Warbirds of America, EAA Complete Review of Draft FAA “Road Map”

    The EAA Warbirds of America Advocacy Committee, in partnership with FAA Flight Standards (AFS-800) and the EAA Industry & Regulatory Affairs department, completed an exhaustive review of the initial FAA Draft Road Map and submitted comments regarding recommended improvements for consideration.

    During EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2006 the FAA presented EAA Warbirds of America and EAA with the Draft Road Map, a document that outlines how industry and the FAA can work together to preserve the rich aviation history of vintage and experimental exhibition warbird aircraft. Beyond their value as treasured artifacts, these aircraft serve the public in a variety of roles, including transportation, aerial application (including fire-fighting roles), research and development, exhibiting at fly-ins and other aviation events, and other applications. It is this Road Map that focuses on how to best achieve their continued operation in the National Airspace System (NAS).

    Two key comments provided to AFS-800 concern defining specific qualification requirements for exhibition (ex-military) helicopter instructors and examiners; and asking for further discussions about reducing the number of required hours for examiner candidates in all exhibition aircraft.

    The challenges of developing the Road Map include:

    • How to maintain the required level of FAA and industry expertise and standardization in examiner, instructor, pilot, and maintenance skills.
    • How to develop/maintain a complete, documented maintenance record of these aircraft, especially in the case of foreign surplus military aircraft.
    • How to best develop expertise and oversight of aging aircraft, especially in the many cases where the original aircraft (or component) manufacturer no longer exists or no longer supports the aircraft.
    • How to best obtain the overall goal of the Road Map - “develop the necessary FAA and industry actions to support the health, growth, and the continued safety of the vintage and experimental exhibition military aircraft community.”

    Along with reviewing the FAA Draft Road Map, the Advocacy Committee also reviewed and submitted comments on the newly (July 21, 2006) released Change 32 to FAA Order 8700.1, Chapters 15, 32, and 38. These chapters outline FAA Flight Standards Manager and Inspector responsibilities for providing management oversight of the vintage and experimental exhibition military aircraft pilot evaluation processes.

    Comments included the need to better manage experimental exhibition (ex-military) helicopters; and allowing the use of specific level-3 flight simulators as comparable flight procedure training devices for high-performance, ex-military exhibition aircraft.

    The Road Map will undergo several more revisions before it can achieve the overall goal as stated above, but this effort by the AFS-800 team was characterized as “outstanding - a great start!”

 

   

     
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