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 FAA's 51% Rule Change Proposal - Comment Deadline

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Posts : 7
Join date : 2008-07-24
Location : Northern California

PostSubject: FAA's 51% Rule Change Proposal - Comment Deadline   Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:23 am

The deadline for commenting on the FAA's proposed changes to the home built aircraft "51% Rule" is 9/30/08. If you have any interest in preserving the home built aircraft movement, now or in the future, it may be worth the time to review the situation and comment.

In a nutshell, the FAA has become worried that some "Amateur Builders" have been getting excessive professional "educational assistance" and thus have not actually built, or provided, the required 51% of the effort to build their plane, even though they attest to that in the final paperwork. So the FAA has proposed to divide the tasks into "fabrication" and "assembly" and require that the effort must be at least 20% "fabrication from stock" and 20% "assembly" and the remaining 11% can be either.

The Experimental Aircraft Assoc. (EAA), whose original existence was based on the home built aircraft movement, has analyzed the problem and the FAA's solution and has issued their position on the subject. Basically, they say, the rule is not broken and it doesn't need "fixing", the FAA just has to do a better job of evaluation and oversight when the aircraft is presented for its classification and airworthiness certification.

Several of the kit manufacturers have classified the FAA's proposal as a retreat to the '50's instead of being forward looking to encompass the current state of the art and future improvements in the way we can build kit aircraft. Things like CNC drilling and punching of holes and large composite structures minimize the "fab" aspect while emphasizing the "assy" aspect. And the end result is a better, safer aircraft than if the builder were forced to do all the menial tasks just to satisfy some outdated FAA restriction.

Here are some resources on the EAA site for info and inspiration:

EAA's comment - Comment
Where to send comments - Email and address
Sample letter - Letter
In-depth analysis -

Thanks for any effort you may make in this regard. Deadline 9/30/08.

Joe Cook
Sec. Oroville EAA Chapter 1112
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