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Working group recommends changes to non-certified aircraft

 

The CARAC Part V Maintenance and Manufacturing Working Group on Recreational Aircraft has completed its final report.

The report was made public on Dec. 12, 2006 as part of the document package prepared for discussion at the Jan. 11 and 12, 2007 Part V Technical Committee Meeting.

The formation of this working group was reported to COPA members in the February 2006 issue of COPA Flight. The article explained the mandate of the Working Group and the reasons for its formation in the first place.

The Working Group is headed by COPA staff member Adam Hunt and Transport Canada’s (TC) Brian Whitehead. Membership in the Working Group included representatives from virtually every organization interested in non-certified aircraft in Canada. The group met throughout 2006. The end result is a comprehensive collection of recommendations.

Some highlights of the 42 recommendations made by the Working Group include:

- To create a new single “Personal Transport” category to provide a home for all non-certified aircraft in Canada except basic ultralights and limited class aircraft, which will remain separate.

- Allow “advanced amateur-builts” that exceed the current amateur-built limits of four seats and 5,000 lbs. gross weight to be flown in Canada.

- Introduce a new vintage category to mirror the proposal for this category in the USA. To change the owner-maintenance category – allowing existing aircraft to stay in the category or transition to other categories, with no new aircraft to be put in it once the replacement vintage category is created.

- Include advanced ultralights in the new Personal Transport category and allow modifications to them in accordance with “acceptable data” instead of manufacturer’s approval. This will be a great benefit to AULA owners who own aircraft whose manufacturers are out of business and thus these aircraft cannot be legally modified at the present.

- To introduce the U.S. Light Sport Aircraft and the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association of Canada (LAMAC) proposed Personal Aircraft as sub-categories of the new Personal Transport category.

- Standardize required placards for all non-certified aircraft.

- Establish a Service Difficulty Reporting system for non-certified aircraft so that buyers and owners can find out about aircraft and their components that have a history of problems.

The complete text of the Working Group Final Report can be found on the COPA website in PDF format. All COPA members interested in non-certified aircraft are encouraged to read the final report.

The Working Group report is a long way from becoming part of the CARs.

It will be presented to the CARAC Part V M&M Technical Committee during the January meeting. The Technical Committee can then accept it or send it back to the Working Group for more work if they think it isn’t complete or didn’t meet the terms of reference.

Once the technical committee accepts it, then the report becomes advice to the TC’s regulatory committee. They may decide to implement all of the report, some of it or none of it.

Any parts that are selected for implementation will then be subject to a formal TC risk assessment and drawn up as Notices of Proposed Amendments (NPAs). These NPAs are sent to the M&M Technical Committee for industry and association input, comment and approval.

Once passed that stage the NPAs then go back to the regulatory committee for approval and then onto the Department of Justice for legal drafting.

After legal drafting they go to the Canada Gazette Part I for public comment and then onto Canada Gazette Part II when they become law and are entered as amendments in the CARs. Obviously this process could take some time.

Both COPA and its members will have the chance to comment on any proposals to change the CARs that come out of the report at the M&M Technical Committee and again Canada Gazette Part I consultation.

COPA input to the working group, including co-chairing it, means that COPA believes that the recommendations of this report will make aviation better than it is today for those people interested in owning and flying non-certified aircraft. COPA will continue to monitor the progress of the recommendations from this report as they make their way through the regulatory process.

Comments about the Working Group report can be sent to COPA Staff member Adam Hunt ahunt@copanational.org