Light-Sport Category Aircraft

Flight Test Areas


The assigned test area is prescribed in accordance with FAR 91.305. The FAA will, when requested, assist applicants in selecting areas that meet the requirements. The FAA will evaluate each application to determine that the flight test area does not exceed that which is reasonably required to accomplish the program. Actions pertaining to flight test areas must be coordinated through the Manufacturing Inspection District Office (MIDO) to the assigned Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) and nearest office of the Air Traffic Service.

Assigned Flight Test Area.

All production flight-testing operations of LSA must be limited to the assigned flight test area until the aircraft is shown to be controllable throughout its normal range of speeds and all maneuvers to be executed, and has not displayed any hazardous operating characteristics or design features.

In the case of flight testing an aircraft from an airport surrounded by a densely populated area, but with at least one acceptable approach/departure route of flight, the FAA must ensure that a route of flight is selected that subjects the fewest persons and least property to possible hazards. The description of the area selected by the applicant and agreed to by the FAA must be made a part of the operating limitations.

In the case of an aircraft located at any airport surrounded by a densely populated area and lacking any acceptable approach/departure route of flight, the applicant must be relocate the aircraft to an airport suitable for flight testing.

NOTE: An acceptable approach/departure route of flight may be considered to exist when the route of flight provides a reasonable opportunity to execute an off-airport emergency landing that will not jeopardize other persons or property.

Assignment to the Flight Test Area.

The period of assignment is not established by regulation but is addressed in the applicable consensus standard. When issuing a special flight permit for production flight testing of LSA, the FAA/DAR will assign additional periods of time to flight test areas only when it is deemed necessary in the interest of safety.

Operating Limitations for flight testing.

Operating limitations are designed to fit the specific situation encountered. The FAA may impose any additional limitations deemed necessary in the interest of safety. They will review each imposed operating limitation with the applicant to ensure they understand each operating limitation.

The following operating limitations will be prescribed for production flight testing LSA:

(1) No person may operate this aircraft for other than the purpose of meeting the requirements of FAR 21.190(c)(7) during flight testing. In addition, this aircraft must be operated in accordance with applicable air traffic and general operating rules of part 91 and all additional limitations herein prescribed. These operating limitations are a part of a special flight permit and are to be carried in the aircraft at all times and be available to the pilot in command of the aircraft.

(2) All flights must be conducted within the geographical area described as follows. The area must be described by radius, coordinates, and/or landmarks. The designated area must be over open water or sparsely populated areas having light air traffic. The size of the area must be that required to safely conduct the anticipated maneuvers and tests.

(3) All flight tests must be conducted and recorded in accordance with the manufacturer’s production acceptance test procedure that meets the applicable consensus standard.

(4) This aircraft is to be operated under VFR, day only.

(5) The production test pilot in command of this aircraft must hold at least a private pilot certificate, have obtained the appropriate logbook endorsements to act as pilot in command, and have a minimum of 100 hours as pilot in command in that category and class.

(6) The production test pilot is to be the sole occupant.

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