Pipistrel Aircraft is again being allowed to import its LSA models into the U.S. after the FAA imposed a week-long ban on the grounds that the agency couldn’t verify where the airplanes were actually being built.
Pipistrel is based in Slovenia a few miles from the Italian border. Because Slovenia doesn’t have a bilateral certification agreement with the FAA, Pipistrel built a factory in Italy, which does have a bilateral agreement with the U.S.
There were no problems with this arrangement until Pipistrel last week received notification from the FAA that the agency was having a hard time confirming that Pipistrel aircraft were really being built in Italy. While the investigation was ongoing, no further Pipistrel LSAs could be registered in the U.S., the company was informed.
Some of the confusion apparently resulted from the fact that FAA staffers couldn’t locate Pipistrel’s Italian factory on Google Earth. After some more searching and back and forth discussion between the FAA and Pipistrel, the factory has been found right where it always was and the import ban has been lifted.