EAA Says LSA Expansion Still On Track


The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) announced that the Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certificates (MOSAIC) rulemaking initiative remains on track following meetings of ASTM International Committee F37 on Light-Sport Aircraft last week. According to EAA, the committee has been “tasked with updating industry consensus standards for light-sport aircraft to prepare for and accommodate anticipated changes to the regulations under the MOSAIC project.” The MOSAIC package is expected to include language for light-sport reform along with a new Light Personal Aircraft (LPA) category.

“Top on the priority list for many EAA members, the MOSAIC package is still on-track to expand sport pilot privileges and the range of aircraft they can fly, including a shift to a performance-based metric describing sport pilot-eligible aircraft (LSA) as opposed to the current weight limit,” EAA said. “Additionally, a new category will allow larger and more complex aircraft to be built under LSA-like rules but will likely require a recreational or private pilot certificate to operate as is the case for similar type-certificated aircraft today.”

EAA says the proposed rule is on schedule to be released for public comment by mid-2022. Publication of the final rule is planned for the fall of 2023.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Hopefully the new category will allow new light aircraft designs (and engines) to be fully utilized and not held back any longer by the massive expense of the current certified regime. Then maybe GA can move out of the dark ages (experimental fliers exempted).

  2. Fall 2023? Unnecessarily way too far away.
    IMHO if Dan Johnson working to protect his LåMÅ foreign composite manufacturer patrons and AOPA politicos working to protect the six seat chariots of their fat cat cronies hadn’t lobbied so hard AGAINST expanding LSA specs and hadn’t thrown so many complexity roadblocks in the FAA’s path, then instead of elaborate formulæ maybe by 2023, we would already have in place an initial interim waiver/edict expanding Sport Pilot privilege limits to 1700 MTOW and 50K Vs allowing use of thousands of simple, available, affordable legacy fixed pitch two-seaters such as [but not limited to]:
    Cessna 120, 140, 150, 152
    Piper Colt PA-20-108, Piper Traumahawk PA-38-112
    Citabria 7ECA,
    higher alphabet models of Aeronca, Cubs, Ercoupe and Luscombe.
    It may yet be possible to get that announced immediately or NLT Oshkosh ’21 via some form of petition or mass mail-in so the senior pilots that built this industry can legally fly day CAVU into their sunset…but not beyond.
    N.B. : I would have already started a “We The People” White House Gov petition to call attention to this but President Trump shut down the site when a petition to force him to release his taxes quickly passed one million signatures. A modified version later reappeared but vanished again under President Biden.

    • I’m not sure why new rules are needed for old pilots to fly old planes unless there is an argument over something medical that ought to be dealt with in the rules on that rather than the aircraft themselves.

      If you want those old pilots to be able to have airports and access to the sky, there needs to be aircraft that help get new pilots into the system. The evidence is overwhelming that the old planes and old rules aren’t doing the trick.

      It’s not my preferred solution to widen LSA, but it’s headed in the right direction.

  3. This process has just become stupid. How many years has this been proposed and “studied”? And now another couple of years needed for decisions…maybe. Being a guy that hangs out in the older and smaller type aircraft category, we all know how idiotic LSA has been using only weight as the deciding factor. I won’t get into the different aircraft that are identical in almost every way, except having a slight gross weight difference. Oh yea…think I will. Ercoupe 451C vs the 415D, the Luscombe 8A vs the 8E (which is actually safer to operate because it has a starter). Let’s see..oh yea a C150 vs my Aeronca Chief. Which one is much safer, as in much easier, to fly? And the list goes on and on. You all know all of this already though. The EAA and AOPA just flat do not care about the issue down at our levels. AOPA is the one that helped screw it up before. Either one of those organizations, if they got serious about it, could get some progress, at least down at the categories I’m talking about, accomplished like quickly…if they were actually interested. My rant!

  4. 1. Go read the original Sport Pilot rule as published in the Federal Register, where it has FAA comments and responses. You’ll find that what the FAA intended LSAs to be, and what they turned out to be, are completely different.
    See, the FAA intended and expected that the vast majority of LSAs would be simple, NORDO, open-frame “fat ultralight” designs primarily used for training people to fly Part 103 ultralights. They set some pretty broad boundaries (at least relative to that goal) and honestly expected that the majority of designs would stay well within/under the limits.
    Of course, we all know that people are people and they push the limits of performance whenever they can. Rather than being “trainers for ultralights”, LSA became “how to fly something like a real airplane without a medical certificate”, and the vast majority of LSA designs are bumping up on at least one of the weight/performance limits.

    1a. That the FAA made gross weight a major LSA limit doesn’t surprise me. See how rated engine power output is the breakpoint for a “high performance” aircraft, rather than actual performance. It’s a nice, easy number to verify on the paperwork, and thus makes their job easier.

    2. There’s supposed to be more to MOSAIC than just “LSA expansion”. From my reading and discussions with certain people involved, it’s intended to be a general look at certification and operation requirements for personal light aircraft in general. Yes, there’s talk about expanding the LSA category itself, but they’re also looking at applying the LSA-style “certification light” process to larger aircraft. There’s also some talk about changes to homebuilt eligibility requirements (e.g. allowing more professional assistance), updates to maintenance (some implementation of the “primary non-commercial” category outlined in the 2013 ARC report, repairman certificates for homebuilts, etc) and some other things.

    The optimist in me says that someone in the FAA is finally realizing that full-blown certification (and all the burdens that go with it) are not required or desired by people flying their own little airplanes for personal use; the overall market and safety record of LSAs and modern homebuilts seems to bear this out. Add “people don’t really want this” on top of “we don’t have the manpower to deal with this anyway” and you get what is effectively a step towards deregulation of private aircraft.