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        NAFI HEADQUARTERS, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (May 6, 2002) - The National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) sees the new "Sport Pilot" certificate as an outstanding opportunity to make flying more accessible and enhance aviation safety, while creating a new growth area of airborne sports opportunities.

        Making its formal comments to the Federal Aviation Administration's "Certification of Aircraft and Airmen for the Operation of Light-Sport Aircraft" notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), commonly known as Sport Pilot, NAFI noted that the measure could replenish the nation's pilot population ranks.  It would provide an opportunity for more flight activity and aircraft ownership.

        "The Sport Pilot proposal, overall, is an outstanding document that brings together many diverse aviation elements into a comprehensive blueprint for future flight training," said Sean Elliott, NAFI President.  "It offers exciting new possibilities for those who want to learn how to fly for fun, yet provides the necessary procedures and safeguards to ensure these new aviators are properly trained and held to high standards."

        Along with its overall support for the Sport Pilot proposal, NAFI offered a number of recommendations in the flight training provisions for sport pilots.  These recommendations, in NAFI's opinion, will create a final rule that is more practical and workable.  The organization's comments are available for review at the NAFI web site.

         The NAFI recommendations include suggested changes and justifications in such areas as practical tests, flight review programs, powered parachute instruction and traffic patterns.  In addition, NAFI recommends expanding privileges of Recreational Pilots to include flights of up to 150 nautical miles from the departure airport.  The NAFI comments were submitted at the end of the three-month public comment period for the Sport Pilot NPRM.  FAA will now review the more than 2,000 comments received on the proposal before issuing a final rule.

        "NAFI believes the common standards within the Sport Pilot certification will emphasize knowledge and safety," Elliott said.  "Such standardization is a key to safe operations.  Sport Pilot will help accomplish that while also generating new interest in general aviation."

        NAFI was founded in 1967 and is dedicated to raising and maintaining the professional standing of flight instructors throughout the nation, as well as providing a safe and effective learning situation for students.  In addition, NAFI initiates education and support programs throughout the aviation industry.  The organization affiliated with EAA in May 1995.  More information is available through NAFI's World Wide Web site (www.nafinet.org).