Relief Available on Proficiency Flight Limitations for Former Military Aircraft
|EAA and the Warbirds of America (WOA) received terrific news this week from the FAA regarding experimental exhibition operating limitations for former military aircraft in Groups I, II, and III. The FAA has announced a process to allow for a letter of deviation, permitting owners to conduct proficiency flights beyond the 300 nm (piston) and 600 nm (turbine) radius of operations stipulated in a section of FAA Order 8130.2F.
The geographic limitations were adopted as a safety measure in the early 1990s when a large number of former military aircraft was imported into the United States. Since then, safety records have shown that the proficiency limitations did little, if anything, to improve safety. Industry groups, including WOA, felt that allowing pilots to train outside these limits would help raise the pilot’s experience and proficiency levels, thus improving safety.
EAA hosted a meeting attended by Warbird industry leaders and senior FAA officials at this year’s AirVenture Oshkosh.
Discussions on the issue turned a huge corner during meetings hosted by EAA and WOA in March 2007 when industry representatives and senior FAA officials reviewed FAA Order 8130.2F and discussed recommendations on future revisions. At EAA AirVenture 2007 in July, the FAA agreed to issue the letter of deviation and discussed the proposed timetable for its release. Other organizations represented included the Commemorative Air Force (CAF); Classic Jet Aircraft Association (CJAA); and Courtesy Aircraft.
Input was also received from the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation (AAHF); North American Trainer Association (NATA); Red Star Pilots Association (RPA); International Aerobatic Club (IAC); as well as pilots and owners of former military aircraft.
“We are extremely pleased with this outcome,” said Rick Siegfried, EAA Warbirds of America president. “EAA Warbirds of America and our industry partners have worked very hard on our members’ behalf. By meeting face-to-face in Oshkosh with FAA officials, we were able to work through this and other issues. We have submitted a list of recommended revisions to FAA Order 8130.2F and look forward to even more progress in the weeks and months to come.”
Owners of experimental exhibition aircraft are encouraged to review the FAA memorandum and decide for themselves if it is in their best interest to request the letter of deviation. For many owners and operators of warbirds aircraft, this is an attractive option, helping them expand their training and proficiency options.
Siegfried applauded the EAA Government Relations Programs staff of Earl Lawrence, Doug Macnair, Randy Hansen, and Lynn Nelson for their support, along with the industry partners who participated in the process. Also playing key roles were WOA Executive Director Bill Fischer and the WOA Government Affairs Committee, including Connie Bowlin, Ray Dieckman, Jack Harrington, Bill Harrison, Michael Schloss, Siegfried, and Warren Wood.
EAA, EAA Warbirds of America, and industry representatives will continue to work on our member’s behalf to maintain and improve our freedom of flight. For more information regarding EAA Warbirds of America programs and activities, or to join or renew your EAA Warbirds of America membership, visit www.warbirds-eaa.org.
How to obtain the letter of deviation:
- Former military aircraft receiving initial experimental exhibition (FAR 21.191(d)) certification from today forward, need to present the September 11, 2007 FAA Memorandum to their FSDO in order to be exempt from the 300/600-mile proficiency flight area limitation. The next change to FAA Order 8130.2(F) will contain the elimination of this requirement, but in the meantime, this FAA Memorandum is the authority to remove the proficiency flight area limitation on their operating limitations.
- All former military experimental exhibition aircraft in Groups I, II, and III currently operating and with the flight proficiency 300/600 mile limitations on their operating limitations must continue to operate under the issued limitations until such time they get their operating limitations updated from their local FSDO.
- All former military experimental exhibition aircraft owners can immediately apply to their local FSDO to amend their operating limitations to eliminate the 300/600-mile flight proficiency area limitation. Once amended, they will no longer have a proficiency flight area limitation. When submitting the request to the FSDO to drop the proficiency area limitation, owners should:
- Submit a cover letter to their local FSDO—“Request the operating limitations issued to TYPE OF AIRCRAFT, N-NUMBER, be updated to eliminate the proficiency flight area limitation per FAA Memorandum, subject: Deviation to Order 8130.2, dated September 11, 2007, from Frank Paskiewicz, Manager AIR-200. FAA headquarters, AFS-800, and AIR-200 have approved that this operating limitation change request will be processed per FAA Order 8130.2F, paragraph 27b(6), and no aircraft certification inspection is required for this paperwork change.”
The owners need to attach the following to their letter:
(1) A completed FAA Form 8130-6 http://forms.faa.gov/forms/faa8130-6d.pdf; and
(2) A copy of their current operating limitations (not the original); and
(3) A copy of their aircraft registration (not the original); and
(4) A copy of the FAA Memorandum from AIR-200.
- As a note, once the local FSDO office is ready to update the operating limitations, the owners can expect to go to that office and exchange their old operating limitations for a new set (face to face).
- The mailing addresses for local FSDOs is at: http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/field_offices/fsdo/