Anonymous Flyboy Coward (666)
writes "The Experimental Aircraft Association is taking on the Federal Aviation Administration, which has denied a FOIA request for access to construction data to the owner of 70+ year old antique Fairchild F45 aircraft. The FAA sided with a company that was formed in 1990 (and which didn't even know the airplane type existed until the FAA's inquiry) that claims it "owns" the design and manufacturing data to the aircraft, calling the data a "trade secret". The company failed to register with the FAA (as required by law) yet the FAA is standing by it's assertion that they "own" this data, which was turned over to the public domain in the 1950s. Many vintage aircraft owners face a Catch-22 situation: they are required by law to perform maintenance to the manufacturer's specs, but much of this data is unavailable because the FAA refuses to release it without the data's owner's permission... even if there is no such owner. The decision in this case will likely have wide-ranging implications on FOIA requests, as well as affect whether historical antique aircraft will remain flyable or lost forever to a pointless bureaucratic death. The full story is available here."