New FAA policy could threaten kit plane makers

| Print |  Email
Thursday, May 01, 2008

STATEWIDE A potential change in federal certification requirements has pitted Oregon’s kit airplane manufacturing industry and Sen. Ron Wyden against the Federal Aviation Administration. At issue is the so-called “51% rule.” It dictates that to be eligible for the FAA certification that allows the owner to do their own maintenance and repairs, the owner must also do at least 51% of the manufacturing and assembly.

Because of concerns that manufacturers were doing more than 49% of the work, the FAA has announced it’s reconsidering how that percentage is determined. The kit aircraft industry — some of its biggest companies are located in Oregon — cried foul. They argued that advances in technology and consumer demand for easy-to-build planes require manufacturers to be highly involved in building the planes. Requiring customers to perform highly technical manufacturing would drive away most of their business.

“You can’t expect a lawyer from Hillsboro to be involved in the creation of carbon fiber wings or the parts for a prop engine. We’re not happy with the FAA,” says Tom Towslee, a spokesperson with Wyden’s office.

Specific changes are still unknown, says Les Dorr, spokesperson for the FAA.

“The bottom line is that the previous criteria are outdated,” he says. “We needed to do something to ensure safety for new designs.”

No one is going out of business quite yet. Companies can still manufacture and sell kits that have been previously evaluated by the FAA. Dick VanGrusven, CEO of Van’s Aircraft in Aurora, is guardedly optimistic about the industry’s future. He thinks most companies haven’t pushed the 51% rule too hard.

Dorr says a decision from the FAA is unlikely until late this year.     

ABRAHAM HYATT



Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

The Health Guru

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Mohan Nair channels a visionary.


Read more...

6 development projects reshaping Bend

The Latest
Thursday, April 09, 2015
bendthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.


Read more...

The Green Paradox

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY EMILY LIEDEL

Inside the topsy-turvy world of corporate sustainability rankings.


Read more...

Foundations perspective

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Martha Richards, executive director of the James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation.


Read more...

Make the Case

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015

10 briefcases that mean business.


Read more...

6 things to know about the Amtrak Cascades route

The Latest
Friday, May 22, 2015
thumb3BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The recent tragedy in Philadelphia has called attention to Amtrak and the nation's woefully underfunded rail service. Here are six facts about the Amtrak Cascades corridor between Eugene and Vancouver B.C. 


Read more...

Change at the pump?

The Latest
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
001thumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS