File this under history. Are you interested in old military aircraft? Have you flown in a restored military airplane or would you like to do so in the future? The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed to ban such flights in the future. For many historians, aviation enthusiasts, veterans, and descendants of veterans, such an action will be a disaster.
The following is extracted from an email message sent by the Collings Foundation:
DISCLAIMER: I am a member of the Collings Foundation as well as an Air Force veteran. I flew in some of these military aircraft when I was in the military and have also been fortunate enough to fly in two restored military airplanes in later years. I am also very interested in history, especially military history involving airplanes. This proposed moratorium is an issue that concerns me.
In 1996, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted an exemption from various requirements of part 91 and part 119 of the FAA regulations to the Collings Foundation to operate a B-17 and B-24 World War II bomber carrying passengers for the purpose of preserving U.S. military aviation history. In return for donations, the contributors would receive a local flight in the restored bomber. The Living History Flight Experience (LHFE) was created. Since then, over 100,000 people have had the opportunity to experience Aviation History firsthand through a flight in several American historic treasures. Many passengers are veterans and their families. It would be a national travesty not to be able to make military aircraft accessible to the public for flight experiences and living history events.
Over time, other organizations have applied for similar exemptions and in 2006, the FAA published a formal policy and set of rules for the Living History Flight Experience Exemption process. All of the groups operating under the LHFE program operate to honor our Nation’s veterans and educate our younger generations as to the sacrifice that these heroes made for our freedom. It is important to note that there has not been one accident, fatality or serious injury during an LHFE flight.
On March 23, 2011, the FAA placed a Moratorium on new applications for the Living History Flight Experience. Today the FAA is soliciting public comment on the 2006 rule. In particular, the FAA’s questions concern General LHFE Policy, Issuance and Limitations, Weather Minimums, Pilot Qualifications, and Maintenance and Inspections.
The Collings Foundation is asking everyone to familiarize themselves with LHFE, the proposed exemption questions and the Collings response, and then formally respond to the FAA at the official regulations.gov website. Responses must be posted before 06/18/2012. To view additional information see Classic Jet Aircraft Association's page HERE.
- Living History Flight Experience (LHFE)-Exemptions for Passenger Carrying Operations ...
- Read the LHFE NPRM responses posted to date
- Submit your personal response to the LHFE NPRM
Currently, aircraft that have a LHFE exemption are also at risk as there is no guarantee from the FAA that these letters will be renewed (especially considering recent actions taken by the FAA). The FAA has proposed a rule change involving the LHFE. The issues that the FAA have brought forward are virtually the same issues that has already been addressed at a conference in Oshkosh ten years ago at a meeting chaired by Director of Flight Standards, John Allen.
Examples of the FAA and DoD hostility include the LHFE exemption program moratorium, the recent change of how the airworthiness certificates for former military jet aircraft are issued and the attempt to modify the Title 10 Section 2571 to prohibit any transfer of Government aircraft or parts for any purpose other than static display (see April's eNewsletter regarding Congressman Michael Turner). We are certain that changes in the LHFE program are just another way to limit warbird operation.
The FAA is hosting a public meeting to discuss LHFE in Washington DC, June 26th thru June 28th. The FAA is looking for input from the public. If you would like to see historic aircraft continue to fly in honor of our Veterans and be able to experience flying in these aircraft your support is needed. Tell the FAA and your local representative to leave the existing LHFE alone. This policy should be expanded, not contracted. It is important to present a cohesive front to the FAA before the rules become more draconian.
Talking Points (for FAA letters):
- Leave the current LHFE policy alone.
- Allow operators to offer aerobatic flight.
- Allow operators to let the passenger manipulate the flight controls.
- Allow "replica" aircraft like the Me-262 to receive an LHFE exemption.
- Remove the unnecessary provision that forces us to have arrestor gear for the
F-4 and TA-4
- End the unnecessary moratorium immediately and process the Collings Foundation's requests as expeditiously as possible.
To view the Collings Foundation's formal letter to John Allen, Director of Flight Standards in response to concerns listed CLICK HERE (If you can not view - go to top of email and click on "at this link" then click on letter again to download directly from our server)
All comments have to be received by June 18th.
For those unable to attend the meetings, written comments (identified by docket number FAA-2012-0374) may be submitted using a number of methods (shown below):
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for sending comments electronically. We encourage you to CC the Collings Foundation at: email@example.com
Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590.
Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.
The FAA claims that, "written comments to the docket will receive the same consideration as statements made at the public meeting."
Additional important contacts:
FAA acting administrator Michael P. Huerta. CLICK HERE
Your local Representative. CLICK HERE
Transportation Committee Members. CLICK HERE
If you enjoyed this article, please share it with others. Tweet it, share it on Google+, Facebook or on your preferred social network.
Republishing of this article in newsletters, blogs, and elsewhere is allowed and encouraged, with a few minor restrictions. Details may be found at http://goo.gl/hoHH1.
Of course, if you haven’t done so already, you should join my email newsletter mailing list to stay current on my latest articles and announcements. You can also cancel at any time within seconds.