• RAAus CEO Matt Bouttell at the organisation's Fyshwick ACT headquarters. (Steve Hitchen)
    RAAus CEO Matt Bouttell at the organisation's Fyshwick ACT headquarters. (Steve Hitchen)

Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus) yesterday told Australian Flying that they are aiming to be allowed to administer aircraft that comply fully with the new MOSAIC regulations.

The Modernisation of Special Airworthiness Category (MOSAIC) proposal would redefine Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) to have no proscribed MTOW limit under a new standard produced in the United States.

RAAus is on the cusp of being granted permission to administer aircraft with MTOWs of up to 760 kg under the new Group G category, but the MOSAIC rules are expected to produce aircraft with MTOWs in the vicinity of 1360 kg.

"Group G is almost with us; the final review of our manuals is being done by CASA as we speak," said RAAus CEO Matt Bouttell. "The new proposal from the FAA [MOSAIC] really talks about performance standards, and I think that's the way that CASA needs to go rather than be prescriptive about the weight.

"Someone may develop a new wing that allows a higher MTOW, but does stall at 54 knots, so we're better off not limiting the weight, but actually using the performance standards and having that prescribed in CASR Part 103."

RAAus is a member of the ASTM F37 committee which is developing the new LSA standard, so naturally they will be advocating for CASA to adopt the new standard as a whole.

"RAAus will be seeking for CASA to adopt the MOSAIC standard completely, and the result of that will be more permitted activities and access to larger aircraft," Bouttell said.

"The Americans have absolutely recognised the benefits of LSA over the past 20 years, which has led to this new proposal."

Although MOSAIC is an aircraft standard, the FAA is expected to also vary the Sport Pilot Licence to allow pilots to fly the larger and faster aircraft that will fall under MOSAIC. In Australia, the Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) allows pilots to fly LSAs registered with RAAus, but Bouttell believes there is potential for the RPC to be varied similarly.

"I absolutely believe CASA will allow us to vary the RPC," he said. "As it stands today, the RPC and Recreational Pilot Licence are equivalent, with the only difference being who administers that. We are authorised to administer the RPC, so it makes absolute sense that we'll be allowed to vary it."

Bouttell, a former CASA manager, is a realist, and he understands the challenges of asking CASA for an MTOW limit in the 1360-kg range when the 760-kg Group G is yet to be implemented and the veracity proven over time. He understands that although MOSAIC might be due in the USA in 16 months, RAAus may not be able to leverage that for some months afterward.

"CASA is trying to proceed with CASR Part 103, and our approach to CASA will be that MOSAIC is such a significant change, and that Part 103 should have that within it. 

"When Part 103 comes out, we can then implement it as we would do with any new freedom."

As it stands in Australia at the moment, an LSA can be registered with either CASA or with RAAus, raising the prospect that even though CASA may adopt MOSAIC, they may still restrict RAAus-registered LSAs to a 760-kg MTOW. 

"I think that's a fair point," Bouttell said. "CASA can absolutely make that decision, but our case will be that there is no safety reason why that should be. If their decisions are based on safety, we should have access to the full MOSAIC capability.

"We're a mature Part 149 organisation that has been around for 40 years and has demonstrated a benefit to the Australian aviation industry. We have a like-for-like safety record and we believe CASA has confidence in our ability to administer and our members will be able to take advantage of that."

The FAA released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NRPM) on MOSAIC in the lead-up to Oshkosh this year, and is expected to publish the final rule no later than early 2025.

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