Aviation Up In Arms Over Proposed FAA Rule Changes

Under new FAA rules, general aviation is about to undergo massive changes, none for the good, apparently. The FAA Airports Division issued a revised FAA Order 5190.6B, Airport Compliance Manual recently, that, as EAA described it, caught “just about every one off guard.” Not only that it went from 94 to 691 pages of new rules and regulations, and it makes major changes that will affect several aspects of general aviation.

Editors Note: Is this complete over-reaction by the FAA a result of the FAA running scared from TSA and its unwarranted and excessive general aviation proposals?

Here are some of the more controversial ones:

1) No more autofuel may be used in aircraft.
2) Light Sport Aircraft that can be trailered, and owners/operators of recreational aircraft such as powered parachutes, weight-shift-control and gyroplanes will be denied access to airports.
3) Permanent or long-term living quarters on airports, part-time or secondary residences, and developments known as residential hangars, hangar homes, campgrounds, fly-in communities and airpark developments – even when collocated with an aviation hangar or aeronautical facility, will not be permitted on publically funded airports.
4) The new manual failed to clarify the issue of providing reduced fair-market hangar rent for not-for-profit 501c(3) tax-exempt EAA chapters, whose community activities provide positive tangible benefits to their airports.

The item banning auto gas, EAA said, will affect 100,000+ airplanes that use car gas in their engines under FAA STC’s.

“Autofuel was not recognized as an authorized aviation fuel, nor does it suggest that airports take actions to install self-service, ethanol-free premium grade autogas pumps to support the 100,000+ aircraft that use autogas as their primary, FAA-approved aviation fuel,” the EAA noted.

“EAA has successfully worked with the FAA Airports Division for several years in resolving this issue,” the organization said.

The banning of trailerable Light Sport Aircraft, powered parachutes, weight-shift-control and gyroplanes was recognized as an activity not permitted because of the FAA’s through-the-fence (TTF) prohibitions, EAA said.

With the on-going development of special light-sport aircraft as recreational aircraft, including the roadable aircraft, this issue needed to be resolved, but wasn’t, EAA said. It would seem to mean the new Terrafugia flying car wouldn’t be allowed to drive on the airport and fly off the runway.

The FAA’s regulation saying it considers permanent or long-term living quarters on airport, part-time or secondary residences, and developments known as residential hangars, hangar homes, campgrounds, fly-in communities and airpark developments incompatible – when collocated with an aviation hangar or aeronautical facility – may be one of the biggest changes of all.

There re dozens, perhaps hundreds, of such fly-in communities around the country, most associated with publicly funded (meaning FAA money) airports.

The two leading general aviation organizations, EAA and AOPA, are examining the new manual for areas that need to be improved or clarified, an EAA spokesman said.
“They will then work with the FAA Airports Division to address the problem areas,” the pilots’ group said. When we put questions to EAA about their response to the new regulations, this is the answer we got:

Live-In Airparks
“As for residential airparks and the like, the early answer is: depends. Residential airparks on private airfields, or public airports that do not receive FAA funding, are not affected by the policy.

“If it’s a local public airport that receives FAA improvement funds, though, such residential developments would be affected. Whether existing developments are grandfathered in the policy is still a gray area.

“Many of the current arrangements are also under local jurisdiction and review whether or not the FAA policy had changed. As it appears now, aircraft parking/camping at aviation events such as Oshkosh is not covered by the new policy.

“The term ‘campgrounds’ indicates a permanently based campground at an airport instead of a temporary parking situation, which one finds at Oshkosh and other fly-ins.” Permanent campgrounds on airports seemingly are banned.

Asked if there specific concerns, the EAA’s public relations said definitely.
“Yes. In addition, one of EAA’s biggest objections is that the FAA policy was issued without public comment, and it did change the long-standing policy of permitting residential uses after evaluating the use, the economic return to the airport, and the management of unauthorized airport access/security issues. It was, in effect, establishing a rule by policy without proper public comment and input.”

However, he cautioned, “let’s not run screaming off the bridge quite yet. This is why EAA is asking for feedback from pilots and people in through-the-fence situations, so there is solid background and evidence to present to FAA.”