LSA’s CHALLENGE—MEET FAA CERTIFICATION RECORDS REQUIREMENTS IN A WAY THAT MEETS INDUSTRY’S FINANCES

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ARTICLE: FAA begins LSA audits in March

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The Light Sport Aircraft sector holds great potential and hopefully the FAA’s new manufacturing rules for these vehicles will allow for innovation and growth. Not surprisingly, this effort to create a more flexible certification and production regime has caused some controversy about the ability of these OEMs to adhere to these rules.

The announcement that the FAA will audit LSA manufacturers is CRUCIAL to the future of this nascent industry. Having said that, the OEM’s compliance with the documentation requirements is deficient. These companies would be well advised to focus on this challenge – to use this six month period to bring their practices up to FAA standards and above.

This is a daunting task and the LSA industry would be well advised to find a resource which understands the FAA’s expectations and yet understands the limitations of the OEMs.

Failure to meet the expectations of the FAA auditors could have dire consequences to the LSA industry. While it is recognized that the business model for LSA manufacturers does not include substantial overhead for record keeping, there must be some recognition that the paperwork is a critical basis of FAA oversight. The regulatory predilection for paperwork may seem trivial, but these documents are a surrogate for the staff’s fulltime presence at the facility. The LSA industry needs to develop a documentation system that meets the agency’s exacting standards and yet make financial sense.

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