No News is the News at FAA “51% Rule” Forum


The FAA’s Don Lausman gave a talk today at Sun ‘n Fun as an update on the revisions to the Advisory Circulars governing Experimental/Amateur-Built rules. In it, Lausman said that, “the talk I intended to give and the one I’m about to give are two different things,” citing the fact that the FAA is about to get a new administrator in Randy Babbitt. “It wouldn’t be fair to the new administrator to introduce new rules without him having any input.”The final draft of the new Advisory Circulars is due out July 31, 2009, during EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.Today’s seminar focused instead on the great number of public comments received by the agency. There were some 2273 individual comments files, including 1300 pro-forma entries, and of the total, some 900 opposed, specifically, the proposed requirement for a specific percentage of builder fabrication. (This is the so-called 20/20/11 provision, where 20 percent of the project must consist of “fabrication” by the builder, with 20 percent being assembly; the remaining 11 percent can be either.) In addition, the vast majority (98 percent) specifically was opposed to changing the FAA policy at all.Lausman also said that a reconvening of the Advisory Rulemaking Committee in late January was so successful that all the areas of discussion were covered in a single meeting. While Lausman refused to predict what the final ACs will say, he did admit that the original definition of fabrication–to create from raw materials–was inadequate to the task and has been revised. Moreover, he said that certain aspects of the multi-point checklist to be used by Designated Airworthiness Representatives for the purpose of licensing homebuilts will also be revised. “We have tried to keep the pain level low,” said Lausman, referring to the process of updating the rules for builders.


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