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Thread: Phase One Flight Test

  1. #1

    Phase One Flight Test

    Question...is there any regulation concerning the overall airworthiness of an EAB aircraft for Phase One? If the subject aircraft has inoperative systems, or installed items that are broken / malfunctioning, is it legal to continue to fly the aircraft without any repairs being made?

    This particular aircraft was inspected, found to be airworthy, and issued a conditional airworthiness certificate.

    At a later date, multiple safety related mechanical problems arose.

    Still legal to fly without repairs made, or illegal?

  2. #2

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    I ain't no lawyer ner nuthin'... but.... I sure as heckfire wouldn't board an airplane of any kind that was KNOWN to have "multiple safety related mechanical problems" that were left unattended. But that's just silly old me..
    Last edited by CHICAGORANDY; 08-23-2021 at 04:43 PM.
    "Don't believe everything you see or read on the internet" - Abraham Lincoln

  3. #3
    Airmutt's Avatar
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    That was a pretty broad brushed question. The obvious answer is ALL Safety of Flight items need to be addressed prior to flight. Non safety of flight items needs to be prioritized. I.E. cracked plexiglass may not be a SOF item but probably needs to be addressed quickly to prevent the crack from propagating. If there is doubt, err on the conservative side.
    Dave Shaw
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  4. #4
    I can go through and list the items.
    First off, the flaps are broken. Will not lock in any position. You can freely move them by hand, up and/or down.
    Phase One fly off...fly, or ground the airplane?

  5. #5
    Tralika's Avatar
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    If the FAA has the catch all "91.13 (a) Careless or reckless operation" that can be used in almost any circumstance. I don't think they would have a problem making a case against a pilot that flies a plane with critical systems that are known inop. As for flying with inop flaps I suppose it would depend on the plane. There are planes that won't take off without flaps but most planes will. Any plane that has flaps will land without them, it just takes a lot of runway. The question is, why wouldn't the pilot fix the problem before flying? Is the plan to just fly the plane indefinitely without flaps? If the plan is to fix the flaps future, why not fix them now? Fix now or later it will take the same amount of time and money. There is no time limit on when the Phase 1 flight testing must be completed. The appropriate course of action is not too hard to figure out.

  6. #6
    Eric Page's Avatar
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    Flight control malfunctions are a BIG DEAL to the FAA and NTSB. Flaps that can move through their range of motion without any pilot control sounds extremely dangerous to me, but I've never flown the plane you're asking about. Personally, I wouldn't dream of flying any aircraft that had a known flight control malfunction like that, and I would expect the FAA to take a very dim view of anyone who did.
    Eric Page
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  7. #7
    Problem #2 - Electrical system malfunction. The amps are spiking to 49+. It is an electrically controlled engine, with a MoTeC ECU. That circuit breaker is 15 amps. And the amp meter is in full view, on the Garmin G3X.

    Now you have two known problems...flaps inop, and electrical malfunction.

    Do you fly, or put the plane back in the hangar for repairs?

    Per the POH, flaps are to be used for takeoff and landing. In the event of an emergency landing (engine failure), flaps are to be used.
    Last edited by TXFlyGuy; 08-23-2021 at 01:31 PM.

  8. #8
    Airmutt's Avatar
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    You definitely need to ground this airplane. The correct thing to do would be determine why the flap system is inoperable. Was it a workmanship error, a design flaw, a component failure, a structural overload, etc and then correct the problem.

    A bit perplexed….is your concern determining what is SOF vs deferred maintenance? You didn’t state just where you are in your Phase 1 testing but I would want my plane as pristine as possible. Flight testing has its own inherent risks without being compounded by airframe issues.
    Dave Shaw
    EAA 67180 Lifetime
    Learn to Build, Build to Fly, Fly for Fun

  9. #9

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    Starting to sound like someone in a motorboat dragging a fishing lure on their line?
    "Don't believe everything you see or read on the internet" - Abraham Lincoln

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by CHICAGORANDY View Post
    Starting to sound like someone in a motorboat dragging a fishing lure on their line?
    The question posed is a serious question. It involves the FAA.

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