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Thread: Add constant speed prop to an E-LSA - can it ever go back?

  1. #1

    Join Date
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    Question Add constant speed prop to an E-LSA - can it ever go back?

    Under today's rules, I understand that such a modification will require recertifying my kit aircraft as "Experimental", and must operate under those Part 21 rules. This change does not affect me personally, but limits its resale marketability. Can the kit manufacturer or other resource step in to recertify back to E-LSA when the CS propeller is replaced with fixed pitch? Is this addressed in upcoming LSA rule changes?

  2. #2
    DaleB's Avatar
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    IF it were possible, no, once it's been outside of the LSA envelope it can never go back in. Example: Take an otherwise Sport Pilot qualified Champ, add no-bounce struts, make a notation in the log that its gross weight is now 1350#. No longer legal to fly under SP privileges, though it's still perfectly legal if you'rve got a Private Pilot certificate and either a medical or Basic Med. Now, remove the heavy duty gear legs, set the gross weight back to 1320 or below, you're still fine -- except that it will NEVER again be legal to fly under Sport Pilot privileges.

    But that's not an E-LSA. For an E-LSA, no reclassicification would be possible. You can't recertify E-LSA as E-AB. E-LSA has no 51% rule, so there is no path from E-LSA to E-AB after the airworthiness certificate is issued. You MIGHT maybe possibly be able to get it certified as Experimental R&D or Experimental Exhibition, but I'd talk to the FAA before trying anything like that.

    You can make any modifications you want to an E-LSA. BUT... if you modify an E-LSA outside of the limits of an LSA, you have created a very expensive lawn ornament that can never be made legal to fly. It's no longer a legal LSA, the airworthiness certificate is no longer valid (since it's not an LSA any more), and there's no path back to a flyable certificate, even if it's restored to its original state.

    If you wanted to do this, you could build (for example) an RV-12 and certify it as E-AB at completion instead of E-LSA. Then you can modify it to your heart's content, but again - if it's ever been outside the LSA envelope, you can't stuff it back in.

    As for what may or may not change in the future, I wouldn't get my hopes up.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

    Flying an RV-12. Building a Fisher Celebrity.

  3. #3
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    Dale has it correct, of course. For those who want the regulation, it's 14CFR Part 1:

    Light-sport aircraft means an aircraft, other than a helicopter or powered-lift that, since its original certification, has continued to meet the following....

    and, of course, Item 7 under this includes "A fixed or ground-adjustable propeller if a powered aircraft other than a powered glider."

    Ron Wanttaja

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