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Thread: Engine change

  1. #1

    Engine change

    I bought a Smith Miniplane with no engine. The details from its past are scattered between the logbooks and letters from the builder and subsequent buyers. As far as I can tell it was built and flown in 1971 with an O-235. At some point it got an O-290G and then in 2007 it got an O-290D. Now I have installed an O-235 again. I think it just needs a logbook entry but I have had people tell me it may have to go back into Phase 1. Not sure why that would be since it was built and flew off it's 75 hours with an O-235. I'm not gonna bother the FSDO if I don't have to. What would you do?

  2. #2

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    I myself do not need the FSDO to tell me when I need to go back into testing. IMHO I would go into phase one testing. If for no other reason then you just put another engine on your airplane. Would you take your airplane out of the shop and go straight into flying it without first putting it back into test flying? Most do and some pay the ultimate price when they do.

    Anytime your airplane comes out of the shop it should be teat flown IMHO for at least an hr. If the engine was changed I myself would not leave the glide path of the runway for a few hrs. Maintenance induced failures are real and do happen.

    Fly smart and safety follows.

    Tony

  3. #3
    WacoJoe's Avatar
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    What you need to do will depend on what it says in that particular airplane's operating limitations that were issued to it along with its airworthiness certificate. This will vary depending on when the limitations were issued. If the airplane you are describing still has the operating limitations that were issued in 1971, it will undoubtedly say that the FAA has to be notified and their response received in writing before operating the aircraft after making a major change. Now, this should have been done when the airplane was modified with the O-290 in place of the O-235! I'm guessing it wasn't done.

    However, if you are essentially returning the airplane to its already-tested configuration (assuming you'll install the O-235 with the same make/model prop it had originally) then no additional testing would be required, and thus no contact with the FAA would be necessary.

    Having said that, you may want to have new operating limitations issued so as to update to the latest version, since they are really much better than the ones that would have been issued in 1971. Give that some thought.
    Cheers!

    Joe

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    What do your ops limits require after a major change? The ops limits have morphed over time, but the ones issued for your aircraft apply to it unless and until you request an amendment to current requirements and the FSDO issues new ops limits.

    Good argument that by returning it to a previously tested configuration (exactly the same make, model, and prop as previously installed) all that's required is a logbook entry. That's what certificated aircraft do on every annual when the IA pulls out all the stuff that isn't on the type certificate data sheet, STC, or 337 and they don't put those aircraft back into manufacturer's test. (sort of kidding there, folks)

    Other people will of course disagree.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by chwilliams5 View Post
    I bought a Smith Miniplane with no engine. The details from its past are scattered between the logbooks and letters from the builder and subsequent buyers. As far as I can tell it was built and flown in 1971 with an O-235. At some point it got an O-290G and then in 2007 it got an O-290D. Now I have installed an O-235 again. I think it just needs a logbook entry but I have had people tell me it may have to go back into Phase 1. Not sure why that would be since it was built and flew off it's 75 hours with an O-235. I'm not gonna bother the FSDO if I don't have to. What would you do?
    So your saying you do not believe you need to do a W/B but just a log book entry?

    As mentioned this is all in the Operating limitations as to do when doing an major change. Now I guess everyone will be asking if this is a major change? If it was the exact same engine that came from the airplane and there are log entries for this setup, w/b and such. You could go back to that setup. But seeing how this is not the original engine and I would say not the same prop. In my minds eye you have made a major change. This will require contacting the FSDO.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by WacoJoe View Post
    What you need to do will depend on what it says in that particular airplane's operating limitations that were issued to it along with its airworthiness certificate.
    Exactly so. Those are the ONLY reference for actions after a Major Change, which an engine change most definitely is.

    Quote Originally Posted by WacoJoe View Post
    This will vary depending on when the limitations were issued. If the airplane you are describing still has the operating limitations that were issued in 1971, it will undoubtedly say that the FAA has to be notified and their response received in writing before operating the aircraft after making a major change.
    I can't say that I've ever seen OL's from the early 70's, but the ones I've seen from the late 70's and early 80's actually invalidated the AC in the case of a major change and required a new AC be issued. I don't know that ALL OL's said that, but the ones I've seen did.

    Quote Originally Posted by WacoJoe View Post
    Now, this should have been done when the airplane was modified with the O-290 in place of the O-235! I'm guessing it wasn't done.
    And I would say that you're most probably correct - I cannot claim that the aircraft that I've seen with those OL's (need new AC) have not had major changes, but it's a rare case where a new AC was issued due to one.

    Quote Originally Posted by WacoJoe View Post
    However, if you are essentially returning the airplane to its already-tested configuration (assuming you'll install the O-235 with the same make/model prop it had originally) then no additional testing would be required, and thus no contact with the FAA would be necessary.
    This is incorrect. A major change is a major change, even if you're going back to an identical configuration that was previously tested and signed off (unless the OL's were written from the latest 8130.2H Order). This has been decided in court - see:

    http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1097158.html

    for the case of a Long-EZ builder who made major changes without notifying the FAA (as his OL's required) and the court ruled that his AC was not valid due to his not following the requirements of his OL's.

    Will you get caught? Probably not. There are no "OL/AC" police, just as there are no "transponder 91.413 check" police, etc. But if you have insurance (per Mr. Davenport, above link) or if you get ramp checked, or..... and something happens, then there could be consequences. I try to get my customers to keep their aircraft as legal as can be, just in case.

    Now, the LATEST version of Order 8130.2H (from which the OL's are derived) does allow for multiple configurations to be tested in Phase I, and if you do so and log it, you can go back and forth between tested configs without having to repeat Phase I. This is a good part of the lastest OL's, and if your original OL's require a new AC with a major change, you can request that the new OL's be written from this latest order.

    Quote Originally Posted by WacoJoe View Post
    Having said that, you may want to have new operating limitations issued so as to update to the latest version, since they are really much better than the ones that would have been issued in 1971. Give that some thought.
    Absolutely so - see above.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Zeitlin View Post
    This is incorrect. A major change is a major change, even if you're going back to an identical configuration that was previously tested and signed off (unless the OL's were written from the latest 8130.2H Order). This has been decided in court - see:

    http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1097158.html
    Interesting. Apparently, most (if not all) FAA inspectors have never read case law. I was involved with straightening out some paperwork on several experimental aircraft some years ago, specifically with regard to several major changes that had been done and not properly documented. In all these cases, the FAA said "put it back the way it was when it was tested and you're good to go". As long as the FAA was happy, we were all happy!
    Cheers!

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by WacoJoe View Post
    Interesting. Apparently, most (if not all) FAA inspectors have never read case law. I was involved with straightening out some paperwork on several experimental aircraft some years ago, specifically with regard to several major changes that had been done and not properly documented. In all these cases, the FAA said "put it back the way it was when it was tested and you're good to go". As long as the FAA was happy, we were all happy!
    I don't doubt that for a second - very few of the FSDO folks with which I've dealt have either read or understood the regs or orders, especially after something changes. I've had to correct a few OL's so that they actually read correctly before they were issued. But they were always happy to do so.

    Like I said, the chance of getting caught by someone that actually knows their ass from a hot rock is small, but it's not worth taking the chance, IMO. Just DTRT.

  9. #9

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    Depends on the interpretation of "Major alteration".
    Avemco cited FAR 21.93 and FAR 43. Neither apply to experimental aircraft.

    FAR 1.1 defines "major alteration" for experimental, I think. And the phrase " might appreciably" is open to interpretation.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Berson View Post
    Depends on the interpretation of "Major alteration".
    Avemco cited FAR 21.93 and FAR 43. Neither apply to experimental aircraft.
    It does, kind of. My operating limitations (issued 2016) say, "After incorporating a major change as described in 21.93, the aircraft owner is required to reestablish compliance..." So even though 21.93 doesn't explicitly apply to experimentals, the definition of "major change" does apply if referenced in the op limitations:

    "A “minor change” is one that has no appreciable effect on the weight, balance, structural strength, reliability, operational characteristics, or other characteristics affecting the airworthiness of the product. All other changes are “major changes”... "

    Returning to a previously tested configuration... gotta be a gray area, would depend on the inspector if you got caught.

    Tony, nobody's saying you shouldn't test a new engine, of course you should. At issue is whether the FSDO needs to be notified and the aircraft be legally put back into phase 1.

    On a sort of related note, I asked the FSDO about going back into phase 1 for a propeller change (yes, necessary, as it could cause an "appreciable effect" on the operational characteristics). My question was, if the new prop didn't perform well and i reinstalled the original prop, could I terminate the phase 1 period even before the 5 hours were up, and I was told yes, I could.

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