December 2013

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

Issue link: http://experimenter.epubxp.com/i/234576

Contents of this Issue


Page 1 of 40

To w e r Fr e q u e n c y EAA Tackles the Big Issues By Jack J. Pelton All segments of personal aviation will face major challenges over the coming years. At EAA we have programs in place to help resolve the biggest problems. We're not miracle workers, but by working together we can make a difference. Shrinking Pilot Population: This is the No. 1 issue because when fewer people fly, the entire aviation activity—including airports and infrastructure—shrinks and becomes less available. I believe our most important weapon to fight the pilot population decline is AirVenture Oshkosh. The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration shows more people more facets of aviation than any other. It's impossible to visit Oshkosh and not soak up the excitement and passion of flight. It also shows hundreds of thousands of people they, too, can be part of personal aviation. In the longer term, our Young Eagles program introduces many thousands of youngsters to the thrill of flight every year. Those dividends will continue to pay off as the years go by. Our new Eagle Flights program is aimed at adults who have an interest in learning to fly but who haven't known how to become involved. This program shows them the way. High Cost of Fuel: EAA has long been the leader in creating alternatives to lower fuel cost. It's been more than 25 years since EAA flight testing and research led to STCs authorizing the use of autogas in many standard category airplanes. And EAA continues to guard the right of airplane homebuilders to use any type of appropriate fuel in their airplanes. A high priority for EAA is to help find a cost-effective way to store autogas at FBOs so it can be available to more pilots. Making autogas STCs possible was the crucial first step, and now we need to help create a distribution method. EAA is participating closely with the aviation industry and other aviation associations to help identify and certify a leadfree replacement avgas. The key here is to find the unleaded fuel that works for all piston airplane owners with minimum transition costs and the least impact on airplane performance. Medical Certification: EAA led the way in the creation of the sport pilot certificate that allows pilots to fly with a valid driver's license as evidence of medical qualification. Now we have joined with AOPA in petitioning the FAA to allow pilots to fly to the recreational standard using the same driver's license as medical qualification. We believe that the third-class medical has become a deterrent for many pilots who want to fly basic airplanes under daytime VFR. Though it is possible to get a special issuance medical certificate in many health situations, the cost and complexity of the special issuance is a hindrance. This is especially true when expensive and often invasive medical tests must be repeated every year or two for the FAA, while normal medical practice does not require or even recommend the tests. The FAA has not yet responded to our petition, but we and our colleagues at AOPA will do our best to keep the pressure on to find a solution. Sport pilot flying is building real-world evidence that the driver's license as medical works, and we will use that data to convince the FAA. High Cost of New Airplanes: Airplane manufacturing costs are driven by many factors including small production runs and complex FAA certification rules. EAA is strongly supporting a revision of the FAA rules that govern small airplane certification. Simplification of those standards can reduce new airplane development costs. If costs can be brought down, production rates can increase, creating additional savings and lower prices. EAA also advocates strongly for sensible maintenance and repair standards to keep older airplanes flying safely at reasonable costs. And we also work almost daily to be sure there is no infringement on the rights to fly all types of ultralight and other personal aircraft that offer the lowest cost entry into airplane ownership. EAA worked hard to help create the LSA category, and though new LSA prices have turned out to be higher than we all hoped, the industry continues to evolve and develop. The greater level of freedom to innovate offered by the LSA rules makes possible some exciting concepts such as the Terrafugia Transition and the futuristic-looking Icon A5 amphib. As the LSA category matures I expect to see an entire range of airplane cost and performance offerings. You can help EAA succeed in these crucial struggles by maintaining your membership and by purchasing a gift membership for friends. An EAA membership makes a perfect Christmas gift for anyone interested in aviation. You can see details of how to give a gift of membership at www.eaa.org/membership. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season. On the cover: Te angular shape of the Wittman Tailwind is obvious in this overhead view. (Photography by Jim Koepnick) 2 Vol.2 N o.12 / December 2013

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