View Full Version : Experimental SC, second owner limitations?
04-04-2004, 02:38 AM
I have some questions about experimentals that I hope wome of you will be able to answer. Forgive my ignorance.
I'm considering purchasing en experimental A/C. Let's say I purchase said A/C. What maintenance or alteration, if any, am I allowed to do on said A/C? I understand that it must have a Conditon Inspection done annually, which can be completed by either the original builder or a A@P or IA?
What if I desire to make one or more additional alterations or additions to said A/C? For example, I install 31" AKBushwheels, and maybe an engine mod. for more HP. Is it legal for me to do? Do I have to get authorization from the original builder? File a form 337? Get a log book entry signed by an IA?
IN other words, what are my limitations? Can I still modify, perform maintenance and repairs, and other such things, once I become the owner of the A/C?
I'm really interested in what everyone thinks. These questions should be of concern to anyone considering the purchase of an experimental A/C.
Thanks, everyone, for any information you con provide.
04-04-2004, 08:30 AM
I"ll Bite. First the condition inspection can be done by an A&P. The condition inspection on a homebuilt is not a" privilege "of the IA certificate.
You as the owner can perform the maintenance on the aircraft, you just have to have an A&P sign of the condition inspection.
Second as to modifying the aircraft as an owner/builder or as the owner who is not the builder the catch all phrase that one wants to keep in the back of your mind is " Appreciably change the flight charecteristics of the aircraft". Now depending on the aircraft limitations that are issued with the airworthiness certificate will determine the necessary steps as far as the paperwork is concerned. No there is no such thing as a 337 for a homebuilt. There was a change in the late 90's to the operating limitations to allow the owner( I think, I'll have to look at mine for the exact wording later today) to make the change and put the aircraft back into Phase I flight test, with a log book entry, for a period of time ( usually 5-10 Hrs) to test the installation/modification to determine if it is safe for flight. After the time is flown off a log book entry is made with the test data entered into the aircraft records ( new empty weight, cg, stall speed ... and so on the operating limitations spell out what to enter.) If it is an older homebuilt you have to write a letter to the FSDO describing the changes to be made and you may have to have the aircraft reinspected. The FSDO then establishes the Phase I test flight time. (usually 5-10 hrs)
I would recommend to anyone that they contact their FSDO for their interpretation regarding what an owner can do on a homebuilt who is not the original builder.
04-04-2004, 12:07 PM
FAR 43.3 and 43.5 still apply to experimental aircraft. Under certain circumstances the builder can apply for and receive a repairmans certificate. that gives him the ability to sign off work after maintenance , preventative maintenance repair or alteration. The owner of an aircraft, experimental or not, that holds no certificates other than his pilots license is still limited to preventative maintenance by 43. At least that is what our FSDO adheres to (disclaimer) and of course they call that office flight standards because there are so many different standards. :morning:
04-04-2004, 06:43 PM
OK I brought a copy of my operating limitations home.
Paragraph 16 says
After incorperating a major change as described in 14CFR 21.93, the aircraft owner is required to establish compliance with 14CFR 91.319(b). All operations will conducted day VFR in a sparsely populated area. The aircraft must remain in flight for a minimum of 5 hours. Persons non-essential to flight shall not be carried. The aircraft ownershall make a detailed log book entry describing the change prior to test flight. Following satisfactory completion of the required number of flight hours in the flight test area, the pilot shall certify in the records that the aircraft has been shown to comply with 14CFR 91.319(b). Compliance with 14CFR 91.319(b) shall be recorded in the aircraft records with the following or a similarly worded statement:
"I certify that the prescribed flight test hours have been completed and the aircraft is controllable throughout its normal range of speeds and throughout all maneuvers to be executed, has no hazardous operating characteristics or design features, and is safe for operation. The following aircraft operating data has been demonstrated during the flight testing: Speeds Vso, Vx, and Vy, and the weight and CG location at which they were obtained."
14CFR 21.93 says
§21.93** Classification of changes in type design.
(a) In addition to changes in type design specified in paragraph (b) of this section, changes in type design are classified as minor and major. 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" (except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section).
14CFR 91.319(b) says
(b) No person may operate an aircraft that has an experimental certificate outside of an area assigned by the Administrator until it is shown that --
(1) The aircraft is controllable throughout its normal range of speeds and throughout all the maneuvers to be executed; and
(2) The aircraft has no hazardous operating characteristics or design features.
You as the Owner of the aircraft can do the maintenance/modification on the aircraft you just need the A&P to sign of the condition inspection. That is according to my operating limitations from the FAA.
04-04-2004, 06:52 PM
Where does your opperating limitations allow you to approve the aircraft for return to service after maintenance as per far 43?
04-04-2004, 07:26 PM
Thank you for the information you have provided. But it is still not gettingpast the thick armor around my small brain. If I put extended landing gear on the a/c, is that a major mod. or a minor mod.? If I install big bush tires on it , is it a major or minor mod.? So if I didn't build the a/c, I can still do the work, but the A@P must still complete the annual condition inspection?
Sorry for being so dense, but I would like to be clear on these things before I consider purchasing an Expermental SC built by someone else.
Thanks a bunch for all your assistance. Anyone else with pertinent info, please chime in.
04-04-2004, 09:34 PM
Cimarron it doesn't say I have to comply with Part 43 as far as maintenance/modification. What it says in Par 16 is
The aircraft owner shall make a detailed log book entry describing the change prior to test flight.
The only requirement for FAR 43 is to do a condition inspection in accordance with the scope and detail of Appendix D, or other approved inspection programs. Paragraph 23 says An experimental aircraft builder, certificated as a Repairman under Far 43.3 ( Airframe and Powerplant mechanic) may perform the condition inspection required by these operating limitations.
Go back and read FAR 21.93 as to major/minor. Keep this in the back of your mind " Does the change appreciably change the flight characteristics of the aircraft." If the aircraft you want to purchase has the same operating limitations as mine, if in doubt log the change do the flight test and return to service with the log book entry.
04-04-2004, 09:38 PM
Nobody knows what landing gear and tires were on the plane when it was certified in the experimental category unless there is some sort of equipment list that I have never seen on the experimentals I have been involved with. The EAA wrote an article about owners (non-builders) working on EXP A/C. As I recall the FAA didn't care. Call the EAA and they can verify. Part 43 isn't applicable to EXP A/C is it?
§ 43.1 Applicability.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, this part prescribes rules governing the maintenance, preventive maintenance, rebuilding, and alteration of any?
(1) Aircraft having a U.S. airworthiness certificate;
(2) Foreign-registered civil aircraft used in common carriage or carriage of mail under the provisions of Part 121 or 135 of this chapter; and
(3) Airframe, aircraft engines, propellers, appliances, and component parts of such aircraft.
(b) This part does not apply to any aircraft for which an experimental airworthiness certificate has been issued, unless a different kind of airworthiness certificate had previously been issued for that aircraft.
(c) This part applies to all life-limited parts that are removed from a type certificated product, segregated, or controlled as provided in §43.10.
04-04-2004, 10:33 PM
Just for the condition inspection does Part 43 Appendix D apply and who is authorized per part 43.3 to sign the inspection off.
04-04-2004, 11:09 PM
If your looking for a defined list of what you can and can't do with an exp. I don't believe you will find one. My experience, though limited, (I've owned two experimental a/c in the last four yrs) is that you can do what ever you want as long as you comply with the flight test paragraphs when needed and have an annual "condition inspection".
Owning an "Experimental" is the great part. Buying and selling them is the hard part. While there are a lot of really great home builts there is also a lot of down right scary, dangerous stuff. I looked at some I would not sit in let alone fly. If you find a good one and buy it you will probably enjoy it as much if not more than the "certified" folks do theirs. When you decide to sell it a whole new adventure begins.
Best of luck
04-05-2004, 08:42 AM
I didn't see it mentioned anywhere above. Is this a homebuilt or was it originally a certificated aircraft that has been modified and is now in the experimental category?
04-08-2004, 03:40 PM
Where does your opperating limitations allow you to approve the aircraft for return to service after maintenance as per far 43?
14 CFR Part 43 does not apply to an experimental/amateur-built aircraft. See 43.1(b), which states:
"(b) This part does not apply to any aircraft for which an experimental airworthiness certificate has been issued, unless a different kind of airworthiness certificate had previously been issued for that aircraft"
Since a homebuilt aircraft is originally certificated in an experimental category (i.e., experimental/amateur-built) this statement applies.
This being the case, there is no restriction on who performs maintenance, repair, or modification to the aircraft. No certificate of any kind is necessary when performing these functions.
However, that being said, there is a certificate requirement for the person who performs the condition inspection each year. This condition inspection, as well as the certificate requirements for the person performing the inspection, are called out in the aircraft's operating limitations (not in the regulations themselves).
The procedure for incorporating a major change is also called out in the aircraft's operating limitations. This procedure will vary depending on what guidance was in effect at the time the aircraft was certificated (or it's operating limitations were updated). It's important to follow the specific procedure called out in the operating limitations for the aircraft being modified (not the procedure that may be in the current guidance).
The operating limitations specifically state that a major change is defined in 14 CFR 21.93. But oddly enough, this regulation actually defines a minor change, and goes on to state that anything that doesn't fit the definition is a major change. 21.93 states (in pertinent part):
"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'."
So, if you can show that the change you are making to the homebuilt does not effect the "weight, balance, structural strength, reliability, operational characteristics, or other characteristics affecting the airworthiness" of the aircraft, then you are free to make the change. If, however, the change you propose does have an effect on these areas, then you must use the procedure called out in the operating limitations for approving the major change.
On the issue of the repairman certificate, only the original, primary builder of the aircraft is eligible to receive this certificate. No subsequent owner of the aircraft is eligible (regardless of the person's background or experience). This is called out in 14 CFR 65.104, which can be viewed at:
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