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Thread: I don't want an Experimental anyway...

  1. #21

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    EVERY new model of airplane starts life as an "Experimental" ... even those built by OEMs. The second classification adds "Amateur Built", "Factory Built" or etc. In other words, the Cessna Citation X prototype (N750CX) is an "experimental" airplane (and still is). What people refer to as being "certified" is really short for "Type Certified", which means that every single part, nut, bolt, tube, cable, wire, etc. is conformed (built to a drawing and its tolerances) and meets very stringent FAA regulations. Airplanes with a TC are truly "thoroughly tested" with typically 1000+ hours of flight time and several hundred stalls (and spins if 14CFR23).

  2. #22

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    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but Paul Poberezny once proposed the name "sport" or "custom" in lieu of "experimental" and it's negative connotations. Never gained traction. I don't think markings and placards are going to make/break someone's decsision to build a plane.

  3. #23
    bigdog's Avatar
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    In conversation you can use whatever term you like. I refer to my RV as a kitplane and that seems to be well received. I think it conjures up images of building a Shelby Cobra replica in the garage - different, sporty, better than Detroit and way cool. There are perception issues with "old" airplanes as well. I refer to my 1950 Navion as a Classic so folks can relate it to restored and well maintained classic cars.
    Regards,
    Greg Young
    1950 Navion N5221K
    RV-6 N6GY - 99.3% done, 13.2% to go
    1940 Rearwin Cloudster is next
    4 L-2 projects on deck

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Blum View Post
    EVERY new model of airplane starts life as an "Experimental" ... even those built by OEMs. The second classification adds "Amateur Built", "Factory Built" or etc. In other words, the Cessna Citation X prototype (N750CX) is an "experimental" airplane (and still is). What people refer to as being "certified" is really short for "Type Certified", which means that every single part, nut, bolt, tube, cable, wire, etc. is conformed (built to a drawing and its tolerances) and meets very stringent FAA regulations. Airplanes with a TC are truly "thoroughly tested" with typically 1000+ hours of flight time and several hundred stalls (and spins if 14CFR23).
    So if a club or builder had the right numerically-controlled equipment, and previously proven and approved plans, and documented properly each and every nut bold, wire, screw, assembly, etc. then it should be possible to obtain an amateur-built, type-certified aircraft?

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by spungey View Post
    then it should be possible to obtain an amateur-built, type-certified aircraft?
    You mean for example, is it possible for a person to build a C-172 outside Cessna's factory? No, it's a little more complicated than that. You can certainly build an exact clone of a C-172 but it would be 100% experimental amateur-built.

  6. #26
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spungey View Post
    So if a club or builder had the right numerically-controlled equipment, and previously proven and approved plans, and documented properly each and every nut bold, wire, screw, assembly, etc. then it should be possible to obtain an amateur-built, type-certified aircraft?
    IIRC, there is actually a kit-built route to standard type certification. Piper sold Super Cub kits in the '80s, and I think Schweitzer used to sell glider kits as well. The kit buyer would assemble the aircraft, and a technician from the factory would inspect it to ensure it was properly built.

    But it's not likely to get approved for a scratch-built aircraft.

    Ron Wanttaja

  7. #27

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    Good advice

    Everyone has given really good and accurate advice on this topic. It's awesome! Also, Ron W., you do recall correctly; a lot of sailplanes/gliders were manufactured both as TCd products and kits that would get approved after being completed, including the Piper "Cub".

    So, to clarify an earlier statement about can you build a C172? The answer is definitely, "Yes!" (but you must prove that every part is the same and assembled in the same configuration). Cessna could sell kits. Hummmm, maybe you're on to something to revive the industry? ;o)

    The only problem (okay, there's more than one) is that the first (experimental, prototype, ...) must meet the regulations. ... and there within we have the beautiful difference between homebuilts and production airplanes. Here's a quick example. Although a great airplane, an RV-X could not be certified without a lot of changes, and a C-172 (also a great airplane) will never cruise at 180 mph. Both use the same (or similar) engines. The market for both airplanes is totally different.

    I like where Spungy is going with this, though. Keep thinking and challenging!

  8. #28
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    Restoration has done this for some time - rebuilding from a data plate. With an existing serial number you have some options like owner-produced parts, STC's and Field Approvals. In the end you still need to have a conformity inspection that everything meets the Type Certificated design or approved alterations. Trying to get a brand new serial number and data plate is a bigger hurdle. The kits at least get you started with all type conforming parts.

    I think some new "amateur" fighter builds (either Me262 or FW190) were approved for new serial numbers in sequence with the factory numbers. But then those aren't U.S. Type Certificates either.
    Regards,
    Greg Young
    1950 Navion N5221K
    RV-6 N6GY - 99.3% done, 13.2% to go
    1940 Rearwin Cloudster is next
    4 L-2 projects on deck

  9. #29
    How about Developmental, or simply Recreational? In this case, the recreation is in the building, not the flying. Non-certified as suggested above has a nice neutral ring to it as well.

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