Home Archives May 2008 New FAA policy could threaten kit plane makers

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“The bottom line is that the previous criteria are outdated,” he says.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

Fork & Bottle

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

National media can’t get enough of Oregon’s pinot noir, artisan-food purveyors and lively, independent film scene.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kim Ierian, President of Concorde Career Colleges, and Deborah Edward, Executive Director of Business for Culture & the Arts, share their recent reads.


Read more...

Molecular Movies

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Dr. Chong Fang isn’t God. But the assistant professor of chemistry at Oregon State University is getting closer to figuring out how he put everything together. 


Read more...

Downtime

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

I'm not very interesting,” says a modest Ray Di Carlo, CEO and executive producer of Bent Image Labs, an animation and visual effects studio.


Read more...

Podcast: Interview with Pete Friedes

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

082714-thumb friedesbookTom Cox interviews Pete Friedes, author of "The 2R Manager," about becoming a Best Boss.


Read more...

Measure 91: What Oregon Businesses Need to Know

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
91 thumbBY DIANE BUISMAN

Some common misconceptions employers have about marijuana.


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 11.17.21 AMMore than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.


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