FAA Clarifies Guidance for Experimental Exhibition and Air Racing Airworthiness Certificates

    By Bill Fischer, Executive Director, EAA Warbirds of America

    January 20, 2012 - The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a memorandum providing clarification to FAA Order 8130.2G, Airworthiness Certification of Aircraft and Related Products, chapter 4, section 10. The memorandum authorizes deviation to the Order, clarifying operating limitations placed on experimental airworthiness certificates issued for the purpose of exhibition or air racing.

    This is welcomed news for EAA Warbirds of America and other industry groups, who have advocated for years to simplify the Order, yet maintain the highest levels of aviation safety. Going back as far as 2005, EAA Warbirds of America, along with the Commemorative Air Force, Classic Jet Aircraft Association, Army Aviation Heritage Foundation, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Courtesy Aircraft, and others have worked collaboratively with the FAA to identify areas in the Order which needed clarification – both for the owner/operator and the FAA Inspectors in the field. Meetings were held at EAA Headquarters in Oshkosh, WI and FAA Headquarters in Washington D.C.

    All parties agreed to review existing operating limitations based on four safety and operational qualifiers:

    Aircraft fleet and individual aircraft flight safety records;

    Proven aircraft maintenance programs;

    Pilot training and proficiency programs;

    Eliminating duplication of 14 CFR Part 91 requirements.

    What does this mean for owners who operate aircraft certificated in the experimental exhibition or air racing category? Here are several key points:

    All previously issued airworthiness certificates and operating limitations will remain valid unless changes are requested by the applicant or reexamined by the FAA in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 44709.

    If the aircraft changes owners or its home base airport, owners need to submit a new Program Letter to the geographically responsible FSDO, but it’s not necessary to re-issue the airworthiness certificate & operating limitations.

    Pilots operating aircraft and passengers of aircraft equipped with an ejection propellant system installed, whether armed or not armed, must satisfactorily complete and FAA accepted ejection seat training program for the pilot and passenger.

    Provisions have been made for consideration of Pioneer Era (prior to 1914) Aircraft – replica, reproduction, restoration, or similar aircraft for certification.

    Aircraft are now divided into six (6) groups, based on the aircraft weight, power plant, or other operational considerations. These aircraft groupings help establish standardized operating limitations and inspection requirements.

    Aircraft powered by electric or rocket motors are allowed to be certificated within Group 6. While this is would tend not to apply to Warbird type aircraft (unless someone plans to restore and fly a ME-163!), it does provide an avenue for innovative aviators to get their aircraft certificated.

    For more information on this Deviation Memorandum, click here:

    If you or another EAA Warbirds of America member is having difficulty with initial certification or changes in certification for their Warbird type aircraft, contact EAA Warbirds of America at (920) 426-4874 or warbirds@eaa.org. As a member benefit, we’re here to help.



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