FAA grants National Business Aviation Association extension of Small Aircraft Exemption

April 2, 2020

On March 31, 2020, the FAA granted the National Business Aviation Association a two-year extension of FAA Exemption No. 7897.  The NBAA Small Aircraft Exemption permits NBAA member operators of small aircraft to utilize the cost sharing provisions of 14 C.F.R. § 91.501 (“Subpart F”).

By definition, Subpart F applies to the operation of (i) large airplanes and (ii) turbojet-powered, multiengine civil airplanes.  A “large aircraft” is defined as an aircraft “of more than 12,500 pounds, maximum certificated takeoff weight.”  Accordingly, airplanes that are less than or equal to 12,500 pounds maximum certificated takeoff weight (which are not turbojet-powered, multiengine civil airplanes) are by definition excluded from operating under Subpart F.  Furthermore, Subpart F applies to turbojet-powered multiengine civil airplanes; therefore, helicopters, turbo-prop airplanes, piston-driven airplanes, or single engine airplanes (which do not meet the definition of a large airplane) are excluded from utilizing Subpart F.  While the NBAA Small Aircraft Exemption largely remains unchanged, there are a couple of key changes for operators to consider.

First, the NBAA Small Aircraft Exemption has now been expanded to permit cost sharing for international operations, subject to the rules and regulations imposed by the applicable foreign jurisdiction.  The foreign rules and regulations will likely address cabatoge restrictions and insurance requirements, although there could be others which you should consider with your aviation advisors.

Second, in addition to being an NBAA member, operators using the NBAA Small Aircraft Exemption must submit a “Notice of Joinder to FAA Exemption No. 7897K” prior to conducting any operation under the NBAA Small Aircraft Exemption.  There is no provision exempting NBAA members currently utilizing the NBAA Small Aircraft Exemption from the Notice of Joinder requirement.  The Notice of Joinder requirement goes into effect on September 27, 2020. Notices of Joinder should be submitted to the FAA via the Federal eRulemaking Portal and include the following information:

a. The person’s name and, for a person other than an individual (the FAA considers most entities to be a “person”), the name of the authorized representative submitting the Notice of Joinder.

b. The person’s physical and mailing address and, for a person other than an individual, the physical and mailing address for the authorized representative.

c. The person’s email address or, for applicants other than individuals, the email address of the authorized representative.

d. The person’s telephone number(s).

e. The person’s NBAA membership number.

f. A statement requesting that the FAA append the Notice of Joinder to the list of NBAA members authorized to exercise the privileges of Exemption No. 7897K.

g. An attestation that the person will not conduct any operation under Exemption No. 7897K if the person ceases to be an NBAA member.

h. An attestation that the person will comply with all conditions and limitations of Exemption No. 7897K.

Finally, while not a new requirement of the NBAA Small Aircraft Exemption, operators should keep in mind the following Flight Standard District Office (FSDO) notice and approval requirements:

a. Provide notice that operations will be conducted under the terms of the NBAA Small Aircraft Exemption;

b. Provide the FSDO with a copy of any applicable time-sharing, interchange, or joint ownership agreement; and

c. Obtain approval of its inspection program by the appropriate FSDO.

Should you have any questions regarding the use of the NBAA Small Aircraft Exemption to maximize the utilization of your aircraft, do not hesitate to contact any of the McAfee & Taft Aviation attorneys.