Activity in the light sport aircraft (LSA) arena is heating up, with more pilots trying the many modern aircraft spawned by this new category which was enacted by the FAA in 2004. While LSAs include a variety of aircraft types such as fixed-wing airplanes, powered parachutes, weight-shift-control aircraft, balloons, gliders, airships and gyroplanes, much of the LSA development has focused on the basic two-seat light sport airplane.
Pilot certification in the United States
One of the most eagerly anticipated demonstrations at this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show is the first publicly planned flight of the Terrafugia Transition flying car. “This is the first public display of the Transition doing its thing,” said Richard Gersh, vice president of business development for Woburn, Mass.-based Terrafugia, although the company did host an invitation-only flight demo at Lawrence Airport near Boston last October.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration expects its new first officer qualification rule for commercial pilots that require, with certain exceptions, 1,500 hours of flight time and an air transport pilot certificate to appear in the government’s Federal Register on Monday.
Student pilot Michael Graham pleaded guilty in a North Carolina U.S. District Court on May 6 to falsifying statements in connection with his submission of an FAA medical form to obtain his student pilot certificate. According to an FAA statement, Graham did not disclose his criminal or medical history or current medications on his application for an airman medical certificate, which an aviation medical examiner subsequently approved. The FAA was notified after his flight instructor became concerned about Graham’s behavior.
King Schools announced several updates and additions to its online pilot training programs this week at the Sun ’n Fly-in in Lakeland, Fla.
Signature Flight Support (Booth No. N-030/031), the FBO chain that is well known in the turbine aircraft world, is exhibiting this week at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-in in Lakeland, Fla., to build awareness of its support for grassroots general aviation (GA). “We’re doing a big GA push,” a company spokesman told AIN, “and we’ve recently partnered with the Experimental Aircraft Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and Recreational Aircraft Foundation in an effort to help enhance the pilot ranks.”
Rich Stowell, a master certified flight instructor and aerobatics teacher sometimes referred to as The Spin Doctor, is doing his part to address what he sees as a training gap that has the potential to lead to loss-of-control (LOC) issues. Stowell told AIN that, as an instructor, he recognizes the link between LOC issues in transport-category aircraft and the primary education being presented to both current and future generations of pilots.
A reader recently took me to task for writing that the FAA is reinterpreting Part 135 regulations, in a story about the FAA’s belief that contract charter instructors and check airmen apparently are not complying with the rules.
Judging by the positive press from AOPA and EAA, one would think the pilot’s bill of rights is going to do wonders for pilots fighting FAA enforcement actions, especially the unfair kinds of action that many of us have criticized.
The one-year grace period from last year’s change to the FAA’s requirements for pilot proficiency checks (PPC) ends Oct. 31, 2012. After that date, all pilots acting as pilot-in-command of a single-pilot certified turbojet aircraft will be required to have completed a PIC check within the preceding 12 calendar months.