Long-Awaited LSA Rules Update on the Horizon

Van’s Aircraft’s current LSA offering, the RV-12, could be joined by others as LSA expands under MOSAIC.

After years of work, many revisions and endless meetings, the MOSAIC tree is about to bear fruit as the FAA is poised to release an NPRM covering MOSAIC (Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certification). MOSAIC is a wide-ranging program aimed at expanding the capabilities of Light Sport rules and the Sport Pilot license. When finalized, it could approve much heavier and faster aircraft under LSA and permit Sport Pilots to fly them. It would also allow some of these aircraft to conduct commercial operations.

In short, MOSAIC would expand the definition of LSA to include aircraft with up to four seats, a maximum level speed of 250 knots and a clean stall speed (VS1) of 54 knots. (This last part is a carryover from current LSA rules but is at odds with the long-held standard for FAR Part 23 aircraft, which have a maximum stall speed of 61 knots but this is allowed in the landing configuration.)

In the preamble, the agency says that “the FAA proposes to amend rules related to the certification and operation of light-sport category aircraft. This rule would modernize the regulatory approach to lightsport aircraft, incorporating performance-based requirements that reflect advances in technology and use cases for this type of aircraft. The proposal is designed to respond to the evolving needs of this sector and provide for future growth and innovation without compromising safety.”

MOSAIC would eliminate the maximum weight for the class, which has been a stumbling block to make the aircraft useful for two average adults and a reasonable amount of fuel, and lean on the stall-speed requirement to determine max weight with any given wing area. The proposed plan would also refine the definition of a powerplant, which now specifies a reciprocating engine, thereby putting electric propulsion in play. Restrictions on retractable gear and complex powerplant configurations (constant-speed prop) are also due to be removed under MOSAIC.

“MOSAIC had its genesis with a conversation between EAA and FAA officials nearly a decade ago, as we focused on safely creating more aviation opportunities for those who wanted to participate,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board. “Now that the NPRM has been released, we will study it closely and supply focused comments to ensure that the goals of this EAA-inspired initiative remain in the final language developed by the FAA. We appreciate the work of all those in the FAA who kept this process moving forward,” Pelton said. “EAA has led the effort on this initiative to expand freedoms while maintaining safety, and we will continue to push forward until it becomes reality.”

Sport Pilots will be able to fly any aircraft in the new LSA category but will be limited to one passenger even in four-seat designs and will be restricted to day/VFR conditions unless they have a Third Class medical or are covered under BasicMed.

The initial public release of MOSAIC runs more than 300 pages. It’s expected to generate significant conversation at AirVenture next week and will likely see some refinements through the public comment period active upon official publication next Monday. Currently, the MOSAIC NPRM’s comment period is set to run for 90 days after publication.


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