EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (Sept. 9, 2004) - Efforts by the Experimental Aircraft Association and its EAA Warbirds of America Division will help warbird aircraft owners get on-site assistance to complete their new operating authorization paperwork during this year’s National Championship Air Races at Reno, Nev., on Sept. 16-18.

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be present at the Balzeout Aviation Hangar (11165 Osage Road) at Stead Airport during the races. FAA will have a designated area to register warbird owners, flying in the experimental exhibition category, who need to complete the mandatory conversion of their current Letter of Authorization (LOA) or Letter of Operational Authority (LOOA) to an airman certificate. That mandatory conversion must be completed by July 31, 2005. EAA had succeeded in getting the FAA to extend the deadline this summer because lengthy processing times by FAA had created a backlog of conversion requests. Without that extension, much of the current warbird fleet would have been grounded.

    “The National Championship Air Races are a favorite gathering place for warbird aircraft,” said Bill Fischer, executive director of EAA Warbirds of America. “That’s why EAA and the Warbirds of America urged the FAA to be present at a location where they could work directly with warbird owners. We heartily encourage any warbird owners who are bringing their airplanes to Reno, and who have not completed the conversion application, to do so while they’re here enjoying the air races. We want to make sure that all necessary paperwork is completed to ‘keep ’em flying.’”

    Fischer cautioned warbird owners affected by this new policy not to delay in seeking the required conversion of their LOAs and LOOAs to the appropriate airman-certificate ratings. “The deadline of July 31, 2005, for the completion of the conversions is inflexible and all LOA and LOOA privileges cease after that date,” he said. “With the high demand and lengthy processing times to carry out these conversions, Warbirds operators should submit their conversion application packages immediately if they haven't done so already.”

    EAA’s web site (
    www.eaa.org) and the Warbirds of America web site (www.warbirds-eaa.org/) each include a link to the FAA/DOT Notice. EAA is also working closely with senior Flight Standards staff at FAA Headquarters to develop new policies designed to increase the number of available pilot examiners for Warbirds operators and other experimental exhibition aircraft. That policy is in development and should be completed within the next several months.

    “We're talking to FAA about reexamining some of the operational restrictions on experimental exhibition aircraft. The regulations don't allow these pilots sufficient flexibility to use their airplanes outside of the context of an exhibition or air show,” said Doug Macnair, EAA vice president of government relations. “With the implementation of the new airman certification process, which ensures that the agency knows who is operating experimental exhibition aircraft and how they were trained and evaluated, we believe FAA can expand the operating envelope for these aircraft without compromising safety.”

    EAA, The Leader in Recreational Aviation, is an international association with 170,000 members and 1,000 local chapters. To join EAA or for more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or go to



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