The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) this morning (July 19) announced its support for a pre-publication version of an FAA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the MOSAIC package of aircraft-certification updates. MOSAIC is an acronym for the Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certificates, a long-standing initiative involving cooperation between EAA, AOPA, other GA advocates and the FAA, designed to “expand opportunities for light sport aircraft [LSAs],” according to EAA.
EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board Jack Pelton said, “MOSAIC had its genesis with a conversation between EAA and FAA officials nearly a decade ago, as we focused on safely creating more aviation opportunities for those who wanted to participate. Now that the NPRM is being released, we will study it closely and supply focused comments to ensure that the goals of this EAA-inspired initiative remain in the final language developed by the FAA.”
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) also pushed hard “to expand the light sport aircraft definition, relax most current operating limitations, and allow certain operations for hire reserved for certified aircraft.” AOPA President Mark Baker said, “Modernizing the light-sport category for the thousands of our members that fly these aircraft is something we’ve been long pushing for, and it just makes sense. We’re pleased to see the FAA take this first step to help modernize the general aviation fleet and provide more options for pilots.”
AOPA also noted the FAA agreed with its request “to allow sport pilots flying light sport aircraft to perform certain commercial operations, such as product demonstration for engines or other modifications. These privileges would also extend to experimental aircraft that have flown at least 50 hours, provided that the applicant has established an inspection and maintenance program.”
EAA enumerates its goals for the MOSAIC program as including:
“Changing the limitations of LSAs from an arbitrary weight to performance-based metrics will allow for larger and more capable aircraft and permit a wider range of students and instructors to fly them, significantly increasing access to flight training. This will afford flight schools more opportunities to refresh their fleets by making larger and more durable LSAs a viable option for training operations;
“Removing the restriction that powered LSAs must have a reciprocating engine. This will enable future electric, hybrid, distributed power, and other new propulsion technologies;
“Expanding the sport pilot certificate. By leveraging sport pilots’ system of training and instructor endorsements, we believe that current and future sport pilots can expand the privileges of their initial certificate to operate larger and more capable aircraft. This would apply to both sport pilots and higher-rated pilots operating under the privileges of a sport pilot certificate, enhancing a pathway for existing pilots to remain active in general aviation.”
Pelton added that the NPRM “will also undoubtedly be a topic of conversation as we gather for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh next week.” Public comment on the NPRM will be open for 90 days following the official date of publication in the Federal Register, expected either later this week or sometime next week as AirVenture is underway.