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SLSA Gyroplanes: A Disparity

Also, EAB aircraft vary considerably with respect to performance characteristics. Experimental Amateur-Built aircraft are intended by regulation only for “person(s) who undertook the construction project solely for their own education or recreation”. Part of that education can be constructing an aircraft to try new and unproven concepts, resulting in varying performance characteristics among EAB aircraft. Building an aircraft for the first time can introduce an additional element of danger when it comes time to fly that aircraft. To some degree, every Experimental Amateur-Built aircraft can be unique and every first-time flight of a newly built EAB is a test flight.

It isn’t my intention to diminish the value of the experience that amateurs gain from building experimental aircraft. I respect the notion of building aircraft for education and especially the notion of conceiving and testing new ideas. It’s a part of America’s renown for ingenuity.
I know persons who have built their own aircraft, either from a kit or based upon their own design, whose workmanship in construction is of a high quality. Especially with kits for which there are builders’ assistance programs, workmanship is of a high quality consistently. My point in elaborating the differences between EAB and factory-built aircraft is to distinguish the lesser consistency typical of the many other EAB aircraft.

Improved gyroplane training

A second important benefit of having SLSA gyroplanes would be improved training. To understand this issue better, let’s turn to Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. FAR Section 91.327 defines the few commercial activities allowed for an SLSA. One of those activities is flight training.

Sec. 91.327 Aircraft having a special airworthiness certificate in the light-sport category: Operating limitations.
(a) No person may operate an aircraft that has a special airworthiness certificate in the light-sport category for compensation or hire except—
(2) To conduct flight training.

Although Section 91.327 refers to operating “limitations”, paragraph (a) could be termed “permissions”. It identifies activities for which SLSA are permitted to be used for compensation or hire; that is, activities for which owners may receive money for the use of their aircraft, one of which is for conducting flight training.

Subparagraph (a) (2) of Section 91.327 is important not only because it permits SLSA owners to be compensated for the use of their aircraft to conduct flight training, but also because the permission is explicit in the regulation. It doesn’t require jumping through any other regulatory hoops to have it.

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Light-Sport Gyroplanes:
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