EASA delays light sport rulemaking

Development of a light sport aircraft category in Europe is again being pushed back, as the European Aviation Safety Agency reviews a notice of proposed amendment for initial airworthiness prepared by its MDM.032 working group.

Originally due in November, the NPA was postponed until February and now "we expect it to be published in spring", says EASA.

Simplified standards will be split by weight under what is being called the European Light Aircraft category. ELA II applies to aircraft (excluding rotorcraft) with an initial take-off weight up to 2,000kg (4,400lb). Proposals simplify requirements under ELA I for aircraft below 1,000kg, dropping the need for the manufacturer to have traditional design organisation approval.

Two-seat aircraft up to 750kg with stall speeds of 45kt in landing configuration would use ASTM standards to replace certification, enabling the European manufacturers who dominate the US LSA market to sell in their backyard under similar regulations.

Chile and Columbia have adopted the ASTM standards. Brazil and Argentina have shown interest in the LSA while a committee in Israel is considering acceptance. South Africa is accepting aircraft built to the standards and Australia and New Zealand adopted LSA early on.

EASA plans to announce details and hold a workshop on initial airworthiness at Aero Expo in Prague on 25 April. The next MDM.032 meeting is 1 and 2 July in Paris.

Source: Flight International