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MOSAIC, a New Beginning for American Aviation

MOSAIC (Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certification) is an iniciative that aims to adapt the regulations of the LSA category to pilots and professionals. This new reforms have been in development through the collaboration between the most important American Associations, the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association), GAMA (General Aviation Manufacturers Association) and AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association). Together, they’ve been working with the authorities at the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to provide legal ground in order to relax the operational limitations of this type of aircrafts and to even allow some comercial operations limited to certified ones.

FAA

This new environment will divide the light aviation spectrum into three categories:

  • FAR 103: This aircraft category includes mainly tube and fabric aircraft, with very low weight, and typically single-seaters. They are extremely simple, lightweight aircraft that don’t even require a license for operation.
  • LSA: The same category as of nowadays but “on steroids”. Among the main proposed changes is the elimination of the current limitation on maximum weight, based on parameters related to stall speed, which will be 54 knots with the aircraft clean or with fixed or automatic high-lift devices (instead of the previous 45 knots). This will allow for larger aircraft (around 3,000 lbs maximum weight, approximately 1,350 kg), enabling increased safety margins, durability, and comfort for new aircraft certified under this new standard.
  • Legacy: In this category older aircraft like the legendary Cessna 152 and 172 will be included so an LSA pilot could also be at the controls.

Sport pilots would still be limited to taking no more than one passenger at a time even if the airplane has more seats than that like the Cessna 172.

This changes will allow Flight Schools to offer much heavier and reliable airplanes like the Piper PA-28 to be part of their training program.

Another important change is the elimination of the restriction that LSAs must have a traditional fuel engine, which will allow for future developments in electric, hybrid, turboprop, etc. Furthermore, the category will be expanded to include helicopters or electric propulsion vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. The certification “rules” will be based on the international ASTM standard, which greatly facilitates the certification of new aircraft worldwide, as the standard is international.

Pipistrel training model Alpha Electro could be purchased in the USA under MOSAIC

This new paradigm, will enable manufacturers to introduce in the American market high performance aircraft developed in Europe that will exceed speeds never seen before in the LSA space.

The prior work between the FAA and major associations in MOSAIC has resulted in the standard already being “well-polished”. A good example of previous collaboration in drafting new regulations among the associations.

In summary, MOSAIC presents a bright future ahead. The American new regulations will have a massive impact worldwide and surely more agencies around the globe will follow suit the United States example. If MOSAIC succeeds, pilots will have a great foundation to keep learning and enjoy aviation in a way that fits the modern times we live in.

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