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10-year effort creates more opportunities for CFIs

OSHKOSH, Wisconsin - A bright new age of aviation participation has begun to unfold, capping a decade of effort by the Experimental Aircraft Association and its affiliate, the National Association of Flight Instructors. The highly anticipated sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule cleared its final governmental hurdle earlier today, when the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the rule to the Federal Aviation Administration, the last of many federal approvals necessary before this major rule could be published.

“We could not be more excited about this development,” said Rusty Sachs, Executive Director of NAFI. “It will bring many more people into aviation and provide more teaching opportunities for the nation’s flight instructors.”

The regulation, commonly known as the “sport pilot rule,” is now ready for publication in the Federal Register within several days. It gives aviation enthusiasts a way to focus on the basics of flying by lowering costs while enhancing safety and security considerations. The light-sport aircraft portion of the regulation, meanwhile, opens the door to more affordable aircraft.

“We are extremely pleased that this rule is finally becoming reality,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA President. “It has long been a goal of the aviation community and provides the first rulemaking package specifically written for recreational flying. EAA is proud of its role to make personal flight more accessible and build aviation’s infrastructure through this new entry-level base for pilots.”

EAA led the charge for this rule over the past decade to break down the barriers to safe, affordable, and fun flying. Along the way, EAA helped forge an unprecedented partnership between government, industry, and consumers that led to the creation of comprehensive, practical regulations and aircraft standards.

Creating this rule involved developing consensus standards for the recreational aircraft that will be built and operated within the light-sport aircraft category. Leading the way in keeping the public aware of the new opportunities are EAA’s new publication EAA Sport Pilot & Light Sport Aircraft, the first magazine dedicated to informing, educating, and entertaining sport pilot enthusiasts, and an associated web site (www.sportpilot.org) providing a vast on-line resource.

NAFI officials will review the rule promptly upon its publication, so complete briefings can be held during the 2004 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in (July 27-August 2). Sport pilot will play a major role at this year’s EAA AirVenture event, which bears the theme Launching the Next Century of Flight. A large sport pilot pavilion will be located at the center of the EAA AirVenture grounds, with NAFI, EAA, and FAA personnel ready to answer questions and distribute information on the new rule.

“We will definitely celebrate the emergence of the sport pilot rule during EAA AirVenture 2004,” Poberezny said. “It is fitting that as we launch the second century of powered flight, this new rule will allow more people than ever before to pursue their personal dreams of flying. It is an exciting new day for aviation participation, and EAA members will have the most valuable information resources available to discover and enjoy these new opportunities.”

NAFI, founded in 1967, is the world’s only organization dedicated exclusively to flight instruction, and 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).