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FAA proposing rule that will expand aircraft eligible for sport pilot

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is planning to expand the definition of Light Sport Aircraft. The proposed Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certification (MOSAIC) rule would put performance safety standards around larger aircraft that innovators are building.

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Under the proposed Sport Pilot rule, aircraft weighing up to 3,000 pounds would be eligible for Sport privileges.

“This rule will encourage manufactures to make Light Sport Aircraft operations safer, more versatile and accessible while maintaining rigorous safety standards,” said Acting FAA Associate Administrator for Safety David Boulter.

Under the proposal, the aircraft’s weight limit is based on its stall speed. By permitting higher stall speeds, the proposal would bring within the Light Sport Aircraft regulatory framework aircraft weighing as much as 3,000 pounds. This more than doubles the weight of aircraft under the current definition of Light Sport of 1,320 pounds, allowing larger and stronger aircraft to qualify as Light Sport.

The proposal would also expand the type of aircraft sport pilots can operate and allows them to use their aircraft for a wider range of operations such as some aerial work. Although sport pilots could operate aircraft designed with up to four seats, they would remain limited to operating with only one passenger.

The public comment on the proposed rule on or before October 23, 2023. The FAA will publish a final rule and respond to comments after the comment period closes.

Eric Radtke