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ASTM News Clips
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F37 Sub committees
F37.30 Power Parachute
F37.40 Weight Shift
F37.60 Lighter than Air
F37.70 Cross Cutting
Airframe Emergency Parachutes
Fixed Base Operator
F37.70.10 Hang Glider and Paraglider Tandem Operations Task Group
Example of Documents (PPC sub committee)
F 2244 Design and Performance
F 2240 Quality Control and Design Documentation
F 2243 Required Product Information
F 2242 Production Acceptance Testing
F 2241 Continued Airworthiness
ASTM News Clips
FAA Accepts First LSA Consensus
S-LSA and E-LSA kits now one step closer to reality
accepted the first industry-developed consensus standards for light-sport
aircraft (LSA) Wednesday, February 16, making the reality of ready-to-fly
special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) and experimental light-sport aircraft
(E-LSA) kits one step closer. John Hickey, FAA’s director of aircraft
certification services, signed the Notice of Approval (NOA) for 19 standards
required for the manufacture of various LSA. The ASTM International F-37
Light-Sport Aircraft Committee developed the standards. With EAA President Tom
Poberezny seated at his side, Hickey signed the notice stating, “It gives me
great pleasure to sign this here at EAA headquarters where so much work has been
dedicated to making the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule and its
implementation a reality.”
ASTM INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE CONTINUES TO BUILD INFRASTRUCTURE FOR LIGHT-SPORT
EAA leads industry-wide efforts to create consensus standards
May 25, 2004 - The ASTM International committee that is developing consensus
standards for light-sport aircraft under the upcoming sport pilot/light-sport
aircraft rule continued its success last week, as government, industry and
aviation user groups gathered in Salt Lake City. The committee, chaired by Earl
Lawrence, EAA vice president of government and industry relations, approved
additional aircraft standards and also began work on other infrastructure areas
for successful light-sport aircraft development.
ASTM International standards establish industry criteria on thousands of
products and are known for their high technical quality and market relevance.
These standards are an important part of the information infrastructure that
guides design, manufacturing, and trade throughout the global economy.
"This ASTM committee has matured through the past two years and is now truly
providing the foundation for the successful development of light-sport aircraft
of all types," Lawrence said. "In addition, this committee has been an
outstanding example of what can be accomplished when various groups have the
common purpose of creating safe and practical standards for all."
A key measure approved during the ASTM session was a set of consensus standards
for weight-shift aircraft. These standards emerged from extensive debate that
addressed the complexity of these aircraft. A glider subcommittee was also
established to begin work on standards for gliders and sailplanes within the
light-sport aircraft rule, which is expected to be published by FAA this summer.
The ASTM committee also began work on guidelines for light-sport aircraft
airparks, fixed-base operators and other infrastructure elements. These
guidelines will give aviation enthusiasts and municipalities safe and thorough
standards to develop these support services for sport pilot enthusiasts, opening
the door for insurance and financing opportunities. These efforts include ways
to consider noise-level standards that would respect local communities while
providing practical benchmarks for manufacturers.
"Creating a new set of industry standards is complex work," Lawrence said. "Some
standards emerge quickly, while others evolve only after much effort. EAA is
proud to be at the forefront of the ASTM process, which has created an
atmosphere where diverse aviation groups can find common ground and enormous
potential for this new class of recreational flying."
EAA eHOT LINE, Vol. 3, No. 56
ASTM Engine and Airplane
Design Standards Complete
The light-sport aircraft (LSA) “Engine Design” and “Manufacturing and Airplane
Design” standards were balloted and approved at last week’s ASTM International
committee meeting in Tampa, Florida, held November 19–20. These approvals
provide manufacturers with a solid base from which to assess their aircraft or
engine’s ability to comply with the standard and to develop new products. In
addition a Task Group was formed to develop standards for engine conversions,
such as the 1/2 VW, Corvair and other non-aviation engines used in potential
light-sport aircraft. Anyone interested in participating in this Task Group is
invited to log onto the ASTM website,
www.astm.org , and search under “Technical Committees” for F37, Light-Sport
eMentor, Issue 0703b
ASTM Group Completes LSA Fixed-Wing Quality Standards
While the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft (SP/LSA) rule continues its final
federal paces, the ASTM International Fixed-Wing Committee has released its
first completed specification, the Standard Practice for Quality Assurance in
the Manufacture of Light-Sport Airplanes. The committee is nearing completion of
the remainder of its standards, which include design and performance, production
acceptance, required product materials, and continued airworthiness.
“This is a milestone in the work of the ASTM subcommittee for quality control,”
said EAA’s Earl Lawrence, who is the LSA committee chairman. “Work continues to
progress in the other areas, and when the final rule is published, manufacturers
will have official specifications, created by industry consensus, and they can
begin producing and marketing eligible light-sport aircraft sooner rather than
Other subcommittees report varying degrees of progress:
Parachutes: Completed all required initial specifications required by the
proposed SP/LSA rule.
Aircraft: The design and quality control specifications are out for balloting.
Gliders-Sailplanes: No action taken yet.
A full set of specifications is out for initial subcommittee balloting.
The committee expects
the engine and ballistic parachute specification approvals to be complete by
The Aero-News Network
An ASTM Consensus Standard meeting was held Friday 9/6/02 near Philadelphia, PA
at the ASTM headquarters. The primary object was the election of main
committee officers and the review of work completed to date.
Below are comments from Aero News Network on the main committee election
Sport Pilot Progress Report: Good (and Not-So-Good) News
Friday's ASTM Meeting Shows Progress
ANN Editor-In-Chief, Jim Campbell, back from the Northeast in time to cover the
NBAA Convention (starting tomorrow), was one of the participants in last
Friday's ASTM meeting in Conshohocken (PA). He summed up the meeting as a
"mostly positive and constructive event." Meeting at the ASTM headquarters
building, some 30 members of the sport aviation community, comprised largely of
manufacturers and a smattering of industry officials, got down to business.
"ASTM" is ASTM International (formerly known as the American Society for Testing
and Materials), a not-for-profit organization that provides "a global forum for
the development and publication of voluntary consensus standards for materials,
products, systems, and services." Last spring, a large gathering of industry
luminaries selected ASTM to be the standard bearer for the mandated "consensus
standards" (that will oversee the aircraft design criteria) that FAA deems
necessary for Sport Pilot to succeed.
Several months after this decision was made, a number of committees were
selected to start writing standards for this program; drafts of a number of
these standards are now available and are being offered to the membership in
anticipation of balloting and adoption over the next year. The first of a large
series of ballots is expected to start circulating within the next few weeks
with the entire process concluding and "finished" (hopefully) by next Fall.
Work on the most-prominent of these standards, that of the fixed wing sub-group,
appears to be proceeding well and with a minimum of political problems, thanks
to the no-nonsense leadership of FlightStar/HKS honcho Tom Peghiny (who is
getting very high marks from the Sport Pilot community for the work he's done so
far). Progress was also made with powered parachuting, powerplant, and
One of the most important steps taken at this meeting included the adoption of a
slate of officers that will be presented to the committee's membership for
possible election, shortly. Jim Campbell was a member of this committee, along
with Lockwood Aviation's Phil Lockwood, Capella Aircraft's Reid Howell, Titan
Aircraft's John Williams; and the FAA's Sue Gardner, John Riffey and Roy
Campbell reports that the slate that is to be presented to the membership
contains "an equal mix of good and not-so-good news." Campbell continued, "The
most positive aspect of the slate is the presentation of Rotax's Eric Tucker
(seen right) as the candidate for Vice-Chairman… his immense expertise and
non-political nature will make for a compelling selection. I was also pleased
with the selection of Phil Lockwood for Membership Secretary; and of the FAA's
Scott Sedgewick, USUA's Tom Gunnarson, and the AOPA's Andy Werking for the
'Member-at-Large' positions. The current decision to suggest limiting those
slots to just three people until the program matures and our needs become more
evident seems to be a good one."
More problematic though, is the decision to put forth an EAA Insider for the
Chairmanship. Campbell notes that "EAA's Earl Lawrence is an excellent selection
for some major role in the ASTM Process and the guy has consistently impressed
me with his competence in a number of roles, but there are great concerns over
any EAA staffer taking the leading role in this program when the organization's
excessive and somewhat naive hyping of the Sport Pilot program over the past two
years has led to a strong decline in SportPlane sales activity (from those
waiting for a rule that was strongly portrayed as 'right around the corner') and
created a strong suspicion that EAA will co-opt the entire process to suit their
purposes." Other concerns were raised about the selection of LAMA's Larry Burke
as the Secretary for ASTM's role in Sport Pilot. "Larry has been hyping an
association that basically hasn't done a thing for over a decade -- and the
biggest thing it ultimately did, was fail… such an affiliation with a person who
has, questionably, been trying to keep a failed program alive for so many years
hurts the credibility of the ASTM program."
While the slate suggested by the selection committee has a strong likelihood of
passage, other nominations may be made by the membership and added to the slate,
right up until the final balloting. A number of parties indicated that some
attempts to suggest additional or alternate candidates will be made.
The rest of the meeting went along far more smoothly, with some welcome efforts
by a number of members to keep the political speeches to a dull roar (with the
exception of one declining association honcho who still seems to like to hear
himself speak). Thankfully, strong industry presences such as Zenith designer
Chris Heintz, SkyStar President Ed Downs (seen right) and SAMA's Paul Fiduccia
often worked through the politics to get to the meat of the matter. ANN was
pleased to note that both Heintz and Downs were selected to play crucial roles
in two important efforts that are critical to the success of the ASTM consensus
The FAA was in attendance and indicated that progress on the NPRM was still
underway (which is about all they can say for the moment, under the rules that
apply to post-NPRM rule-making). The final rule for "Certification of Aircraft
and Airmen for the Operation of Light-Sport Aircraft," which will serve as the
basis for the Sport Pilot program, is still expected to be published early next
year, though the rules state that the 'final rule' does not have to be published
until September, 2003.
For the WHOLE story, go to
Members of T03 on Light Sport Aircraft
Some ASTM subcommittees are taking the opportunity for face-to-face time
at the AirVenture event in July. These are intended to provide forums for
gathering, updating, and/or promoting the activities. The next official
meeting of ASTM T03 on Light Sport Aircraft will be on September 6th, at ASTM
Headquarters. ASTM Subcommittees gathering at AirVenture:
iASTM Ultralight Subcommittee
Gathering – Ultralight area forum tent, Thursday at 4:00pm. This is a casual
gathering to focus on recruiting members for the ultralight subcommittee
iASTM Airplane Subcommittee Meeting – EAA Mini-museum, Sunday from
10:00am to 12:00n. The group will focus on document construction and future
iSubcommittee Leaders Meeting – EAA mini-museum, Sunday at 2:30pm.
Subcommittee leaders will discuss issues such as bylaws, officer ballots,
subcommittee progress, and cross-cutting issues. Members that are not
subcommittee chairpersons are welcome to attend.
May 2002 Roy Beisswenger
Arriving To A Consensus Standard
As the light
aviation community begins a move to Sport Pilot, there is another concern that
aircraft manufacturers are preparing for. That is the concept of a consensus
standard for Light Plane design and manufacturing practices. What I’ll try to do
this month is give manufacturers, potential manufacturers, and pilots an idea of
how this will impact our sport.
First I need to explain what Sport Pilot, Light Planes, and consensus standards
are and how they are related. Sport Pilot is a new rating that is being created
by the FAA. This rating is meant to be a means to legitimize pilots of machines
that are not really ultralights and are not FAA certified either. The Sport
Pilot rating is meant to take the place of the BFI/AFI/UFI programs that the
various alphabet soup organizations are running and at the same time give FAA
certified pilots that have lost their medicals a chance to fly heavier than
Since the Sport Pilot rating is an actual FAA pilot’s license, the FAA figured
that the aircraft that the actual sport pilots would fly should be some kind of
‘certified’ aircraft. Unfortunately, one of the problems with general aviation
(or GA) is that the certification process for aircraft is very expensive. That
in turn helps make GA aircraft expensive and that makes flying less accessible
to the general public (or GP).
So the FAA had to search for some kind of safety standard for the aircraft that
sport pilots would be taking to the sky. Believe it or not, there really is not
a fully accepted manufacturing standard for fixed wing ultralights and there is
no standard at all for the newer flavors of lighter aircraft like powered
parachutes, trikes, and gyroplanes. That’s great for folks that accept the risk
and choose to fly solo into the skies. That’s because less government overhead
keeps aircraft prices down and design innovations up for educated ultralight
pilots that understand the risk they are taking when they enter into the sport.
The problem occurs when someone climbs into a second seat on any aircraft. There
is a generally accepted thought that those types of aircraft should be built to
greater design and manufacturing standards.
That posed a problem for the FAA. The government folks really believe that
flying machines that are heavier, faster, and have more seats than an ultralight
should have to have some kind of certification. An alternative to the
full-blown, complicated types of certificates like Type Certificates and
Production Certificates is the idea of manufacturers self-certifying their
aircraft as built to a standard that has been agreed upon by the industry.
Of course the government is not going to just let manufacturers issue
Airworthiness Certificates just because the manufacturers are saying they’re
doing the right thing. (At least not technically.) That is still going to be a
job for Designated Airworthiness Representatives. DARs are individuals that act
under the general supervision of the FAA to inspect aircraft for certification,
to issue airworthiness certificates, and to issue documentation showing the
operating limits of a particular aircraft. However, most DARs don’t get their
money from the FAA unless they are already employees of the FAA. Many DARs get
their money from fees charged to folks that want their aircraft certified. In
fact, there is a realistic expectation that many DARs will work directly for
some of the light plane manufacturers. So kind of, in a way, it could look to
the untrained eye like perhaps that the government might just be letting
manufacturers issue their own Airworthiness Certificates. But you would be
Seriously, any DAR that signs on the dotted line for an aircraft takes on a big
responsibility that the aircraft is airworthy. That is one of the reasons that
part of the certification paperwork will be a signed statement by a principal of
the manufacturing company. That letter will state that the individual aircraft
was built according to the consensus standard accepted by the FAA. Oh, dear.
We’re back to consensus standards.
So What’s In A Consensus Standard?
A consensus standard sets out the basic rules that manufacturers have to
stick to when designing, building, delivering, and supporting a light-sport
aircraft. The rules are general so that they pertain to an entire family of
aircraft such as powered parachutes, trikes, fixed wing or gyroplane. They
include quality assurance standards, production acceptance standards, continuing
airworthiness and operational safety standards but that is just the beginning of
What most folks are focused on are the Aircraft Design standards. This is
because different manufacturers have different ideas of what constitutes a well
built aircraft. The consensus standard for a particular aircraft category will
address areas such as Flight, Structure, Design & Construction, Equipment, and
Operating Limits & Information.
Design standards for flight specify the minimum performance standards for the
aircraft type. Things like stalling speeds, takeoff distances, climb capability,
landings, controllability, maneuverability, stability and more are things that
designers can put numbers to and design for.
Structure standards define how strong an aircraft needs to be. Other measurable
things like loads, safety factors, flight loads, flight envelopes, design
airspeeds and more are things that the average pilot may not understand, but
count on being right when flying an aircraft.
Design and Construction standards specify how well an aircraft should be built.
Topics here include things we are more familiar with like fabrication methods,
self-locking nuts, pilot compartments, engines, propellers, fuel tanks, fuel
filters and the like. This is where the minimum standards for materials and
workmanship are addressed.
Equipment standards define what kinds of flight and navigation instruments
should be installed and what standards there should be for the instruments. It
also talks about engine instruments and safety belts and harnesses.
Finally, design standards also include what minimum information a manufacturer
should provide to the owner/pilot of that aircraft. ‘Small’ details like weight
and center of gravity, powerplant limitations, instructions for continued
airworthiness, airplane manuals, operating limitations, and operating procedures
are all going to presumably be required from manufacturers.
It is great to set up standards for manufacturing a product, but those standards
are no good unless the factory has a process to assure that each aircraft
produced conforms to the factory’s own design data. That is why the consensus
standards will also include standards for setting up factory quality assurance
QA programs cover entire manufacturing processes from testing and accepting raw
materials and components through final testing of the completed aircraft. Part
of QA programs involve setting up a QA organization that works with and
throughout the entire factory. Normally QA programs identify steps in the
production process where inspections or tests should be conducted to make sure
that all of the parts are being produced properly and out of the correct
After an aircraft is constructed it should be inspected to make sure that it
performs according to its standards as promised in its flight manual and as
demonstrated by the prototype aircraft. These are what are called Acceptance
Test Standards. These standards are actually part of the QA program but are set
out separately. Some of the measurements taken include empty weight and empty
center of gravity. Other items would require a test flight. Whether the aircraft
flies according to performance specifications, how controllable it is,
stability, stall speed, engine cooling, propeller limits, and other aircraft
systems are all done best in flight.
The QA standard would not necessarily mean that each plane be test flown, but
would acknowledge that a sampling should be flown to make sure that the planes
are being built properly.
The FAA also wants to make sure that the aircraft built to a consensus standard
remain airworthy after delivery. This is called “Continuing Airworthiness
Standards”. The FAA wants to make sure that there is a system in place to
monitor and maintain operational safety of aircraft after they leave the
factory. That could be accomplished by developing an agreement between
manufacturers and customers documenting each ones responsibilities to do just
that. Further, the manufacturer is supposed to make sure that customers do not
make modifications to in-service aircraft that would take that aircraft out of
compliance with the airworthiness standard. In fact, the manufacturer also has
to approve all modifications to the aircraft by the owner. The mechanism
detailing how to do these things can also be done through an agreement between
customers and manufacturers.
There are other topics like “Continued Operational Safety”, “Identification of
Safety of Flight Issues”, “Pilot Reporting of Occurrences of Safety of Flight
Issues”, and “Notification of Required Modifications to Operators”. Together,
these programs are supposed to help keep an aircraft safe after it leaves the
There needs to be a plan to first accept pilot reports of safety issues. Then
there needs to be a plan for the manufacturer to publish those issues to other
owners. If a modification is required, then there needs to be a procedure to
notify operators of the required changes to an aircraft to make it safe again.
Finally, before a company gets run out of business by having to advertise all of
its mistakes, it needs to have a program in place to continue this program after
its demise. This could take the form of an aircraft owners association or
There are other housekeeping items that need to be in a consensus document.
Items like the mechanism to keep the standards up-to-date and a way to issue a
“Safety of Flight Bulletin” in case the standard changes so much that something
radical has to be done to older equipment to make it safe.
As you can see, there are a lot of topics that need to be addressed, but that
does not mean that the document has to be complicated. For machines like powered
parachutes that have a great safety record, the document could presumably be
fairly thin. A lot of that depends on the folks writing the document.
So Who’s In Consensus?
A common misconception is that only the manufacturers get to participate in
writing the consensus standards. They get a very strong voice since they have a
strong interest in the outcome, but they are not the only players.
First the FAA is part of the process as well as the ultimate authority in
determining if the consensus standards are even accepted. To rephrase an old
saw, “If the FAA ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. But even the FAA answers to a
higher authority, in this case the Office of Management and Budget. The OMB
states that whatever group develops the consensus standard has to use an
acceptable process. Part of that process is making sure that interested parties
who are affected by the standard have a say in writing the standard if they
That means that pilots, instructors, resellers,
maintainers, component suppliers, and others can work with the manufacturers and
the FAA. There also has to be a “balance of interest” to make sure that
everyone’s concerns are considered and that the decisions made do not favor just
one particular group of people.
Even though the FAA has not made Sport Pilot a rule yet, industry folks are
already trying to decide how to go about writing the consensus standards for the
different flavors of aircraft. Who actually does the work has not yet been
Of course some of the user groups such as the Popular Rotorcraft Association and
the North American Powered Parachute Association are uniquely positioned to do
some of the work if they are able to. Both organizations are unique in that they
represent most of the constituents of a particular flavor of light sport plan.
Still another choice is a professional standards writing organization such as
ASTM or ASME. Both of those organizations know very little about aviation, but
know a lot about developing consensus standards for a variety of industries.
How Important Is Any Of This If I Already Own An Aircraft?
Actually if you already own an aircraft, none of this really matters to you.
These will be new standards that will be finished and adopted some time after
Sport Pilot goes into effect. Even if Sport Pilot is made into a regulation,
there are provisions in the proposed rule to bring existing aircraft into the
system as experimental aircraft. That will allow you to keep flying your older
aircraft as a sport pilot when the time comes.
Roy Beisswenger is founder of the Easy Flight Powered Parachute Training
Center in Greenville, IL. You can reach him at
Courtesy of UltraFlight Magazine,