FAA Bill Requires
Preservation And Sharing Of Vintage Aircraft Data
By Daniel Baxter
February 12, 2012 - Fans of American aviation are
celebrating a landmark victory for the preservation and
accessibility of historic aircraft data as the recently
passed FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety
Improvement Act 2012 (HR 658) makes its way to the White
House for President Obama’s signature.
The cause for celebration is a small, but significant
amendment that requires the FAA to protect aircraft
technical drawings and other design data from the dawn
civil aviation in the United States.
The amendment, incorporated into the overall FAA Reauthorization Bill, mandates the preservation of vintage aircraft design data for 1,257 different makes and models of aircraft built in the United States from March 1927 through November 1939.
been labeled “The Herrick Amendment” by the bill’s primary
sponsor, Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO) after aviation
preservationist and Aviation Foundation of American president
Greg Herrick of Minneapolis, Minn.
with the Wright brothers, the United States has led the way for
aviation and these files chronicle the development of our
aircraft industry. They document the very fabric of American
innovation,” said Herrick. “The accessibility and preservation
of these files ensures an irreplaceable resource for present and
future generations. It also allows vintage aircraft owners to
maintain the continued safe operation of aircraft that are still
The U.S. government mandated aircraft manufacturers to submit design data in order to receive approval to build an aircraft for public use. The data included technical blueprints depicting the design, materials, components, dimensions and geometry of the aircraft in addition to engineering analysis and test data. After submission and approval, manufacturers received an “Approved Type Certificate” (ATC), or a “Group 2” approval which were to be held for future reverence and comparison.
fewer than half-a-dozen of these aircraft are still being
manufactured and very few of the original manufacturers are
still in business. Yet, thousands of the aircraft still exist in
private collections and continue to be restored, maintained and
flown. Regrettably, over time much of this technical data
became scattered through various government offices and storage
facilities. Locating this data for purposes of restoration,
repair or continued airworthiness inspections for a given model
of aircraft grew increasingly problematic. In addition, the FAA
adopted a policy that made obtaining the data very difficult.
Regrettably, over time much of this technical data became scattered through various government offices and storage facilities. Locating this data for purposes of restoration, repair or continued airworthiness inspections for a given model of aircraft grew increasingly problematic. In addition, the FAA adopted a policy that made obtaining the data very difficult.
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