The development of the FAA’s MOSAIC, or the Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certificates (formerly known as Permit to Fly) began in meetings with industry representatives in 2013. In additional meetings nearly two years ago, EAA was the first to comprehensively explore modifications that would help the light-sport category reach its full potential and further build on the successes of the amateur-built regulations that EAA has been championing for decades.
MOSAIC has effectively emerged from those conversations and evolved into proposals that encompass improvement for a broad spectrum of personal-use flying: LSAs, amateur-builts, sport pilot privileges, and even the vast legacy GA fleet. EAA has continually engaged with FAA officials by regularly visiting Washington, discussing it annually during our distinctive EAA/FAA Winter Aviation Summit in Oshkosh, and showcasing the potential enhancements to senior FAA management during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. As a result of EAA’s efforts, the FAA fully understands the potential of MOSAIC and has even stated its strategic importance in their rulemaking process.
As MOSAIC has evolved over the past year, a key focus has been on developing performance-based metrics for LSA instead of isolating weight as a sole determinant for reform. These inclusions would consider larger aircraft, as well as better aircraft handling, durability, and performance. It also means more options for the flight training community where many smaller operations are relying on 40- and 50-year-old airframes that don’t showcase the technology available for student pilots today. Who wouldn’t want to learn in newer and more modernized aircraft if given the choice?
In the amateur-built area, MOSAIC provides additional options such as expanded commercial assistance or fully demand-built aircraft. It also includes policy for warbirds, unique aircraft such as manned multicopters, more flexible risk-based operating privileges, repairman certificates for second owners of homebuilts, as well as other refinements. Let me also make this clear — EAA is absolutely adamant that the 51 percent rules that have made amateur-built aircraft the most active area of new GA aircraft construction will remain unchanged.
MOSAIC would also open opportunities for modernizing legacy GA aircraft built years ago under CAR 3 and Part 23 and would open simplified access to modern safety-enhancing equipment and avionics not previously available or affordable. EAA pioneered this certification approach using the STC process several years ago that has now reached across the avionics spectrum. MOSAIC will continue to build on this by simplifying maintenance, parts eligibility, and modification and alteration guidelines to mirror the success established in the amateur-built world.
The FAA has projected early 2019 to begin formal rulemaking drafting for MOSAIC. It’s likely we won’t see an NPRM (notice of proposed rulemaking) for comment for up to a year or more after this begins. This is not a fast process for a reason — it’s important to ensure all possibilities are carefully considered. As we know from flying, rushing a process often sets off an unanticipated chain of bad outcomes.