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Thread: Realities of owning a second hand "Experimental Exhibition" Category Aircraft?

  1. #1

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    Realities of owning a second hand "Experimental Exhibition" Category Aircraft?

    I read a bit about Acro shows a while back, and one of the things that have stuck with me is the "Clipped Wing" aircraft that were modified for performances. Part of me thinks it would be cool to own one and keep it flying as a historic piece. I presume most of these were modified in the "Experimental Exhibition".

    What would be involved in buying, maintaining and operating a second hand "Experimental Exhibition" category aircraft? How would it differ from an Amateur-Built or Standard Category?

  2. #2

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    There are Clip-Wing's done under and STC that retained their original certification.

    That said, my friends who own Experimental Exhibition airplanes report that it is almost like owning an Experimental Amateur Built. Insurance and financing are the most interesting issues. Fewer options than a regular certificated aircraft.

    If you have never owned an airplane before, a Normal, Standard, or Acro category aircraft that has factory support and local mechanics who work on a number of those airplanes will have an easier learning curve. Many airplanes look "cool" but are not for the individual who has not learned that maintaining an airplane is not like taking your car to the dealer's service department and coming back at the end of the day to pick it up all done.

    Success with an out-of-the-mainstream airplane generally involves lots of $$ or lots of hands-on hours in the college of aeronautical knowledge.

    Best of luck,

    Wes

  3. #3

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    There is more to operating an Exhibition category than Amateur Built. The Operating Limitations will define a geographic area where you are allowed to fly for proficiency. You will have to submit a Program Letter to the FAA every year saying where you plan to exhibit your aircraft. The only time you can fly your plane outside the area defined in the Operating Limitations is when you are on your way to or from the place where it is to be exhibited. Most owners take a somewhat indirect route to and from the exhibition destination and the FAA looks the other way, but you still have to play the game with the Program Letter every year so it's not at all like Amateur Built where you can fly wherever you want once you complete the Phase 1 flight testing. I owned an Experimental Exhibition/Air Racing category glider. I made cross country flights in the glider but obviously not the type of flights normally done in airplanes. I suggest you talk to some Exhibition category owners so you know what your getting into before you buy.

  4. #4
    gbrasch's Avatar
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    Recently saw an Exhibition category aircraft at my airport. The guy had flown from the PHX area down for lunch, then back. Not sure what the FAA would do to him if they noticed.
    Glenn Brasch
    KRYN Tucson, Arizona
    2013 RV-9A
    Medevac helicopter pilot (Ret)
    EAA member since 1980
    Owner, "Airport Courtesy Cars" website.
    www.airportcourtesycars.com
    Volunteer Mentor www.SoAZTeenAviation.org

  5. #5
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Just for S&Gs, I took a look at the Experimental Exhibition listings in the January 2019 FAA database. These are rough figures from a quick pass.

    59% have reciprocating engines, 20% are jets (including turbofans, turboprops, etc.)
    63% are of foreign manufacture
    15% are US Warbirds
    37% are foreign warbirds.

    Ron Wanttaja

  6. #6

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    The rules for Exp-Ex aircraft have loosened. You still have to send an annual letter to your FSDO but for many aircraft there is no longer a radius your are restricted to for "proficiency" flying. For example, if you own an Exp-Ex Extra 300, your radius of operation is unlimited. So "it depends" on the type of Exp-Ex and the individual operating limitations.

    Best of luck,

    Wes

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