in three crashes in the islands over the last year and a half, raising questions about the safety of the aircraft, also known as trikes. Two of the fatal flights apparently involved operators taking passengers for sightseeing tours, which is not allowed under FAA rules. Pilots can, however, offer introductory flight training. "It appears some operators are trying to get around the air-tour provision by offering scenic flights under the guise of introductory flying instructions," Nick Reyes, an FAA flight standards manager, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser last week.

Reyes said the FAA will increase enforcement by dropping in on operators unannounced, interviewing pilots, and examining the records of aircraft operators. Any advertisements or websites that appear to offer air tours would result in enforcement action, ranging from warnings to revoked certificates, according to the Star-Advertiser. Officials already have hosted a meeting with trike operators to encourage more voluntary compliance. Five trike businesses operate in Hawaii, one each on the islands of Oahu, Kauai, and Maui, and two on Hawaii, also known as the Big Island.