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“The bottom line is that the previous criteria are outdated,” he says.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

Crowdfunding 2.0

News
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
120214-crowdfund-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.


Read more...

Dan and Louis Oyster Bar opens up to a changing neighborhood

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121114-oystervidBy MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Revamping a Classic — an iconic eatery stays relevant in a changing marketplace.


Read more...

Justice for All

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Lawger upends the typical hourly based fee model by letting clients determine the cost.


Read more...

MBA Perspective

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Robin Anderson, dean of the Pamplin School of Business, University of Portland: "You need people who are comfortable leading in ambiguity."


Read more...

Which Way to Chinatown?

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

The Jade International District, already Portland's center of Asian life, is poised for rejuvenation. Where does that leave the westside's historic Chinatown?


Read more...

Raising the Stakes

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

The 2014 Bend Venture Conference set a record for the most cash, investments and prizes awarded at an angel conference in the Pacific Northwest. Investments in the six winning companies exceeded $1 million. The 11th annual conference was hosted by Economic Development of Central Oregon.


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president, plus an abridged Powerlist for the best commercial real estate firms.


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