Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 29

Thread: Homebuilts and the FAA

  1. #1
    WeaverJ3Cub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Dayton, OH
    Posts
    102

    Homebuilts and the FAA

    Hi guys,

    Recently, I've been increasingly interested in buying a homebuilt project and finishing it off. Without getting into the usual pre-buy stuff associated with buying a completed or project plane, I have a lot of questions about what exactly the legal requirements/privileges are for homebuilding and buying an incomplete build.

    I haven't typically paid much attention to Experimental certification rules, homebuilt rules and regulation, or anything like that since I never saw myself flying anything other than Standard certificated planes, but now I'm seeing that fun and "affordable" aviation begins with an "E."

    So, is there a book, thread, or other place where I can learn exactly how all this works? I figured this would be a good forum to ask.

    Some specific questions: Does the previous owner's work count toward the 51% necessary? Can I do my own maintenance? What paperwork is required for the sale? What's this I hear about having to fly off a bunch of test time before the airworthiness certificate is issued? Can I do my own annual?

    Thank for your patience....I know this is a pretty basic question.

    —Samuel

  2. #2
    CarlOrton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    DFW Area
    Posts
    671
    Hi, Samuel;

    I don't know if there's a single book that covers all aspects, but the EAA Experimental Registration Kit has most of the forms and instructions on what you have to do to get it registered, as well as the registration steps themselves. It's around $15 or so.

    You didn't state if you have a specific kit in mind or not. EAA could help you out with the bill of sale. As an example, if there was no kit involved, but the prior owner did most of the work already, *he* didn't have a bill of sale (I don't think), but one will be needed for the conveyance from him to you.

    If you buy a kit, the kit mfgr provided a bill of sale to the original purchaser that is not submitted until the plane is registered - usually about 90 days or so before AW inspection.

    YOU don't have to do any of the work, or 51% of the work. As long as most of the construction was done for education and recreation (as in, you / they didn't PAY someone to build it), it can still be registered as experimental/amateur built.

    You don't, and cannot, fly UNTIL it has passed airworthiness inspection. If you have an experimental engine, you'll have a 40 hr flyoff period. If you have a certificated engine (example: you build an RV, and take an O-320 from a Cessna, leave the dataplate on it, and install it), you'll only have a 25 hr flyoff.

    You can do your own annual condition inspection only if you have a repairman certificate. I won't get into LSA particulars here, but if an E/AB, the FAA (your local FSDO) can issue a repairman certificate to ONE builder FOR THAT SERIAL NUMBER A/C only. FSDO's vary a bit, but most want to talk to you and see if you know enough by having built enough, to properly inspect your a/c in coming years. Typically, when you have your AW inspection, the DAR will issue a letter of recommendation that you then take to the FSDO. Generally, the letter says something like "I, the DAR, have inspected the aircraft and am certain beyond a doubt that Mr. Samuel has constructed the significant portion of this aircraft and therefore I recommend him/her for a repairman certificate." You don't have to have actually built 51%, just that you can demonstrate you know enough about the a/c to be able to handle any repair. If you buy a 90% kit, you probably won't be able to do that. If so, any A&P can perform the inspection - you don't need an A&P/IA.

    When I started typing this response, there were no other responses, so if someone contributed before I hit send, this may be out of sync.

    Carl Orton
    Sonex #1170 / Zenith 750 Cruzer
    http://mykitlog.com/corton

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    251
    Samuel,

    I'm sure that there are many threads here to search and I know that there are on Van's Air Force site (even if your aren't building an RV, the requirements are the same).

    The requirement is that 51% of the build has to be amateur built. It's not 51% by a single individual. People buy and sell partially built kits all the time.

    The standard FAA Bill of Sale is what Van's uses. They just write XYZ Model Kit across the top instead of the aircraft model. You do need to be able to trace the kit's lineage back to the manufacturer and be able to provide construction records from the previous builders to ensure the 51% rule is met.

    You can always perform your own maintenance and conditional inspection on an experimental. However, you must have either an Repairman's or A&P certificate to sign off on the conditional.

    You can get the Repairman's certificate even if you only built part of the kit. However, you will have to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the entire build process to the FSDO inspector. I've heard variations from just getting the application rubber stamped to a long session of questions being asked.

    Most experimentals have to fly a 40 hour Phase I with only required crewmembers onboard. For most of us, this mean just the pilot. You can get the time reduced if the engine and prop are both certified. But if you make any changes to that certified configuration, it will be treated as experimental and you'll be back at the 40 test period again.

    Kitplanes has run several articles on these subjects. You can view the archives online if you have a subscription. Since it seems like you are just starting your research, Kitplanes is probably a good place to start. Look for articles written by Mel Asberry and Paul Dye.

    I see that you are in Dayton. There are plently of homebuilders in the area. I know of several builders in the Dayton vicinity.

    I'm in Columbus and the homebuilder community is pretty small. I can put you in touch with some local folks if you send me your email. I have a RV-10 that is just about complete and there is another RV-10 that was a project purchased about 80% from two previous builders at KLDZ. Plus a bunch of other flying experimentals. You are welcomed to stop by anytime. There is even a Cub being built down at Lancaster.

    bob
    --
    Bob Leffler
    RV-10 Flying
    www.mykitlog.com/rleffler

  4. #4
    CarlOrton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    DFW Area
    Posts
    671
    One other thing I was going to add: If you're not part of a Chapter, JOIN NOW!!! Each Chapter has tech counselors and other builders who have already gone thru this process, and will be THRILLED to talk to you and guide you thru the wickets.

    Carl Orton
    Sonex #1170 / Zenith 750 Cruzer
    http://mykitlog.com/corton

  5. #5
    CarlOrton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    DFW Area
    Posts
    671
    And just to further clarify, there is no set percent complete number that's a go/no-go for the FSDO to issue a repairman certificate. I said 90%; the point was that you need to demonstrate to the FSDO that you know enough to safely maintain it. A lot depends on the builder.

    Also, you can finish the build with a group of any number of individuals, as long as it's for education/recreation. HOWEVER, only ONE repairman certificate can be issued. Just look at the Zenith project EAA is building right now as an example.

    Carl Orton
    Sonex #1170 / Zenith 750 Cruzer
    http://mykitlog.com/corton

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    112
    Carl has it pretty much right, I just got through with my build was a previous owned project, the only question you asked that I haven't seen answered is about the Airworthiness, it is issued at the time of the inspection (usually by a DAR) and is permanent the other required paperwork is called the operating limitations on those it will give you the steps required to complete the phase 1 testing during which you will be restricted to day VFR and within a desiganted geographiccal area, after you finish the 25 or 40 hrs you log that on the operating limitations papers along with the Vs,Vy,Vx speeds and that there are no adverse handling characteristics, (if there were hopefully you will have corrected them) same entry in the aircraft logs and you will then be free to fly about the country. Hope this helps.

  7. #7
    Dana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    826
    I'll just add one thing that nobody else mentioned: Even if you buy a completed, already flying, experimental, and so aren't eligible for the repairman certificate, you can still do all of your own maintenance. Anybody can do any and all maintenance on an experimental. Only the annual condition inspection must be done by the repairman certificate holder or an A&P.

  8. #8
    WeaverJ3Cub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Dayton, OH
    Posts
    102
    Thanks for the comments everyone. Very helpful, and fascinating too.

    To add some context to what I was asking, this was the project that I was looking at that sparked the questions. Looks very well built to me (though the all wood construction kinda makes me nervous—I know, I shouldn't be).

    http://eaaforums.org/showthread.php?...r-Moth-Project

    And below is the project that I saw on Barnstormers that got me thinking Experimental..... Still don't know if it would have been a good buy. Owner was asking $4500, which I wasn't going to pay, but we were talking. Sold it quick though. Two planes, both damaged. One flipped on landing, the other had a gear failure. No FWF or instruments.

    Name:  IMG_0173.jpg
Views: 622
Size:  97.4 KB
    Name:  IMG_0175.jpg
Views: 584
Size:  97.2 KB
    Classic airplanes at historic Red Stewart Airfield, Waynesville, OH: http://s1075.beta.photobucket.com/us...ic%20Airplanes

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    2,182
    Welcome to your new addiction!

    Okay, let's get the whole horse-and-cart thing in the right order.

    BEFORE you put any money down or start worrying about the FAA, ask yourself what the mission of the aircraft will be. Too much aircraft means too much money/time, while too little will mean you won't be happy once it's buil....

    Scratch that. Before you get serious, check your spouse/significant other. The reason homebuilts are less expensive (in most cases) to production aircraft is that you're the labor, and labor is a huge cost in manufacturing. It's an investment in time and money that has to be fenced off for the project from other things. Forget airplane widows - they have it easy over airplane widows most of the time if it's not handled properly.

    Be realistic about the money. The kit/materials are the starting point. There are tools to be purchased - one doesn't need a whole machine shop, but one does need an assortment of power and hand tools. And a place to build and store the thing during construction.

    "Um, honey, for the next two years you'll be parking in the driveway while I build an airplane in the garage" is not a conversation to have after the crates of aluminum and stuff arrive.

    Shop EAA chapters in your area if you can. Each has its own flavor and experience! I got super lucky in that mine matches my needs in what to learn (everything) and attitude (if one is building a replica Starship One or a weight shifting trike they're both really cool airplanes and worthy of attention). Forget all the junk you'll read about the National Headquarters on the forums here - the EAA is the local chapter.

    I would suggest NOT buying someone else's project. The threat of having to repair other people's fixes is a real danger to time and money. It is actually easier to rebuild a part than to fix a botched one.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    251
    Samuel,

    Most of our comments above are based upon buying an incomplete kit. If the aircraft has already flown, you won't be able to get the repairman's certificate.

    As Frank mentioned, buying a half complete kit does have some risk, but is also a way to save some money. I would suggest getting somebody who has constructed a similiar kit do the inspection with you to determine the quality of the previous builder's efforts. I know plenty of folks that have gone this route and have great flying aircraft.

    I personally didn't take this route, but for different reasons. I wanted to learn and build the aircraft myself. It's been a tremendous process accompanied by a great deal of self satisfaction. Even more so when I start Phase I the first of the year.

    bob
    --
    Bob Leffler
    RV-10 Flying
    www.mykitlog.com/rleffler

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •