United States - FAA ~ Ultralight (part 103)
United States - FAA ~ Sport Pilot / Light Sport Aircraft
United States - FAA ~ Experimental - Amateur BuiltFAR Part 21.191(g).
Canada - TP10141 Design Standards for Advanced Ultralight Airplanes See RAA binder.
Britain - BCAR-S (Britain's Civil Airworthiness Requirements Section S-Small Light Airplanes)
European - JAR - VLR (Very Light Rotorcraft)
United States - FAA ~ Ultralight (Part 103)
None of the following material has been updated sinceAugust 1, 2005
See Ultrasport booklet 'FFA Advisory Circular Concerning Amateur-Built Aircraft Policy and the Eligibility of the Ultrasport as a Amateur-Built and Ultralight Rotorcraft'.
and also Ultrasport booklet 'Airworthiness Standard for the Ultrasport amateur Built Helicopters'. This seems to follow FAR part 27.
"The FAA has ruled that the maximum speed of 63 mph normally applied to fixed wing ultralights does not apply to helicopters due to their unique power curve."
Have any of the FAA representatives or the EAA commented about the possibility of the FAA eventually canceling FAR Part 103 and have all light aircraft come under Sport Pilot/Plane?No
It just seems that light aircraft manufactures will have strong reasons to stop producing Part 103 compliant craft, since;
1/ They will no longer have to meet a difficult weight restriction.
2/ Their craft will have less limitations, such as fuel and speed.
3/ They are assured that those that fly their craft have a minimal level of competence.
United States - FAA ~ Sport Pilot & Light Sport Aircraft
SPORT PILOT / LIGHT SPORT AIRCRAFT NPRM
The following is intended to outline the major elements of the NPRM and to provide insights to gyroplane issues with the NPRM. There are three major elements to the NPRM: ~ March 21, 2002
1) Pilot Certification - Sport Pilot
2) Aircraft certification - Light sport
3) Repairman certification - for both ready-to-fly and kit built under Light sport rules
Light Sport Aircraft:April 19, 2001 from PRA Rotorcraft publication.
The FAA has specifically excluded helicopters from this NPRM for complexity reasons. "Complex" aircraft, such as with variable pitch propellers or retractable landing gear are specifically excluded for the same reasons. Also the quality and tolerance precision standards for helicopter components and kits are considered beyond the proposed simplicity of standars for the new sports aircraft. The door is open however, for inclusion of such "complex" aircraft in the future under the flexibility allowed in SFAR rule-making procedures. (Underlining by DBJ)
Comment by DBJ ~ It would appear that even if a helicopter (or any type of aircraft) could be made that was the easiest thing in the world to fly, it will still not be included into Sport Plane/Pilot because of the complexity of the building and maintaining the craft. The one possable opening is the last sentence in the previous paragraph. Perhaps complex components could be included in the craft if the components were certified and the owner could only check and replace them, not work on them. For the UniCopter this will probably consist of the rotor hub, flight controls and rotor governor. Another thought is that if may of the components have 'unlimited life' or are 'on-condition', then the craft might be accepted into Sport Plane.
An alternative might be to forget Sport Aircraft and go for an experimental (then fully certified?) craft, which incorporates the ABC features plus.
http://www.aerosports.org/sport_pilot_summary.htm ~ August 1, 2005
http://www.sportpilot.org/ ~ January 31, 2002
www.eaa.org January 31, 2002
http://www.faa.gov/avr/arm/sports013001.htm February 1, 2002
http://www.pra.org/ February 1, 2002
http://www.faa.gov/avr/afs/sportpilot/ ~ February 11, 2002
http://www.pra.org/NPRM/man_instr_.htm ~ March 13, 2002
Posting to rec.aviation.rotorcraft ~ March 26, 2002
I communicated with Ms. Sue Gardner at FAA a year ago, to discuss the apparent exclusion of helicopters, and also to discuss the future possibility of including new types of aircraft, should they prove to be safe. She said that the potential for future additions is definitely part of the Sport Pilot / Plane.
This *may* be good for rotorcraft since it will cause developers to focus on safety. However, it will be a large leap, because an airplane with a variable pitch prop or a retractable landing gear is currently excluded.
My feelings are that it might be possible to produce a much safer helicopter, for [Aircraft Certification]. It may then be possible for this helicopter to result in a simpler license, for [Pilot Certification]. However, it is questionable whether the design and construction of this helicopter can be simple enough to allow for a [Repairman Certification].
One hope is that specific component assemblies of the craft might be certified and sealed. The pilot / repairman is then only allow to inspect and replace these complete assemblies. This could be a compromise between today's uncertified craft and a fully certified craft. An example of this might be a helicopter that has unlimited-life composite blades and fuselage while the rotor hub and transmission are certified and sealed.
This will result in a helicopter and pilots license that is expensive from a homebuilt/ultralight perspective, but inexpensive from a 'real' helicopter perspective.
The following is a potpourri of rough old information and maybe misinformation related to current and future Regulations and Licensing.
Sport Pilot Certificate:
SUMMARY: This notice proposes to establish a new kind of airman certificate called a sport pilot certificate and new eligibility requirements appropriate to the proposed new certificate. This proposed new airman certificate would be intended for persons who wish to fly aircraft of simple design intended exclusively for recreational and sport flying. The sport pilot certificate is necessary to provide a reasonable and appropriate means of certification for pilots that wish to operate certificated lightweight, uncomplicated, slow speed, and very diverse types of aircraft. These aircraft would be two-place or less, have a maximum certificated takeoff weight of 1,232 pounds or less and a maximum stall speed of 39 knots (airplanes only).
License ~ U.S. ~ Recreational Pilot Helicopter - Initial
Date: September 13, 2000 09:38 AM
Author: Don Parham (
Dave, You mentioned the weight problem. For us here in the USA that problem will be going away in 2001. The FAA is generating a new experimental category which will encompass all "overweight" ultralights and two place ships under 1232 lbs. (allowable gross weight) and the customer can buy the ship fully assembled and will not be required to meet the 51% rule. Also, the Sport Pilot rating is being implemented which will allow pilots to fly without a class 3 medical. A valid drivers liscense is all that will be required. The NPRM is scheduled to be published in January 2001 and the FAA expects to have it completed by the Oshkosh flyin in July/August 2001. They have given this project top priority. What is taking place is the USA is coming in line with the Canadian Advanced Ultralight and European Microlight rules.
Date: September 13, 2000 10:56 AM
Author: John Uptigrove (
Can you give details? In Canada you still need an "ultralight" pilot's license to fly a Canadian ultralight. Also, gyro's and choppers don't fit into this category in Canada. You have to still get a chopper or gyro rating. Do you know what the situation will be down there? Will there still be an ultralight category? What's the difference between a sport pilot and a private pilot down there?
Date: September 13, 2000 01:59 PM
Author: Don Parham (
The Sport Pilot rating has been in the works for over three years and is finally coming to a head. The EAA announced in their publications, Experimenter and Sport Aviation that the Sport Pilot rating and light aircraft certification categories are on "fast track" by the FAA. The FAA has assigned the highest priority possible to the project which will allow a Sport Pilot to operate "light aircraft" that are powered or unpowered, single engine, 1232 lbs. gross weight, and two occupants or less. The proposed ruling will allow ultralight pilots and instructors to credit their flying experience toward a Sport Pilot rating. Basically, it looks like the feds will "grandfather" in ultralight AFIs and BFIs into the Sport Pilot and Sport Pilot instructors and examiners ratings. Sport Pilots have to be 16 years of age and have a class 3 medical or a valid driver's license. They are also working on a repairman's certificate for "light aircraft". The FAA is also working on certification and training requirements for trikes and powered parachutes. I am only assuming that "light aircraft" will include gyroplanes and helicopters since it will be an experimental category. It should include all types of flying machines and since they are working on requirements for trikes and powered parachutes, they more than likely will include other types also. That is the feedback I received a couple of years ago from a representative of the ARAC working group that was outlining the basic requirements for the Sport Pilot rating and Sport Plane category. I realize that Canada does not have the same regs as we, but the EAA is working with Transport Canada to allow US Sport pilots to operate in Canada since Canadian ultralight pilots can fly in the US. There are still a lot of "ifs" but the NPRM is supposed to be published in the National Register in January 2001. So, we will have to just wait and see what happens.
Date: September 13, 2000 10:52 PM
Author: Dave Jackson (
The following two web sites appear to cover the subjects of Categories and Licenses.
Primary Category - Sportplane Certification Benefits and Options
"Sport Pilot" Proposed Rule
It looks, to me, like the Ultralight Category (Part 103) may just disappear into the Primary Category. Anyone know or think otherwise?
Date: September 14, 2000 08:11 AM
Author: Chuck Roberg (
The two organization's pushing for Sport Pilot are the EAA and ASC (Aero Sports Connection). USUA (United States Ultralight Assn.) is not supporting Sport Pilot but they said they will not opose it either. USUA wanted a change to part 103 to increase the ultralight limits.
*Part 103 will be left unchanged and left in it's present form. So for those who want to stay ultralight there will be no change.*
It would be in the best interest of anyone flying ultralight and who has no pilot certificate to get with a BFI or AFI and get registered as an ultralight pilot with either ASC or EAA. This will help you to get grandfathered in under Sport Pilot by only needing a check ride and a written test.
I have been to 3 seminars on Sport Pilot and if it becomes a rule it should give a shot in the arm to general aviation.
Here's a summary of the Osh Kosh 2000 briefing.
Sport Pilot Proposal Officially Given to the FAA
The Sport Pilot Proposal Explained
Date: September 14, 2000 11:11 AM
Author: Dave Jackson (
I don't know what the h--- I'm talking about, but have just spent 8-10 hours researching this subject on the Net. The following is a summation of this search.
It appears that the Sport Pilot Certificate and the Primary Category are two separate, but related subjects.
re: Sport Pilot Certificate
The latest and greatest coverage of this subject appears to be The Sport Pilot Proposal Explained [EAA] ,as mentioned in Chuck Roberg's posting. Rotorcraft are included.
Some quotes are;
"It is important to understand that this proposed rule would establish a new AIRMAN certificate. It DOES NOT address any new AIRCRAFT category"
"An overall goal of this proposal is to enhance safety by providing a pilot certificate for persons who have outgrown the limitations of present part 103 without making the requirements for that certificate so stringent as to be economically impractical, at least for the larger market segments. (emphasis added) This goal would be achieved by tailoring sport pilot rating requirements to the specific category and class aircraft to be flown."
re: Primary Category Aircraft
There does not appear to be any reference to rotorcraft. There is an attempt to have this category compatible with the European and Canadian ones.
The Europeans currently have a (JAR-VLA) (Joint Aviation Requirements - Very Light Aircraft) category and are looking at creating a (JAR-VLR) (Joint Aviation Requirements - Very Light Rotorcraft) category. The Canadians currently only have a (JAR-VLA) category, basically identical to the Europeans.
The initial push for the European (JAR-VLR) is by the Italians. There is a publication called Registro Aeronautico Italiano - Very Light Rotorcraft (RAI VLR). It describes the requirements for the release of the certificate type for single-engine helicopters having no more than 2 seats and a maximum take-off weight 600 Kg.
A Web page on this subject is;Masquito page on Regulations Go to [Sales Information] then [Regulations]. There is a section at the end of this page on the US "Primary Category" for Very Light Helicopters.
What reason is there to manufacture rotorcraft in the Ultralight Category instead of manufacturing them in the Primary Category - Experimental - Amateur Built (Experimental Homebuilt category), if one excludes the pilot's licensing requirement?
Date: September 14, 2000 02:56 PM
Author: Chuck Roberg (
Actually there WILL be a new category of light aircraft. I don't have my notes with me so I don't have the new FAR part number.
This IS NOT going to be done over night even if it's approved. There is a provision for a three year Implementation plan in order to get the infrastructure in place.
Date: September 13, 2000 02:29 PM
Author: Dave Jackson (
Don; Thanks for a very interesting posting. It is certainly going to cause John and myself to reassess our helicopter projects. It might also have quite an effect on the marketability of American SportsCopter's 254.
Any answers to John's questions will be of much value. Particularly the one where he asks if this new category is going to replace or compliment the existing Part-103.
It probably goes without saying, that there will be a very interesting article coming up in 'Homebuilt Rotorcraft'
TO: Rotorcraft Conference participants
FROM: PRA Safety Coordinator
The proposed Sport Pilot/Aircraft FAA rules would not include rotorcraft and hovercraft, and the exemption for ultralight two-place training would be discontinued -- if the FAA rules were adopted as discussed at the Air Sports Expo in Indianapolis.
This information came from a Feb. 15, 2001, e-mail from Larry Burke, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturing Association, to companies that manufacture gyro kits. On Feb. 19, 2001, Sue Gardner of FAA confirmed it is part of the content of the upcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
MAJOR SAFETY ISSUES
There are tremendous safety issues here, if the FAA adopted the Sport Pilot rules as described.
First, any rotorcraft that are being flown as "heavy ultralights" would not be able to become legal under the Sport Pilot/Aircraft rules. Their pilots would not be able to fly these rotorcraft under the same rules. "Heavy ultralight gyros" would need to be licensed as Experimental aircraft, and a minimum of an FAA student pilot's license with FAA Certified Flight Instructor training would be required to be legal.
Second, all of the current gyro flight instructors who teach under the Aero Sports Connection exemption and use ultralight two-place gyros weighing under 496 pounds -- would disappear. It would even be illegal to fly their former-ultralight two-place gyros for instructional purposes, or for any other purposes.
Obviously, if gyros were included in the Sport Pilot/Aircraft rules, it wouldn't matter if the ultralight two-place trainers disappeared. They'd reappear as Sport Pilot trainers.
As you know, no flight training is required to fly an ultralight gyro. Though FAA would still require no training, to attempt to fly any gyro without training is tantamount to suicide. Under the proposed FAA rules as described, the only place that ultralight pilots could get gyro flight training would be from FAA Certified Flight Instructors. Typically they fly heavier, faster gyros than those used by current ultralight instructors. Transition from the heavier gyros to ultralight gyros would probably be more difficult.
The most unsafe aspect of the new rules as described is that the number of gyro CFIs is very small. Not all gyro CFIs train students on a regular basis. Those that do are booked far in advance. For the budding ultralight pilot, the temptation to self-train would be tremendous... and the result would likely be an increase in gyro fatalities because a whole tier of gyro instructors would have been eliminated by the proposed FAA rules as described.
WHAT "ROTORCRAFT" MEANS
Mike Solano of Air Command says he is convinced that the FAA lumped everything with rotorblades into "rotorcraft and hovercraft." He says that he believes the framers of the proposed FAA Sport Pilot/Aircraft rules do not know the operational differences between gyroplanes and helicopters. This is probably true, as it is unrealistic to expect FAA rule designers to be all-knowing when it comes to gyros. From what Mike has found out, it appears that FAA's concern with rotorcraft is with the mechanical complexity of small helicopters and the difficulty of flying them safely. If this is true, FAA's lack of knowledge about gyros is what makes them want to throw out the baby with the bathwater... they don't know any better. Mike, if I have misstated this, please post a message to clarify it.
Of the estimated 4,000 members of PRA, I would be surprised if 20 actually are flying ultralight helicopters. The only ultralight helicopters I have ever seen fly are the American SportsCopter Ultrasport 254 and the Japanese four-engined Gen H-4, which is still under development. On the other hand, I can think of at least 10 gyros that might satisfy the ultralight requirements, including the venerable Bensen B8-M with a Mac engine. These are owned and flown by hundreds of people.
DIRECTION TO BE TAKEN BY PRA SAFETY PROGRAM
My recommendation, from a flight safety viewpoint, is to include gyroplanes as part of the NPRM.
I decided the best use of my efforts was to show the FAA why gyros were potentially safer than small helicopters. If you'd like to do this -- or show why small helicopters are safe to fly and safe to learn to fly -- now's the time to say something.
In the e-mail from Sue Gardner of FAA, she wrote to me on 2/19/01: "The FAA will not only consider, but requests, all of your comments during the NPRM comment period. The FAA will evaluate all the comments and make modifications to the NPRM for the final rule as necessary. I am asking that you help us in the collection of these comments, by consolidating your responses so that we do not spend our time answering many of the same comments, but instead are responding to the direction that the gyroplane industry sees as the safest and appropriate direction that the FAA should take."
Because this is a SAFETY ISSUE, I am sending this message to all the PRA Safety Reporters on the PRA Safety Net. I am also posting it on the Rotorcraft Conference. I'd like you to circulate this information to gyro people in your chapters and elsewhere -- and ask them to send their comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sending comments directly to Sue Gardner will only clog her e-mail system. Due to the potentially explosive impact of the FAA interpretation regarding rotorcraft, it is likely that FAA, and possibly Ms. Gardner, will be receive e-mail messages couched in inflammatory terms. Some people may see FAA as "the enemy" and write things which they would never say face-to-face. I do not think that messages like that help the cause... and if the FAA thinks we are a bunch of jerks, there goes the credibility of anything we say.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
In your comments to me, please address ONLY safety issues. I cannot not speak for the leadership of the Popular Rotorcraft Association, for the leadership of any PRA chapter except Chapter 007, or for any of the rotorcraft manufacturers. If your comment is not safety-related, I will not pass it on. I will not include accusations about the FAA or anyone else. Keep your comments businesslike, back your statements up with facts if needed, and recommend what you think FAA should do to change the rules as described in this message.
A copy of Larry Burke's letter is on the Rotorcraft Conference under "Sport Pilot" if you want to read it. It tells much more about the Sport Pilot proposal than the two items I have selected.
If you want a copy of my 2/18/01 e-mail query to the FAA on the Sport Pilot content, or of Sue Gardner's 2/19/01 e-mail reply, please let me know by direct e-mail.
Last thing, the public comment period for the Sport Pilot/Aircraft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking has NOT opened as of 2/20/01. It may not open until April 2001, or perhaps later. Regardless of when it opens, send me your comments as soon as possible. I will consolidate them, and I will e-mail a copy of my summary to you when it is sent to the FAA.
I don't regularly check Rotorcraft Conference, so please send your comments directly to in addition to posting them here for all to see.
National Safety Coordinator
Popular Rotorcraft Association
P. O. Box 303
Red Oak, Texas 75154
to rec.aviation.rotorcraft; September 14, 2000
A couple of questions, to anyone who might know the answers.
1/ Does the current FAA Primary Category encompass helicopters?
2/ If it does, then considering this in conjunction with the proposed Sport
Pilot Certificate; What reason(s) will there be for a company or individual
to manufacture a helicopter to Ultralight (FAR Part 103) compliance, when it
could be manufactured to Primary Category - Experimental - Amateur Built
(experimental homebuilt) compliance?
United States - FAA ~ Experimental - Amateur Built
FAR Part 21.191(g).
British ~ Very Light Helicopter
CAP 750: British Civil Airworthiness Requirements Section VLH - Very Light Helicopters
1) is designed to carry not more than two occupants;
2) has a maximum weight not exceeding 750 kg;
3) is restricted to day/VMC operations in non-icing conditions;
4) is of orthodox design incorporating:
i) a single main rotor; See b) below.
ii) a skid, ski or fixed float landing gear;
iii) a single engine spark or compression ignition; and
iv) a simple fuel system.See b) below.
5) The design is to exclude:
i) hydraulic systems;See b) below.
ii) boosted flight controls;See b) below.
iii) combustion heaters;
iv) external loads; and
v) emergency flotation gear.
(See AMC VLH 1 a).)
b) Where these requirements are inappropriate to particular design and construction
features, it will be necessary to reconsider the validity of the requirements for each
particular case and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) must be consulted as to the
European JAR ~ Very Light Rotorcraft
The initial issue ofJAR-VLR Very Light Rotocraft. Sept./01/2003 ~ Have hard copy in thin blue binder.
All the current JAA codes can be downloaded for free at...http://www.jaa.nl/section1/jarsec1.html
Joint Aviation Authorities
"Incidentally we're no better off in Europe; the JAA is currently hawking JAR-VLR (Very Light Rotorcraft) about the bazaars, yet if you read the draft it says it includes gyros, but in the text permits only a skid undercarriage. There is no gyro theory within the text, it's all entirely written around helos." ~Genghis the Engineer, PPRuNe, November 5, 2001
The Dragon Fly is a factory-built model being certified under Italy's new Very Light Rotorcraft specifications. Certification of the helicopter's Hirth piston engine is expected imminently, with certification of the model by year end. With a max weight of just 992 pounds (450 kg), the helicopter features a two-bladed main and tail rotor, skids, high visibility bubble canopy, and traditional cyclic and collective controls.
very light rotorcraft (VLR) whose mass does not exceed 600 Kg.
For Very Light Rotorcraft, CS-VLR Amdt 1 is the certification specification. ~ February 28, 2010
Ultralight Regulations in Various Countries
Federal Aviation Regulations
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