Major changes to Light Sport weight restrictions are about two years away and the new rules will capture many legacy training and personal aircraft, EAA Chairman Jack Pelton announced on Monday. In a news conference at AirVenture, Pelton said the changes are about halfway through the four-year rulemaking process and are aimed at fixing what many consider the most serious problem with the aircraft classification. “They’re addressing the weight limits of LSA,” Pelton said, adding that weight won’t be the sole criteria in establishing eligibility. He said it will be more focused on establishing the class of aircraft that should be allowed to fly under the simpler licensing and certification standards of LSA.
LSAs are now limited to 1320 pounds for land-based aircraft and 1430 pounds for float and flying boat designs. The limits have been a longstanding gripe among manufacturers because they restrict the design limitations of aircraft by sacrificing durability and safety features at the expense of useful load. Many LSAs have only enough useful load for two full-sized adults and partial fuel and manufacturers have been asking for more flexibility to build more useful aircraft. Also, the weight limits exclude many legacy two-place aircraft by a few hundred pounds and owners and type groups have been lobbying to have dozens of designs included in the classification. Pelton said the new performance-based regulatory attitude of the FAA is behind its sudden flexibility on the LSA regs and he’s been assured the changes are moving through the process.