FAA plans changes to SLSA certification

December 31st, 2011 | News


LAMA and LAMA Europe have some announcements of special interest to all 72 current producers of Special Light-Sport Aircraft and to any producer intending to certify a new Light-Sport Aircraft. FAA has communicated plans to change how SLSA are approved, and those plans represent a major change.

Directly from FAA, “We are considering the following:  All LSA manufacturers, regardless of where they are located, will have to pass a compliance to consensus standards audit and a first production aircraft inspection for every LSA model they produce. Both the audit and inspection will be conducted by a specially trained cadre of FAA inspectors, not designees. Airworthiness certificates will not be issued until after both the audit and inspection are successfully completed.” Note the word “considering.” This is not yet actual policy, but it states clearly how the agency is thinking about their responsibilities.

In the past, a manufacturer reviewed the ASTM standards. If all requirements were met, the producer declared their aircraft complied to all applicable ASTM standards. You manufactured your aircraft and sent it to your dealer or importer who then contacted a local Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR). After the FAA-trained DAR examined the aircraft, an airworthiness certificate was issued and you could sell the aircraft to a customer. The paragraph above suggests this will be changing.


The FAA assessment report is complete and has been distributed. This follows FAA’s visit to 30 companies involved with the sale of SLSA into the United States. Following those visits, FAA studied the results and have now published their “Light-Sport Aircraft Manufacturers Assessment (LSAMA).” For those receiving this by email, we attach a PDF file containing the entire report.

We urge you to read this report. (It is available only in English language.)

FAA PLANNED CHANGES (Additional Detail) 

After FAA is ready with their revised plan, the agency proposes:  For any new SLSA, FAA will first request a full set of ASTM compliance documents which the agency will review. Following a successful review, presuming your documents precisely meet ASTM standards, FAA will plan an on-site visit to review your Quality Assurance program and will examine your process control among other things. FAA suggests that only after a successful review will the new SLSA be permitted for sale in the USA.


As FAA reports in the “LSAMA,” FAA believes many companies are not in full compliance. Therefore, it is your best interest to review your compliance with ASTM standards. While FAA’s initial plan appears to be a review of any new SLSA, it is possible FAA will also review existing SLSA.

You must realize that any aircraft or company not found in 100% compliance will run some risk of having FAA stop deliveries of aircraft until full compliance is verified. If safety-of-flight is questioned, FAA could ground your current aircraft until remedies are found.

If you are 100% certain your LSA meet every ASTM requirement, then you have nothing to fear. However, if you declared compliance because you satisfy another certification standard or if you are aware that you do not 100% meet ASTM standards, you may have a major problem that could seriously affect your business.


LAMA can offer all LAMA members access to the LAMA checklist series covering six major standards. While you are required to do your own review to assure 100% compliance, the LAMA checklists can help you organize this effort. Online files (PDF) are available without cost to any current LAMA member. Printed copies of the entire six-booklet checklist series cost USD $150 per set which includes postage to an address you specify.


LAMA (USA) and LAMA Europe urge you in the strongest possible language to make certain your aircraft and your company fully complies with all applicable ASTM standards. Failure to do so could seriously affect your business.


LAMA is ready to assist any manufacturer with qualified subcontractors who can help determine your compliance to ASTM standards. Subcontractor work is done for a fee to be negotiated between you and the subcontractor. LAMA is also ready to schedule an independent third-party oversight audit. A LAMA ASTM compliance audit is also a service for fee.

LAMA encourages all producers or importers to prepare for FAA review and LAMA is able to help with the checklist series or with a full audit.


Best regards,

Dan Johnson,
Chairman and President — LAMA (USA), and

Jan Fridrich,
Secretary General — LAMA Europe