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FAA’s proposals “could open door for personal eVTOLs to be certified as light sports aircraft”

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has published a draft version of its Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certification proposal (MOSAIC) and, according to Flying’s Jack Daleo, “if MOSAIC is approved as written, helicopters and eVTOL aircraft would enter the light sport arena.”

He writes:

“Specifically, MOSAIC would allow rotorcraft (defined in the proposal as helicopters and gyroplanes) and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft—which I’ll use interchangeably with the FAA’s term “powered-lift” moving forward—to be certificated as light sport aircraft…. Under current rules, LSA are defined as aircraft other than rotorcraft or powered-lift designs. But the FAA proposes allowing both categories to obtain special airworthiness certification in the light sport category if they are eligible under proposed Section 22.100, which includes the new weight, cruise speed, and stall speed requirements.”

According to the draft regulations:

“The current § 1.1 definition of light-sport aircraft excludes helicopters and powered-lift from being considered as light-sport aircraft. The FAA proposes to allow the airworthiness certification of rotorcraft and powered-lift as light-sport category aircraft under § 21.190, provided these aircraft are certificated in accordance with the proposed performance-based requirements in part 22 using an FAA-accepted consensus standard as a means of compliance. This proposed rule would allow any class of aircraft to be eligible for certification in the light-sport category, so long as the aircraft meets the CFR 1.1, which defines class, for purposes of the certification of aircraft, as a broad grouping of aircraft having similar characteristic of propulsion, flight, or landing.”

This change would essentially allow any aircraft class to be certified as light sport, so long as they meet those Part 22 performance requirements and are eligible under Section 22.100, writes Daleo. Trained compliance staff would also be required to ensure the aircraft fits with the FAA-accepted consensus standard,

“While MOSAIC proposes to lift the two-seat limitation for light sport aircraft, rotorcraft and powered-lift aircraft would still have that restriction,” he concludes. “This means air taxi models, like Joby or Archer Aviation’s, wouldn’t fit the bill, but personal eVTOLs with one or two seats would be eligible.”

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