At the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Regional Fly-In in Carbondale, Illinois, Oct. 6, it was revealed that the FAA will start the rulemaking process in January 2019 to increase the weight of light-sport aircraft from 1,320 pounds to 3,600 pounds.
According to Jack Pelton, chairman and CEO of the Experimental Aircraft Association, the FAA will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking on Jan. 19, 2019, for the weight increase.
“That will allow you to fly in a 172, have four seats in the airplane, and fly 150 mph,” said Pelton, who also anticipates a rule change that would allow professional builders to build experimental amateur-built aircraft.
“Over the past two years, AOPA has been working with the FAA, ASTM International Light-Sport committee, and other general aviation organizations to improve and advance light-sport aircraft, including increasing the weight limit and incorporate new technologies like electric propulsion,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “The FAA has indicated it is on track to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in early 2019 which will include many of the suggestions for improvement. The rule will be a major step in making new, innovative aircraft accessible to pilots, by removing prescriptive barriers that are limiting aircraft designers, the flight training industry, and the strength of the pilot population.”
Another ADS-B Rebate
Baker also revealed that another ADS-B rebate is in the works.
“I talked with the FAA administrator yesterday,” he told the fly-in crowd. “He was comfortable with me telling you there’s going to be another $500 rebate.”
In the previous rebate program, which ran for one year, the FAA disbursed $5.1 million in rebates to owners of eligible U.S.-registered, fixed-wing single-engine piston aircraft who installed ADS-B Out.
An FAA mandate will require all planes flying in airspace where a Mode C transponder is required today to have ADS-B Out installed by Jan. 1, 2020.
“Now is the time to get it done,” Baker told the fly-in crowd, adding more information will become available on the program this week.