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Thread: Converting Certified Aircraft to Experimental

  1. #1
    N404CX's Avatar
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    Converting Certified Aircraft to Experimental

    I have often wondered why old airplanes rotting away on a ramp don't get bought up and converted to experimental, as a means of less expensive restoration.

    I stumbled across this page, http://www.v8seabee.com/regulations/united-states.html , which described in general how to convert an old salvage plane to experimental.

    Has anyone followed this route with their project, and if so, has it been as straightforward as that article would imply?

    Thanks in advance. -glen

  2. #2
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Note that it converts it to Experimental Exhibition, not Experimental Amateur-Built. That means more restrictions, depending on the FSDO. For instance, your operating limitations may prohibit passengers, or require permission for every flight over a given distance.

    After some high-profile cases, the FAA is sensitive to folks trying to put type-certificated aircraft into Experimental category for recreational use. Best advice that article gives you is to get permission from the FSDO *before* starting work on the airplane.

    Ron Wanttaja

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    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Ron is right about how things are now. However, wasn't there a proposal floated around about an owner maintenance category (someone like what the Canadians do)? What happened to that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by N404CX View Post
    I have often wondered why old airplanes rotting away on a ramp don't get bought up and converted to experimental, as a means of less expensive restoration.
    Because there is no practical method for doing this.

    I stumbled across this page, http://www.v8seabee.com/regulations/united-states.html , which described in general how to convert an old salvage plane to experimental.

    Has anyone followed this route with their project, and if so, has it been as straightforward as that article would imply?
    While it may be possible to do what they describe, it won't be anything like owning/operating an experimental amateur-built aircraft.

  5. #5
    N404CX's Avatar
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    As the old saying goes, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Thanks again.

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    While I don't think that the FAA is going to help anyone move a Piper/Cessna/Mooney into the Experimental Exhibition category, I will note that operating that type of airplane is really not that difficult. Every spring you send the FSDO a "Program Letter" listing the big fly-ins that you will be going to. Most operating limitations for the more common Ex Ex aircraft no longer have an operating radius distance limit for "proficiency flights". So its pretty easy for something like the Extra 300 like a friend owns. Its more if you own a Mig-21, but its just some paperwork. And a friend just moved a Acrobatic Category Extra 300S from a standard airworthiness certificate to an Ex Ex one to install a non-certificated prop. So its do-able, but I will agree that it is not for your average recreational pilot.

    The good news is that taking a pile of rust and tattered fabric that has a normal category airworthiness certificate and rebuilding it back into an airplane that will take you to OSH some year just requires persistence and planning. You regularly read success stories in the magazine. So if you get satisfaction from getting your hands dirty and have some patience, do it. The journey is the reward.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    N78PS

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