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Thread: When does an experimental become a new plane?

  1. #1

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    When does an experimental become a new plane?

    I noticed another post about buying a deregistered experimental, and it leads to me wondering when a plane is a new plane.

    If, hypothetically, that deregistered plan was purchased for parts to build a new one, how much could be used as parts and still certificate as a new E-AB?

  2. #2
    Sam Buchanan's Avatar
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    As stated in the other thread, the main hurdle to jump is establishing at least 51% of the aircraft being amateur-built. If so the aircraft could be reassembled and presented for an experimental airworthiness inspection. The aircraft becomes a "new" aircraft when the airworthiness certificate is issued.
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    DaleB's Avatar
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    I wonder if the previous E-AB airworthiness certification would be sufficient to prove majority amateur construction. I mean, presumably it was proven to be amateur built at some point... its component parts are not going to get any LESS amateur built.
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  4. #4

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    Dale, that's a bad road to go down, as one is the nebulous business of saying that the parts amateur built are part of the theoretical 51% and not the 49% that isn't.

    The Builder's Log, however, is absolute gold for this purpose, as it shows fabrication of each part used.

    When a plane is decertified, it's just parts, and becomes just that. Showing that the parts were fabricated is the big deal here.

    In fact, I wouldn't muddy the waters with a prior pink slip too much.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  5. #5
    DaleB's Avatar
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    Totally agree that IF the builder's log exists, or other docs, they could and should be used if they exist. My question was whether, if one were trying to resurrect a de-certified E/AB without adding any non amateur built parts, the fact that it was originally certified as E/AB would count for anything. Mathematically, if I start with something that was 51% amateur built, and I do repairs or build new parts that are amateur built, then it can't get any LESS amateur built. Right?

    Of course it may just be a lawn ornament. That sort of thing happens.
    Measure twice, cut once...
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  6. #6

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    The FAA in OKC explained it this way to me. Once an airplane is deregistered, the old Airworthy Certificate is no longer valid. You can not use it to prove anything. That paper has been destroyed. So now if you want to try and get this airplane flying you must have it reinspected as a complete airplane. Seeing how you can not prove who built it or anything else, it will have some special registeration. It was explained to me, if you ever want to fly the airplane again, don't destroy the orginal registration. Once this paper work is filled, your airplane is now screwed. It was also explained to me if someone does this, declares and airplane destroyed and in fact it is not. Someone is in deep. There are laws against filling false papers with the federal government.

    Tony
    Last edited by Sam Oleson; 10-18-2018 at 09:42 AM.

  7. #7
    EAA Staff Joda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1600vw View Post
    The FAA in OKC explained it this way to me. Once an airplane is deregistered, the old Airworthy Certificate is no longer valid. You can not use it to prove anything. That paper has been destroyed. So now if you want to try and get this airplane flying you must have it reinspected as a complete airplane.
    Tony is correct, except that the original paperwork is never destroyed. That airworthiness and registration file for the original airplane still exists in the FAA archives. So, if someone is able to prove that they have all the parts of this original airplane, AND they can get a bill of sale from the last registered owner so they can transfer the registration, they could in fact resurrect the original airplane under its original certification basis. An airplane could be destroyed and/or parted out, and could subsequently be repaired and reassembled. The key though, is getting that signed bill of sale from the last registered owner. If that can't be done, then resurrecting the original airplane is a non-starter.

    So the other option is to use various parts from the original airplane to incorporate into a new airplane, this can be done, but since you won't have any construction records for these components, you will not be able to prove that amateur builders constructed them. Thus, no credit toward the major portion (aka "51%"). This would be no different than buying these components from a kit manufacturer. You would need to come up with enough new, documented construction to make up your major portion without counting the components salvaged from the preexisting aircraft.

    So, for example, if you used the fuselage from this preexisting aircraft, you would need to make up your major portion through construction of the wings, tail, landing gear, etc. Or, if you use the wings, you'd have to build fuselage, tail, etc. in order to come up with you major portion.

    The other option would be to certificate the new airplane as experimental exhibition. Then there is no major portion to worry about, and it doesn't matter who built what. Yes, there are a few more restrictions on operating the aircraft, but it's better than being stuck with a pile of parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1600vw View Post
    It was also explained to me if someone does this, declares and airplane destroyed and in fact it is not. Someone is in deep shit. There are laws against filling false papers with the federal government.
    While that is technically true, I have never heard of the FAA taking action against anyone in this circumstance. I know of several airplanes that have been "destroyed" and then later resurrected with no problem.
    Cheers!

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  8. #8
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joda View Post
    ....So the other option is to use various parts from the original airplane to incorporate into a new airplane, this can be done, but since you won't have any construction records for these components, you will not be able to prove that amateur builders constructed them. Thus, no credit toward the major portion (aka "51%"). This would be no different than buying these components from a kit manufacturer. You would need to come up with enough new, documented construction to make up your major portion without counting the components salvaged from the preexisting aircraft.

    So, for example, if you used the fuselage from this preexisting aircraft, you would need to make up your major portion through construction of the wings, tail, landing gear, etc. Or, if you use the wings, you'd have to build fuselage, tail, etc. in order to come up with you major portion.
    One of the things I've been muttering about in the last several years is to build a new Fly Baby, with a brand-new fuselage and wings/tail/gear/engine/welded bits taken from my current Fly Baby.

    (becoming less a possibility as ADS-B prices come down.)

    Anyway, my thought is that I would have the existing airworthiness certificate for my current Fly Baby. I would expect that this would prove that these components, as used on Son of Trigger, had already been proven as Experimental Amateur-Built.

    In any case, there would be a complete new fuselage, which is really the most complex part of the airplane.

    Ron Wanttaja

  9. #9
    Sam Buchanan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    One of the things I've been muttering about in the last several years is to build a new Fly Baby, with a brand-new fuselage and wings/tail/gear/engine/welded bits taken from my current Fly Baby.

    (becoming less a possibility as ADS-B prices come down.)

    Anyway, my thought is that I would have the existing airworthiness certificate for my current Fly Baby. I would expect that this would prove that these components, as used on Son of Trigger, had already been proven as Experimental Amateur-Built.

    In any case, there would be a complete new fuselage, which is really the most complex part of the airplane.

    Ron Wanttaja
    Ron, there shouldn't be a need for you to repeat the airworthiness inspection as a "new" aircraft. You are describing a "repair", not the construction of a new aircraft. This would be the same scenario as if your aircraft had been damaged and was repaired with replacement parts with your original paperwork intact.

    Your Operating Limitations will describe what should be done following a major modification. Your OpLims may state it is necessary to inform the local FSDO of the modification and place the aircraft back into Phase One, or possibly undergo another inspection then fly a few hours in Phase One. But most of us would just "repair" the aircraft, document the repair in the logs and begin flying it again.

    I have considered building a Fly Baby with a steel fuse, seems like it would be the best of both worlds. What about using struts instead of flying cables?
    Last edited by Sam Buchanan; 10-17-2018 at 10:18 AM.
    Sam Buchanan
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  10. #10
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Buchanan View Post
    Ron, there would be no need for you to repeat the airworthiness inspection. You are describing a "repair", not the construction of a new aircraft. This would be the same scenario as if your aircraft had been damaged and was repaired with replacement parts with your original paperwork intact.
    Well, one factor is that I am not the builder of my current Fly Baby. I am, in fact, the fourth owner. It had 100 hours total time when I bought it...with 25 hours on the engine. It's getting tougher and tougher to find A&Ps willing to do the condition inspection. Build a new one, and I get the Repairman Certificate.

    The second factor is the ADS-B/Transponder exemption for aircraft "certificated without engine-driven electrical systems." My current airplane has an engine-driven electrical system (and a transponder). The generator would disappear, if the FWF portion of my current Fly Baby were transplanted to a new plane. But this is why the new, cheaper ADS-B setups are making me reconsider this plan. I think I can build a new Fly Baby for ~$3,000 or less. Cheaper ADS-Bs make it less attractive.

    Ron Wanttaja
    Last edited by rwanttaja; 10-17-2018 at 09:09 AM.

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