Say you’re an aerobatic pilot who wants to practice some maneuvers and your planned practice area is within four miles from the center of an airway and/or you intend to practice below 1,500 feet. You can’t just hop in the cockpit of your Pitts at the local airport and begin doing barrel rolls and hammerheads.
You first need to apply through a local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) for an FAA Form 7711-1, Certificate of Waiver or Authorization to establish an aerobatic practice area. Requirements for obtaining the practice area waiver are spelled out in chapter 48 of the FAA’s General Aviation Operations Inspector’s (GAOI) Handbook. Waivers to establish an aerobatic contest box are also obtained through chapter 48.
The International Aerobatic Club’s (IAC) government representatives recently examined chapter 48 and submitted numerous changes, several of which would eliminate unneeded provisions regarding air shows often included in issued practice area waivers. The IAC’s position is that such provisions are misplaced and should appear only in chapter 49, which speaks specifically to aerobatic areas for aviation events.
“We have to continually communicate to the FSDOs that there is a difference between chapters 48 and 49,” said Bill Finagin, IAC’s national government relations representative. Finagin mentioned one recent issued waiver that contained 63 provisions, 41 of which were totally about air shows.
To eliminate such future occurrences, IAC-suggested changes range from striking language appearing about air shows. Other IAC suggestions seek to remedy unclear language, procedural ambiguities, environmental assessments, and obsolete/unneeded provisions.
There are two types of waivers that are requested via chapter 48. One is a contest waiver for an aerobatic contest, and the second one is an aerobatic practice area waiver.
For further assistance in dealing with contest and/or practice area waivers, the IAC has established regional representatives to help. They are Darren Pleasance, Western Region, Darren_Pleasance [at] mckinsey.com; Doug Bartlett, Central Region, doug [at] bartlettmfg.com
; and Dennis Thompson, Eastern Region, dtedge2002 [at] yahoo.com