EAA declines FAA exemption for Young Eagles flights

OSHKOSH, Wis. — The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has notified the FAA that it is declining a partial grant of exemption that would have allowed Young Eagles and Eagle Flights pilots to obtain reimbursement for fuel costs and logging of flight time.

While EAA officials said they welcomed the time the agency spent considering and formulating the partial exemption, “its mandated record-keeping, coordination, and notification requirements would cause complete restructuring of the program with enormous time and expense burdens.”

Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety, stated in a letter to John S. Duncan, FAA director of Flight Standards Service, that “EAA sincerely appreciates the substantial efforts of the FAA in reviewing, publishing for comment, analyzing, and finally granting an exemption in response to EAA’s petition dated April 17, 2012. Unfortunately, EAA is unable to accept the exemption because of the severe requirements imposed by the FAA grant.”

The FAA’s Partial Grant of Exemption 10841 would require EAA to maintain a record of all fuel disbursements under the exemption. The partial exemption would also require notification of all flight operations to the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) in advance and provide a copy of the exemption to that FSDO no less than 72 hours prior to each event. Such requirements would end the ability for Young Eagles and Eagle Flights programs to operate in a decentralized and autonomous manner as is now done, EAA officials note.

“Meeting this requirement would literally be impossible for EAA without a total restructure of the EF/YE programs and an unaffordable and questionable investment of assets in a brand new chapter monitoring, data gathering, and approval system,” Elliott wrote.

EAA also finds other aspects of the exemption requirements to be problematic, such as the prohibition on pilots of amateur-built aircraft from claiming the reimbursement, even if they met all other requirements.

“EAA believes that the program conversion that would be required to meet the FAA’s record-keeping, coordination, and notification requirements would be unaffordable, disruptive, and counterproductive,” Elliott added. “Therefore, EAA regretfully will not exercise the privileges of exemption 10841, and does not intend to renew it.”


  1. says

    Greg W.: Some clarification and correction on your statement — EAA was not asking for Young Eagles pilots to be paid. We were asking for the ability for things such as free fuel offered by FBOs and other such donation offers to not run afoul of pilot compensation rules. Unfortunately, the partial exemption as written would have caused more difficulties than it would have solved; thus, it was in the best interests of the program and those involved to decline it.

  2. Ed Watson says

    I just can’t believe it! Get the gubm’nt involved and it bogs everything down. What a surprise. At least the EAA was savvy enough to “just say no”.

    • Jeremy says

      Ed Watson:
      I totally agree. It’s amazing what the FAA can screw up just by touching it. Aviation needs a regulatory committee, but it should be focused on SAFETY ONLY. It shouldn’t be worried about whether or not someone filled out a 10 page form just to hand a pilot $40 for gas. We are all about getting Young Eagles flights going at every fly-in we attend. This year at our home airport, we hosted so many Young Eagles flights, I didn’t even have time to go up. LOL To me, that’s SUCCESSFUL! All the FAA’s obligatory regulations would have done was completely decreased the number of flights that could have been given (almost to nil) because of all the red tape that would have to be PRE-DETERMINED!
      Come on! You can’t pre-determine young eagles flights. You take them as they come!

  3. Ronald Schmidt says

    I too am glad to see someone stand up to the FAA ‘s increased, shall I say interference with logical endeavors. More should do this and perhaps we would get some rules that we can live by.

  4. Mike Marthaller says

    I am reminded of the wise words of an old friend
    “When the required weight of the paper excededs the useful load and grounds all aircraft the government will be happy”

    They can then point to a perfect flying safety record.

    I am glad I no longer fly. That too due to FAA over reaction to a medical issue the Drs say has no Bearing on my flying.

  5. says

    We at our small Aviation company and mentoring school of opportunity for 2nd chance youth feel the pressure from FAA restricts us at many levels of operation to reach the next generation of youth.
    Understanding we are a Aviation company and mentoring program in development but our vision is just as big and effective in our arena as Cessna or any other flight program.
    We are stanch supporters of the Sport Pilot Program as a entry level provision to move up.
    Granted we work with kids that a lot of aviation groups would shun but given the chance most we except step back into society as productive future leaders.
    We at this time have two Experimental amateur Challenger 2’s and we fly kids most every week.
    We are held to a high level of accountability at our home base, Gilbert Field (GIF) Winter Haven, Florida and asking permission every time we fly a kid would be useless…..especially having to ask 30 days ahead and for every kid we fly.
    We fly the kids according to the level of progress they have made each week.
    We are going to fly anyway…….that why we own airplanes and adding a passenger dont burn that much more fuel….on top of that we fund raise as we are a non-profit with the mentoring program and always have money to fly a kid.
    Thanks again for such a great article

    • Mike Marthaller says

      For many years I’ve used “Motivational Aviation” to reach kids.
      Flying and Parachuting.
      For it to work it is best when the exposure is spontanious.
      Its people to people not a micro managed programs

    • Greg W says

      Absolutely nothing wrong with that. The proposed FAA requirements were due to EAA wanting to get compensated for flying passengers with non-commercial rated pilots, sometimes in Experimental aircraft. That is way outside of the rules and has been since the Air Commerce Act in 1926! If some one wants to fly or you want to take some one flying, just do it, it is not against any regulation as long as you are a licensed pilot in a licensed aircraft, including experimental/amateur built. The Problem is EAA and the pilots wanting to get paid!! You don’t need the EAA programs and FAA approval, you already have that in your pocket. If you are going to fly anyway it will not cost you more to carry a passenger as Chuck rightly points out.

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