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Thread: Lights required for night flight?

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Zeitlin View Post
    Since you haven't said what strobe you have purchased or whether it's "approved" (TSO'd is really the only way to be officially "approved", unless you've got all the specs for the light showing that it meets the standards, and even then, there's no guarantee, as my COZY friend found out), it's hard to say whether what you have will "work", legally.
    There is no TSO for experimental A/B aircraft lighting.


    Generally, when I do Tech Counselor inspections for folks, I tell them to either leave all lighting off their aircraft for the AC inspection, and then use their judgement with respect to the OL's requirements per 91.205 for installing lights later on, or else just get TSO'd lighting systems so there's no question one way or the other for the inspection
    The person inspecting the aircraft is not "approving" the aircraft for night flying any more than they are approving the airplane for IFR flying. So if a builder has his plane "equipped" for IFR flying, are you saying the inspector will approve or reject his installed equipment for that purpose? I call Baloney. The OL's will say to fly the plane under condition "x" then it has to comply with "y". If it doesn't, simply can't operate under that condition. It's not grounds for refusing to issue a SAC for the aircraft.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by martymayes View Post
    There is no TSO for experimental A/B aircraft lighting.
    The TSO is for the lighting system. Not for the E/AB aircraft. There are TSO'd lights and there are non-TSO'd lights. Usually, the non-TSO'd lights are cheaper. Since 91.205 requires "approved lighting", SOME DAR's and FAA examiners interpret that to mean TSO'd lighting systems. Personally, I interpret that to mean that the lighting system must meet the requirements of the part 23 chapters listed previously, but does not have to be TSO'd. But since neither you nor I are doing the AC inspection, what WE think about what "approved lighting" means is immaterial.

    Quote Originally Posted by martymayes View Post
    The person inspecting the aircraft is not "approving" the aircraft for night flying any more than they are approving the airplane for IFR flying.
    This is true. But they can choose not to issue the AC if they don't believe that you're in compliance with the rules of what the OL's will say about either night or IFR or what 91.205 says. And once you've had the AC turned down by one DAR/examiner, it's very difficult to try to get another DAR/examiner to take over and have a different opinion.

    So from a practical standpoint, better safe than sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by martymayes View Post
    So if a builder has his plane "equipped" for IFR flying, are you saying the inspector will approve or reject his installed equipment for that purpose? I call Baloney.
    No - not the "equipment" - the whole plane. What I'm saying is that the DAR/examiner has the ability to claim that you're not "equipped" legally, and reject the whole AC approval. It's happened, your "baloney" call notwithstanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by martymayes View Post
    The OL's will say to fly the plane under condition "x" then it has to comply with "y". If it doesn't, simply can't operate under that condition. It's not grounds for refusing to issue a SAC for the aircraft.
    And yet, since the DAR/examiner has exactly 100% of the power and decision making authority in the situation, whether you or I believe that they should or shouldn't be issuing the AC for the plane is immaterial - on occasion, as I've pointed out, it HAS happened that a DAR/examiner has refused to issue an AC for this reason. And it's why I recommend that, if someone want to use "approved" but not TSO'd lighting systems, that they refrain from installing them until after the AC is issued.

    There's a long running argument about what criteria the DAR can/can't use to determine whether to issue the AC. Is the aircraft safe? Does it meet the recommendations of AC43.13? Does it LOOK like an airplane? Does it have "approved" equipment? Are any of these acceptable criteria? Does it matter what WE think?

    A loophole in the regs (the fact that the OL's do NOT require 91.205 compliance for Day VFR flight) means that in THEORY, you do not need ANY instruments in your E/AB plane if you're only going to be flying Day VFR. Now, do you think that any DAR/examiner is going to issue an AC for an aircraft that doesn't have ANY instruments in the panel, even if you clearly state to him that you're only going to fly Day VFR? Rhetorical question, obviously - the answer is no.

    The DAR/examiner can do what they want. Most, if not almost all, of them do the right thing. But every once in a while, they don't. I just choose not to give those folks any extra reasons to deny an AC issuance. You're free to argue with them if you like, however right you MIGHT be. Let us know how that goes...

  3. #13

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    Marty, If you have an Aircraft Spruce catalog, go to the Whelen section. There is a pictorial chart that shows how a good lighting system should be installed and where it needs to be visible from. I went a few rounds with an "inspector" until I dug out the chart listed above.

  4. #14

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    I know this is an old thread, but it seems to be filled with all sorts of misinformation. According to EAA, the following is correct:
    Am I required to have anti-collision lights on my homebuilt?
    No, if you are only going to using your aircraft for day, VFR flight. FAR 91.205 lists the instrument and equipment requirements for standard category aircraft. This FAR does not apply to Experimental-Amateur Built aircraft.
    If you intend to use your aircraft for either night VFR or IFR flight, you will have to comply with the requirements of FAR 91.205 because the operating limitations you receive as a part of your airworthiness certificate will include the following language:
    “After completion of phase I flight testing, unless appropriately equipped for night and/or instrument flight in accordance with 91.205, this aircraft is to be operated under VFR, day only.”

  5. #15
    EAA Staff Joda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Zeitlin View Post
    The DAR/examiner can do what they want. Most, if not almost all, of them do the right thing. But every once in a while, they don't. I just choose not to give those folks any extra reasons to deny an AC issuance. You're free to argue with them if you like, however right you MIGHT be. Let us know how that goes...
    As a DAR we certainly cannot "do what we want". We each have an FAA advisor who can, and will, overrule a decision we might make in the field. If a DAR is trying to impose what you fell is an unacceptable requirement, you get his or her advisor's contact info and talk to that person. If that person doesn't give you the answer you think is correct, go to that person's supervisor or the FSDO or MIDO manager. If you still don't get the answer you feel is correct, you call EAA and it gets elevated to the national level if need be. Sure, it's often easier to just comply with the inspector's demands if it isn't a big deal to do so, but if the inspector is being unreasonable or is flat out wrong (and yes, that does happen) you shouldn't have to suffer for his or her ignorance or bully pulpit. DARs should NEVER make a unilateral decision on denying or delaying a certificate issuance if it's a question about "approved" installations or the like. They should coordinate with their FAA advisor and come up with proper documentation to support their position, or they should stand down. They can't make it up as they go along.
    Cheers!

    Joe

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joda View Post
    As a DAR we certainly cannot "do what we want".... They can't make it up as they go along.
    I'm glad to hear that there's an appeal path - that certainly is NOT made clear to folks when they hire a DAR for an inspection of an E-AB aircraft. DAR's certainly don't hand you a piece of paper that says "if you don't like what I say, here's where you can complain about it". In theory, folks can do what you suggest. In the real world, however, it's a LOT easier just to head off the issue at the pass, rather than fight the battle that MIGHT be coming. And while this appeal path may exist, it will be costly and time consuming - all the while, you're NOT flying your airplane that you just spent years building, because the AC was not issued.

    Given the vast differences in rule interpretations between FSDO's, it's not surprising that there's also a vast difference in rule interpretation between DAR's (and also not surprising given the vast ambiguity that exists in many of the rules).

    The person I was specifically referencing in my original posting, who had his AC denied by the DAR because his lights weren't TSO'd during the inspection, was a lawyer who understood how to fight battles. It was a lot easier for him to just install TSO'd lights and get on with his life (and flying). Could he have won an appeal as you present? Maybe. Would it be worth the fight? No way to know...

  7. #17
    Mel's Avatar
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    As Joda said, We certainly can't do "anything we want to". A DAR may deny a certification if he/she is uncomfortable concerning a safety issue or an issue that keeps the aircraft from meeting the requirements for the certificate requested.

    If that happens, you are certainly at liberty to contact the DAR's office, be it a FSDO or MIDO. Now on the lighting issue; The DAR does not approve or disapprove your lighting system. The operating limitations clearly state that for night and/or IFR operations, the aircraft must conform to 91.205 requirements. That puts the "monkey" on the back of the aircraft operator. He/she must comply with the operating limitations at all times. If the aircraft meets the requirements of 91.205, it may be flown at night. If not, it can't! Simple.

    Mel,
    DAR since the last century. Specializing in Amateur-Built and Light-Sport Aircraft.
    Last edited by Mel; 06-12-2019 at 06:59 PM.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel View Post
    As Joda said, We certainly can't do "anything we want to".
    You can, you're just not supposed to... The onus will be on the builder to attempt to rectify the situation when the DAR does something that the owner believes is contrary to the rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel View Post
    If the aircraft meets the requirements of 91.205, it may be flown at night. If not, it can't! Simple.
    That's what we thought, too. And yet, this guy's DAR refused to give him an AC for the aircraft until he replaced his lights with TSO'd lights. So, an existence proof for the opposite of what you and Joda are saying.

    I don't disagree with you in theory - only in practice.

  9. #19
    EAA Staff Joda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Zeitlin View Post
    That's what we thought, too. And yet, this guy's DAR refused to give him an AC for the aircraft until he replaced his lights with TSO'd lights. So, an existence proof for the opposite of what you and Joda are saying.
    Was this particular DAR a former FAA inspector? Just sayin'.....
    Cheers!

    Joe

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joda View Post
    Was this particular DAR a former FAA inspector? Just sayin'.....
    No idea... In fact, it might have BEEN an FAA inspector - it was many years ago...

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