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Sign this Petition to Save our Sport!

By Ken Comments (6)

Just noticed a new petition over at to seek pilot representation on rule changes in FAA- 610. Go over and sign to help keep our sport alive!!!!

SOS: Save Our Sport- Open PILOT Representation in LightSport Rule Making

When the new lightsport rules were introduced in January 2010, there were 3500 registered ultralight instructors across the United States. In less than four years, only 48 professional instructors (~ 1%) remain in the industry. Some aircraft types have essentially zero instructors or legally eligible aircraft to instruct with. While the reasons for this drastic drop are multiple (including the economy & loss of hobby instructors)-- the drop is none the less shocking and results in an unsustainable condition for the sport.  What the Wright Brothers gave birth to in experimental light aircraft in the U.S., and Burt Rutan and many others continued, is being driven extinct by legislation.  Regardless of cause, it must be addressed.
Of all the changes that the LightSport rules brought, the requirement to instruct with only S-LSA aircraft arguably caused the most damage.  With this provision, the myriad of instructors who were formerly available and able to reasonably price themselves (using ~$25,000 aircraft), were forced to immediately purchase new nearly identical aircraft starting at nearly double the cost.  As noted by the overwhelming statistics, the vast majority of instructors were unable to make the change and still stay open to a public interested in entry level flying.  As a consequence, prospective students now must not only pay higher instruction rates, but also spend additional time & money driving across the state (or states) to obtain instruction.  With the downturn in the economy the previously reasonably priced light aircraft market should have faired well, or possibly better (especially with fuel prices & maintenance costs for larger/older aircraft sky rocketed).  Instead, with SLSA it was driven to collapse. 
There is no empirical evidence to support SLSA aircraft being any safer or having less incidents than similar ELSA aircraft, rather this policy has simply retarded the pathway into aviation for recreational pilots and the accumulative total number of hours flown. The policy has not made flying safer and in certain situations or aircraft classes, it has made flying more dangerous. For example, lightweight SLSA certified trainer aircraft most similar to what a Part-103 prospective pilot would like to train in became non-existant--  in general, SLSA trainers became larger and heavier.  The gap then for a 103 student pilot to transition from a larger heavier faster SLSA aircraft to his desired single seat 103 was much larger, and he would be making that transition alone (single seat).  Due to the heavy loss of instructors & additional costs, many students of ELSA / SLSA & 103 have been tempted (or forced) to do it on their own-- often with the disastrous results of no or incomplete (unable to fully afford) instruction.  Paralleling the loss of affordable instructors was the loss of maintenance personnel knowledgeable in these types of aircraft- an unfortunate & poignant example of this lack of knowledge of aircraft type is the crash by a mechanic in a hangar on 6/5/14 at Saratoga County Airport.  This was likely simple lack of familiarity with brake controls & kill switch on WSC craft.  Nearly all WSC pilots face this lack of knowledge from these new mechanics on their aircraft and subsequent lack of confidence in their inspections.  Compounding these safety concerns, the severe restrictions on modification of SLSA has forced many SLSA owners to avoid the legal pathways of maintenance and inspection or fly less safe with known inferior equipment (an add on GPS for example must have a letter of authorization (essentially transferring liability) from the manufacturer.)  We have to remember that Experimental craft formed the backbone of the US dominance in the industry-- from the Wright Brothers, to Burt Rutan, many now common critical components (such as glass panels) were first, primarily, or heavily influenced by experimental design.  Eliminating that test bed industry reduces safety and kills innovation.
In the Pre-2010 era, for some manufacturers, the chance to influence the rules of an industry may have seemed like a golden opportunity.  An entire fleet of ELSA aircraft would have to be exchanged for similar but brand-new SLSA aircraft.  The potential sales must have seemed enormous.  As seen however, the actual sales to convert an instruction fleet were disastrous.  We now realize that the involvement of a few industry insiders (manufacturers) in the sport, working exclusively (without sufficient public transparency & input) with the FAA to create rules that would ultimately radically change and nearly decimate the sport was not in anyone's best interest (even their own).
As revision of Lightsport rules via FAA 610 is now being discussed, we, the actual participant pilots of the sport, ask that input from the public be widely sought and significant efforts at transparency made.  At the same time, the inherent severe conflict of interest resulting from having a small work group mostly composed of non-elected industry (manufacturer and sales) insiders is untenable and shown to have adverse affects on the sport.  We would like broad participant representation and we would like to choose those who represent us in these negotiations to repair this industry which is just waiting to spring to life given the proper environment.

SOS: Save Our Sport- Open PILOT Representation in LightSport Rule Making

[Your name]



  • XC Triker

    Thanks Ken, I signed it, I don't see any reason not to.  The FAA needs to work for the pilots (after all, we pay them).  (BTW:  There is no reason people from other countries can't sign as well-- let them know the whole world is watching AND prevent this from coming to a country near you).

  • white eagle

    glad to sign it   when i bought my elsa trike i had a dream to teach people how to fly far 103   soon after faa 610 came into play and my dream was dead. why would it make sense to train pilots in a  a380 when all they want to do is fly a piper cub?how is saftey represented when a student has to get out of a a380 and then go  fly a cub.hope every member here steps up to the plate and signs this .i think almost everyone agrees that some form of change is in order?

  • TrikeBoyWonder

    I just ran across this petition this AM and read it thoroughly. It made perfect sense to me so I signed it. 

    We pilots don't have a voice or input in what the FAA boys decide for us and it is high time we did.  Industry insiders with obvious conflicts of interest and organizations like the EAA can't truly represent us pilots accurately.  I hope that this all might lead to some sort of permanent pilot manned steering committee of some sort in the future that could more easily communicate our unique needs to the power that governs us as pilots.  At least that would level the playing field, as currently there is zero input from us as a group.

  • Dale

    I signed it.

  • TrikeCFI

    I think this is a great idea. Let’s say it works. Let’s go to the next step. I have worked with AFS 610 for 10 years  now and I will do everything in my power to support this. Who wants to be the leader to coordinate and represent those who want their say? Who is going to step and carry the ball? How will this be done if we get what we want?

    Additionally it should be understood that  FAA AFS 610 are not the policy makers/ bad guys here.

    The Light Sport Aviation Branch manages and provides oversight of the sport pilot examiner and the light sport aircraft repairman-training programs.


    They perform

    • Acceptance of Light Sport Aircraft Repairman Training Providers
    • National Examiner Board
    • Oversight of Designated Pilot Examiners (Sport Pilot)
    • Designated Pilot Examiner Initial Training Seminar
    • Designated Pilot Examiner Recurrent Training Seminar

    It must be understood that this AFS 610 branch are a group of LSA enthusiasts. Yes there have been some people in AFS 610 that were not helpful to us, a pain in the butt, etc… but generally these are good people. They are just like any other profession (engineers, bankers, scientists, police, fast food server, cashier, construction worker, etc…), they do what they are told by their bosses/upper management. These AFS 610 FAA inspectors are the same. They enact policy passed down by their superiors. As I tell everyone, if you want to change things for the better, you must go to the policy makers, those who make the laws. The policy makers who created Sport pilot/LSA was and still is AFS 800 in Washington DC. If you try and blame the low level 610 branch for your problems, you are shooting at the wrong target, barking up the wrong tree. This is a waste of time and a detriment to the industry overall. Thanks for Part 103

    I have had my disagreements with policy, procedures, and especially with many of the current SP/LSA laws, but IT IS WHAT IT IS and just like I do as an engineer on a project, I do WHAT EVER IT TAKES TO DO THE JOB/COMPLETE THE MISSION. Do I always like this? NO

    Right NOW I know AFS 610 is transitioning management and I think there will be a number of improvements coming such as my three favorites. Each of which I want to push through myself.

    • Commercial WSC trike license.
    • All Sport Pilot CFI time can count towards Private pilot.
    • Easier LODAs for training in E-LSA 


    You can see further discussion on this at

  • TrikeCFI

    Joe Pilot was the 100th to sign it. AWESOME