The new notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) for sports aircraft is under review by the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as part of its lengthy approval process. A final ruling and implementation is now expected early next year.

After review by the OMB, the proposed ruling will return to the US Federal Aviation Administration for final adjustments before publication in the federal register for public comment, US transportation secretary Norman Mineta told AirVenture attendees. The general aviation community is anxious that the process moves quickly to a final rule and implementation.

A new category of one- and two-place light aircraft is proposed to fit between today's single-seat Federal Aviation Regulation FAR 103 ultralights and FAR 23/CAR 3 aircraft, as well as a new category of licensing to apply to these aircraft. The category will cover aircraft weighing up to 560kg (1,230lb) and a cruise-configuration stall speed of no more than 37kt (68km/h) for personal and recreational use in daytime visual flight rules conditions.

Dozens of light aircraft, such as early Piper Cubs and Cessna 120/140s, could fit into the new category, depending on the final wording of the document. Many new, light, two-place aircraft, which currently come under the experimental/amateur-built category, could also be built and sold as factory aircraft under the new rules. A licence to operate these machines would require as little as 20h of instruction.

Source: Flight International