Terrafugia Wins Support For Exemption Request

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Terrafugia's request to the FAA for an exemption from the LSA rules to allow extra weight and a higher stall speed in its Transition roadable aircraft has won support from the industry. In comments posted to the FAA docket, GAMA and EAA both said the request should be approved. "We believe it is in the public interest to consider and approve [the requested exemption] as the product which is being proposed will provide unique safety improvements and will increase access to flying," GAMA said in its statement. EAA said, "Innovation through new technologies that have not been utilized in aviation before will benefit not only the LSA community but all of aviation." The Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association and AOPA also supported the request.

The petition drew 272 comments in all, the vast majority in support of the change. "This kind of thinking needs to be encouraged and rewarded," wrote Charles Welty. "Please expedite all approvals necessary." Tyran Howe wrote that he supports the request: "I believe they have a great product that fits well within the spirit of the intended law." Only a few commenters expressed opposition to the change. "I don't like exemptions!" wrote Mel Asberry. "If they can't meet the regs, then go somewhere else." Marc Hamilton wrote: "Let us not forget that 'Light' is a key word in the LSA definition. And an aircraft with a maximum gross weight of 1800 pounds is hardly 'light' ... The Transition, is in fact, quite simply, no longer a light, sport aircraft at all." The comment period closed on Tuesday.