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Thread: Questions about building a kit in Canada to be registered and flown in the U.S.

  1. #1

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    Questions about building a kit in Canada to be registered and flown in the U.S.

    My helper and I are considering building a Bearhawk 4-Place quick build kit. He lives in Canada and has the shop, facilities and resources to build. And I live in the U.S. and do not have the shop, facilities and resources to build. The Bearhawk will ultimately live in the U.S.

    Here are the specifics:

    1.) I am financing the kit, engine, prop and panel. My helper is providing the facility and resources to build.
    2.) My financing requires the kit to be U.S. registered with a N# at the time of the kit purchase.
    3.) I will routinely visit the project and assist with the build.
    4.) One option we are considering, instead of finishing the in kit Canada, is to complete the kit in Canada up to wing installation. Then have it transported to the U.S. where we will have the final inspection.

    Here are our questions:

    1.) How do we handle the pre-cover inspection from Canada? Maybe we have the pre-cover inspection in the U.S. before we ship it to Canada? Or is the pre-cover inspection location specific?
    2.) How would you do this if you were to build your kit in Canada and bring it to the U.S. where it will reside?

    Anyway, I think you understand where we going with this. Someone has certainly done this before? Just trying to get in front of any potential issues before we start our build.

    Thanks for your input and ideas!

  2. #2
    Sam Buchanan's Avatar
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    A call to the nice folks at EAA headquarters will answer all your questions.
    Sam Buchanan
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  3. #3
    CarlOrton's Avatar
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    Sam gives the correct answer above.

    Just for discussion purposes though, I have a few questions based on your opening post. You state that your finance company requires the plane to be registered with an N-number when it's nothing more than a pile of parts. This *can* be done, but the convention is that you don't register until an inspection is just around the corner. I've never heard of any other builder having to do this, at this point in time. Is this because the company *knows* the parts will be in Canada, and wishes to ensure that it will be a US aircraft in case they have to repo it? Perhaps find a different finance company? Care to mention the company name if it's a well-known one?

    I'm unclear on the pre-cover inspection. If all you're going to do is play with metal parts (as in, it's not an aircraft until it's been granted special AW), you don't have to have any Canadian inspections. The US FAA or DAR don't care if you have any interim inspections. Yes, they *like* to see evidence of a few EAA Tech Counselor visits, but nothing prevents you from building the entire plane in isolation then presenting it for airworthiness inspection. There's no longer any US requirement to have a pre-cover inspection.

    You might also have some issues with the FAA. Not throwing stones, but trying to provide some awareness. This sounds a bit as though your helper is doing all the work with no benefit to him/her. They're just going to build the plane for fun then hand it over to you? Or are you paying them? Yes, you state that you'll travel up there to assist, but with you in NC, are you really going to be able to logistically be that involved? The FAA likes to review the builder logs, and it's always encouraged to have pics of YOU being involved. There's builder assist and build-for-hire. The latter, depending on how it's documented, *might* be a point of concern for the FAA.
    Last edited by CarlOrton; 05-05-2018 at 08:56 AM.

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

  4. #4

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    Contacting the EAA is a good idea. Buying their Experimental Amateur Certification Kit (also sold by Aircraft Spruce) would also be a good idea. You could also talk to the local DAR that does inspections in your area. What I think you will find is that what you plan to do is no big deal. There is no pre-cover inspection requirement in the US so forget about it. Build the plane in Canada following the requirements of the FAA. It does not matter who or how many people do the work as long as it is amateur built and you have complete records of the build process. When the plane is complete or nearly so, transport the plane to the US for final assembly and inspection. If the DAR asks where the plane was built tell him, otherwise there is no reason to mention it. The inspection will mostly be about paperwork and records and a little about looking at the plane. There is a good article in the October 17 issue of Kitplanes magazine, "Getting Your Plane Ready for the DAR" that explains the paperwork requirements in great detail. I had my inspection done last November and I caught several mistakes on my paperwork using that article. You might also contact US Customs and find out what is involved in importing an incomplete kit plane from Canada. Since the kit was produced in the US I suspect it will not be a big deal but it would be nice to know what to expect. Good luck.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlOrton View Post
    Sam gives the correct answer above.

    Just for discussion purposes though, I have a few questions based on your opening post. You state that your finance company requires the plane to be registered with an N-number when it's nothing more than a pile of parts. This *can* be done, but the convention is that you don't register until an inspection is just around the corner. I've never heard of any other builder having to do this, at this point in time. Is this because the company *knows* the parts will be in Canada, and wishes to ensure that it will be a US aircraft in case they have to repo it? Perhaps find a different finance company? Care to mention the company name if it's a well-known one?
    The finance company is NAFCO as referred by EAA https://www.eaa.org/en/eaa/eaa-membe...ials-financing

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlOrton View Post
    I'm unclear on the pre-cover inspection. If all you're going to do is play with metal parts (as in, it's not an aircraft until it's been granted special AW), you don't have to have any Canadian inspections. The US FAA or DAR don't care if you have any interim inspections. Yes, they *like* to see evidence of a few EAA Tech Counselor visits, but nothing prevents you from building the entire plane in isolation then presenting it for airworthiness inspection. There's no longer any US requirement to have a pre-cover inspection.
    Good to know!

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlOrton View Post
    You might also have some issues with the FAA. Not throwing stones, but trying to provide some awareness. This sounds a bit as though your helper is doing all the work with no benefit to him/her. They're just going to build the plane for fun then hand it over to you? Or are you paying them? Yes, you state that you'll travel up there to assist, but with you in NC, are you really going to be able to logistically be that involved? The FAA likes to review the builder logs, and it's always encouraged to have pics of YOU being involved. There's builder assist and build-for-hire. The latter, depending on how it's documented, *might* be a point of concern for the FAA.
    We could certainly change the process to a "build-for-hire" scenario. I will research to find out more on how to do that. He's not totally doing his portion of the work for free and I will pay for material expenses. He and I have worked out a mutual arrangement for a future project that will involve more of my time than his for that one.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tralika View Post
    Contacting the EAA is a good idea. Buying their Experimental Amateur Certification Kit (also sold by Aircraft Spruce) would also be a good idea. You could also talk to the local DAR that does inspections in your area. What I think you will find is that what you plan to do is no big deal. There is no pre-cover inspection requirement in the US so forget about it. Build the plane in Canada following the requirements of the FAA. It does not matter who or how many people do the work as long as it is amateur built and you have complete records of the build process. When the plane is complete or nearly so, transport the plane to the US for final assembly and inspection. If the DAR asks where the plane was built tell him, otherwise there is no reason to mention it. The inspection will mostly be about paperwork and records and a little about looking at the plane. There is a good article in the October 17 issue of Kitplanes magazine, "Getting Your Plane Ready for the DAR" that explains the paperwork requirements in great detail. I had my inspection done last November and I caught several mistakes on my paperwork using that article. You might also contact US Customs and find out what is involved in importing an incomplete kit plane from Canada. Since the kit was produced in the US I suspect it will not be a big deal but it would be nice to know what to expect. Good luck.
    Good points! I have joined KitPlanes.com and will read the "Getting Your Plane Ready for the DAR" article. Thanks!

  7. #7

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    We could certainly change the process to a "build-for-hire" scenario.
    There is no "build-for-hire" under the Experimental Amateur Built rules.

    Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), part 21, section 21.191(g), defines an amateur-built aircraft as an aircraft "the major portion of which has been fabricated and assembled by person(s) who undertook the construction project solely for their own education or recreation."

    This FAA website has detailed information;

    https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/gen_av/...amateur_built/

    You can pay for building assistance but you would still have to be the one that does the major portion of the work and have that documented in your build log. At the time of inspection the DAR will look at that closely.

  8. #8
    Sam Buchanan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baldcaldwell View Post
    We could certainly change the process to a "build-for-hire" scenario. I will research to find out more on how to do that. He's not totally doing his portion of the work for free and I will pay for material expenses. He and I have worked out a mutual arrangement for a future project that will involve more of my time than his for that one.
    "Build for hire" (often referred to as a "hired gun".....) will torpedo this entire endeavor because that is a huge no-no when presenting an aircraft for an Experimental Airworthiness Certificate.

    You really do need to call the EAA since it appears you are unfamiliar with the experimental aircraft framework.
    Sam Buchanan
    The RV Journal RV-6 build log
    Fokker D.VII semi-replica build log
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  9. #9

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    Hey Guys,

    I want to be perfectly clear that the purpose for my posting this discussion was NOT to circumvent the E-AB process. I don't think anyone has suggested that; but in case there were any doubts. When I started this thread I didn't know what I didn't know, as Sam alluded to. I have read and researched much, but apparently not enough. Some of what I have uncovered includes independent builder assistance programs offered for such experimentals as the Vans RV, Carbon Cub, Glasair, etc. Since I have not uncovered a builder assist program for the Bearhawk, I began wondering to what extent a one-off build assist could be achieved. I certainly don't want to break any rules with the FAA or get sideways with the EAA community. And I am not incapable or adverse to building on my own. I just don't want to do it alone. Because I REALLY appreciate collaborating and working with friend and others. As far as I'm concerned as a 27 year pilot and passionate aviation enthusiast, what could be more fun?!

    I just wanted to share these details and sentiment to provide a deeper look at my intentions. Sam, I will make the phone call to the EAA tomorrow.

  10. #10

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    If you haven't already done so, you should call Bearhawk and ask them about builder assist programs. They should be getting feedback from their kit owners. They might also be able to put you in contact with any kit builders in your area. Your local EAA chapter would also be a good resource. You never know how much help might be available from them. Good luck.

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