On May 22, 2012, the FAA published a Notice of Public Meeting in which it announced public meetings on June 26, 27 and 28 to gather additional technical input on the subject of exemptions relating to Living History Flights (“LHFs”). LHFs involve the operation, for compensation, of historically significant, American- manufactured large, crew-served, piston-powered, multi-engine, World War II bomber aircraft pursuant to an exemption from the prohibition on receiving compensation for operation of non-standard category aircraft. The FAA has established the LHF policy “as a way to generate funds needed to maintain and preserve these historically significant aircraft for future generations.”
Initially, the FAA limited the scope of the LHF exemptions to World War II (WWII) or earlier vintage airplanes (i.e., manufactured before December 31, 1947) and refused to include operators of supersonic jets. However, operators requesting LHF exemptions have pushed the envelope to the extent that some are now creating business models that would allow civilians the opportunity to engage in aerial combat with aircraft that the FAA did not contemplate or intend to allow when it originally developed the LHF policy (e.g. former military turbojet-powered aircraft such as the L-29, L-39, TS-11, Alfa Jet, and other aircraft that remain in active military service). As a result, the FAA has determined that it needs to comprehensively evaluate the LHF policy, with the help of public input.
The FAA is seeking comments from the public on the following areas, with more specific questions posed in the Notice of Public Meeting:
- The LHF policy in general.
- What should be involved or required for the issuance of an LHF exemption?
- What limitations should be included in an LHF exemption?
- What weather minimums should apply to LHFs?
- What pilot qualifications and currency should apply to LHFs?
- What maintenance and inspection requirements should apply to LHFs? and
The meetings will be held in the FAA Headquarters building auditorium on the third floor, 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591. If you would like to submit written comments addressing the LHF areas listed above, rather than attend the meetings, you should submit your comments no later than June 18, 2012.