January 2014

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/247918

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Page 32 of 38

lights, and the rest are kit-built E-LSA or special lightsport aircraft (S-LSA) converted to experimental status. The S-LSA category (factory-built S-LSA) listed 2,070 fixed-wing aircraft, 130 weight-shift trikes, and 88 powered parachutes for a total of 2,288 S-LSA registered. The LSA total is 9,136 aircraft. EAA also maintains a voluntary registration for ultralights, with 3,318 vehicles listed. There are 28,005 experimental amateur-built aircraft listed on the FAA Registry. Operations and activity in the Ultralight/Light Plane area during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 showed a significant increase from 2012, due in part to the excellent weather. There were 142 pilots registered compared to 105 in 2012. The amount of fuel sold (626 gallons) and takeoffs logged (2,216) also increased by about 40 percent. The rotorcraft flying from the Ultralight runway logged about 500 additional flights. A new system of security roads through the area at AirVenture 2013 took away some of our space, but it also made it easier to bring people and airplanes in and out. At its peak, the Ultralight/Light Plane area was full up, and we were parking ultralights outside our area south of the runway next to the amphibious floatplanes. The Council spent considerable time trying to rearrange the layout in an acceptable manner that would provide more parking space, but we kept coming back to the existing plan. We simply need more space to park aircraft. NEW ATTRACTIONS COMING TO THE ULTRALIGHT RUNWAY Expect that headline to be repeated a number of times in the near future. It's clear from our Ultralight & LightSport Aircraft Council discussions that AirVenture planners have come to recognize what a wonderful resource we have with the Ultralight runway. There is serious talk of bringing top flying attractions into our area where spectators can get a closer look at sport aviation. Those attractions would have to be aircraft that can be safely operated from a 1,200-foot, short-takeoff-and-landing runway, which is the only clue I can give at this time. Other attractions have already come to our area, including the daily tethered hot-air balloons, the weekend balloon launch, and the 5K run. We believe these events draw more spectators in to see the ultralights and light planes. The new roads help that effort. LSA RULE NEARLY 10 YEARS OLD FAA Administrator Marion Blakely introduced the new sport pilot and light-sport aircraft rules on July 20, 2004. The newborn was larger and more expensive than some parents may have wanted. The rate of adoption by the flying community was less than some optimistic forecasts. About the time it was really getting started, however, the economy suffered a major recession. Nonetheless, there are nearly 2,300 new airplanes in service (imagine them all parked on one field) and nearly 10,000 aircraft flying under the new rules. We want to have a birthday party at AirVenture 2014, with a special parking area for S-LSA somewhere down near the Ultralight/Light Plane area. Maybe it will be like the LSA Mall, or something else, but otherwise LSA will be scattered all over the convention grounds north to south. The celebration is also about the sport pilot rule, too, so a pin or badge for every sport pilot walking the grounds would be cool. I want mine. BETTER LODA NEEDED The most urgent issue facing the ultralight (and sport pilot) community is the lack of instructors. It was the first thing mentioned when EAA Chairman Jack Pelton stopped in for a brief visit to the Council and asked what our community needed most. Ironically, we had just had a conversation with Jeff Skiles, who asked where he should go for an introductory flight with a powered parachute instructor. The opportunities to take an introductory flight in some LSA are so scarce that potential newcomers can't find out if they might like the sport. Operations and activity in the Ultralight/Light Plane area during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 showed a signifcant increase from 2012, due in part to the excellent weather. In 2011 the FAA published a Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) process to enable experimental aircraft to be used for compensated primary instruction under limited conditions. It was supposed to address the instructor shortage, but the limitations were such that very few instructors applied for the privilege. It was (and is) limited to legacy trainer aircraft that cannot be rented for solo flight needed to complete a certificate, and it can be canceled at any time by the local flight standards district office for unspecified reasons. The Ultralight & Light-Sport Aircraft Council has been working on a request for changes to address those limitations. We will rely on the advice of Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of Advocacy and Safety, as to how to proceed and what changes are feasible. Please send your comments and suggestions to dgrunloh@illicom.net. Dan Grunloh, EAA 173888, is a retired scientist who began flying ultralights and light planes in 1982. He won the 2002 and 2004 U.S. National Microlight Championships in a trike and flew with the U.S. World Team in two FAI World Microlight Championships. EAA Experimenter 33

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