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Thread: Can a Non ELSA plane be flown LSA?

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    Can a Non ELSA plane be flown LSA?

    Maybe the title is confusing, but I can't find an answer to my question. I have built a cub type kit plane that is certified to a gross weight of 1865 lbs. The plane can be built very light and some have flown the plane as LSA.

    I'm having a DAR inspection this Friday. I submitted the weight and balance with the 1865lbs gross weight. The DAR said that if you want to go LSA then the W&B must reflect the new gross weight (1320lbs).

    Question; can you get an airworthiness cert at the 1865lbs, but then fly within the weight boundaries of LSA?

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    Nope

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    No and from everything I have heard you cannot change the gross weight to 1320 down the road.
    DENNY

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    Calling Joe Norris or DGApilot. I'd like to hear a DAR response to this because I've heard an experimental can have the gross weight changed. The regs say if the plane was ever certified to a higher weight it can't operate LSA, or something along those lines. The question is in the word certified, I believe. I have no idea what's right but I've heard it both ways.

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    If you ever want to qualify to fly with a Light Sport pilot certificate, the aircraft can’t have been certified over 1320 GW. For E-AB airplanes, it is up to the builder to establish what the GW is based on sound engineering. You could supply W&B at Certification that shows 1320 and change it later, but read your op limits concerning major changes. Read Part 1.1 for the definition - Light-sport aircraft means an aircraft, other than a helicopter or powered-lift that, since its original certification, has continued to meet the following:
    (i) 1,320 pounds (600 kilograms) for aircraft not intended for operation on water.


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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Not sure about Experimental, but in the case of my certified LSA eligible Taylorcraft earlier altered by STC SA1-210 (GW change and C-85), I can operate only once at one of two optional GW...1280# or 1500# on conventional gear. Same modifications - two GW choices by the installer. If I move from 1280 to 1500# I can't later go back to the lower weight I was told by the current DER STC holder. Why? The 1280# it's a CAR 4 equivalent airplane (BC12D-4-85); the 1500# it's a later CAR 3 equivalent airplane (Model 19) with a Fight Manual and marking requirement. Certification follows the choice of GW.

    Gary

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    I'm a Private Pilot that will now fly Light Sport.

    On another note; I believe you can change the experimental certified airworthiness cert weight upwards to what the plane was designed for, but you cannot go back. You can only increase never decrease.

    My question stems from a comment he (DAR) made that a 'lot of people are flying cubs as LSA'. But I don't think the Cub was ever certified LSA.

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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    The J-3 and PA-11 Cubs qualify as LSA. See TCDS' A-691, 692, and 698.

    Gary

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    The J-3 and PA-11 Cubs qualify as LSA. See TCDS' A-691, 692, and 698.

    Gary
    They will always be Standard Category aircraft, but meet the definition of LSA in Part 1.1


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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Light Sport Aircraft: Existing Type Certificated Models

    https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/gen_av/light_sport/media/existingmodels.pdf


    Gary

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    Thanks for all the great information.

    The problem that strarted this was how can I use an instructor and gain experience when with two large males in the plane, there is no gross weight left for fuel? Hence my original question of certifying the higher gross weight (which would alllow instructor and fuel) , but then after instruction and with me as PIC I would then fly the plane LSA.

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeroaddict View Post
    Thanks for all the great information.

    The problem that strarted this was how can I use an instructor and gain experience when with two large males in the plane, there is no gross weight left for fuel? Hence my original question of certifying the higher gross weight (which would alllow instructor and fuel) , but then after instruction and with me as PIC I would then fly the plane LSA.
    That is one of the basic conundrums of Light Sport. In fact, many of the LS qualified airplanes out there are effectively single seat airplanes with much fuel.

    MTV

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    You have been given very good answers. What I would do in your case....put the GW at 1320 when you get it inspected. Find another plane to get your training in for the time being. Then, if or when, the new rules get implimented, change your GW to the higher GW. Unless you haven't heard/read, there is talk of increasing the GW for LSA. This will be a big boon to those flying under LSA. Don't expect this to happen overnight though, as the wheels of the government bueracracy turn very slow! For more info check the EAA and AOPA sites.
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    40m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeroaddict View Post
    Thanks for all the great information.

    The problem that strarted this was how can I use an instructor and gain experience when with two large males in the plane, there is no gross weight left for fuel? Hence my original question of certifying the higher gross weight (which would alllow instructor and fuel) , but then after instruction and with me as PIC I would then fly the plane LSA.
    Find a skinny instructor or not. Half of my primary training was in a C-150 with an instructor who had to suck it all in to bring the yoke to the stops. We'll just say gross was in the gray zone.

    From Genesis: "And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be
    found in all corners of the earth."

    Then he made the earth round... and He laughed and laughed and laughed!

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    jnorris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeroaddict View Post
    Question; can you get an airworthiness cert at the 1865lbs, but then fly within the weight boundaries of LSA?
    Answer; NO! The definition of a light-sport aircraft, found in 14 CFR 1.1, requires that an aircraft meet the LSA definition continually since it's original certification. Once an aircraft is placed outside the LSA definition, either at initial certification, or sometime thereafter, it can never be eligible for operation by sport pilots regardless of what happens later on.

    So the bottom line is, if you want the ability to operate the aircraft as a LSA, you must certificate it at the 1320 lb gross weight.

    Hope this helps!
    Joe

    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat

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    Thanks all for all the information. I like the skinny instructor idea!

    Plan of action: certify at LSA 1320, gain instruction/time in like aircraft.

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    PerryB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40m View Post
    Find a skinny instructor or not. Half of my primary training was in a C-150 with an instructor who had to suck it all in to bring the yoke to the stops. We'll just say gross was in the gray zone.
    Sounds like my PPL checkride. I showed up in a 140 full of fuel, and this guy turned out to be huge. He gave me a prescription of short field/ soft field takeoffs and landings to perform while he stood at the end of the runway and watched, after which point I had arguably burned enough fuel to make GW with him aboard. I seriously doubt we ever got below gross.
    After Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says WTF !
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  18. #18
    n40ff's Avatar
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    John Reed of Laurel, De. was a large man. Wasn't far from APG. I went to him for my PPL check ride in 1971. Doing my W&B I asked his weight. He asked if my C150 was a commuter or not, confirmed I had left APG with full fuel and sized me up(I was about 145# then). He thought a moment , I guess doing the math in his head, and gave me a weight.....My addition yielded a figure exactly 4# under gross. Like above, in reality I doubt we were ever under gross?

    Aside. I never landed the airplane on my check ride. Mr. Reed didn't like my approach and took the airplane and landed. On roll out he said, "your airplane"....I asked if we should take off again and he asked, "what for?". Well, I didn't land the airplane. He asked, "You know how to land an airplane don't you? Well yea. "You're a private pilot now, you can go learn how to fly." Entire thing from touch down at Laurel for the ride to take off going home was less than two hours......

    Oh well,

    Jack
    Last edited by n40ff; 09-27-2019 at 06:32 AM.

  19. #19
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Now that's how a PP checkride should go!
    Sounds like the guy I did mine with.
    He didn't expect you to be an ATP, just know how to fly the airplane & have a feel for it.\
    After all, it is truly a "license to learn".
    He wasn't above grabbing the controls & showing you "now this is how I do it".
    About the same deal as your examiner on the gross weight issue too--
    he told me to plan a cross country, then told me what number to plug in for him on the W&B.
    When I gave him a doubtful look, he told me to "just shut up and do it!
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    I love these stories. My PP checkride was a spin, a loop, a cropduster demo - and a shot of whiskey while the examiner signed my ticket. I had no idea I was taking a checkride.
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  21. #21
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    It can bring good luck when a maneuver is poor to ask for a demonstration so we can improve. Some instructors won't but I've found most check airmen to be helpful and willing if asked.

    Gary

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    I love these stories. My PP checkride was a spin, a loop, a cropduster demo - and a shot of whiskey while the examiner signed my ticket. I had no idea I was taking a checkride.[/QUOTE]

    Intersting, I'll definitely bring a bottle for my next BA.

    Arnold
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    I took my PPL ride with a 250+ lb examiner. I was about 190 at the time. The plane was a Piper Tomahawk, and the tanks were 1/2 full. When I did the W&B, I found we were 18 lbs (3 gallons of avgas) over max gross weight. The examiner asked what I planned to do. Being a well-trained Army aviator, adept at following the rules, I told him I was calling the fuel truck over to have them pump 3 gallons out of the tanks. He told me if I did that, he would flunk me for "poor judgement"... He told me to just do my taxiing at high throttle settings, and we'd burn off those 3 gallons before takeoff. (Nope - that "taxi fuel" was already factored into my calculations...) I just nodded my head, and resolved to be extra gentle with my maneuvers until 15 minutes into the flight... But I gotta tell you I was pretty uncomfortable with that whole experience! I kept looking around for the "Candid Camera" crew...

    After we landed, we had a serious discussion about W&B considerations, with him thinking he was educating me on the "realities" of the world... (I didn't tell him that I was an Army helicopter instructor pilot with over 1000 hours instructor time – just let him go through his spiel...) He basically said that airplanes seldom weigh exactly what the logbook W&B form indicates (true in my experience). He claimed that airplane weights vary by as much as 30 pounds, and are usually less than "book" weight (not true in my experience – every airplane I've ever had weighed came in at least 30 lbs heavier than the "current" W&B form stated). His claim was that if you were within 30 lbs (~5 gallons) of max gross, that was "good enough" to be legal for flight. Later, when I shared what he had told me with my CFI, he turned purple with anger. He knew the examiner, and called him on the phone to have it out with him. Apparently, the examiner admitted he was wrong, and that he should have let me have the fuel drained as a "learning experience." But he still felt like it was OK to fly when you were 30 lbs above gross weight – anything within 10% of gross weight (which would have been more like 160 lbs!)... I learned later that either the FAA revoked his examiner's certificate, or he voluntarily surrendered it. Either way, he was "no longer available" for pilot examinations.

    Years later, when I got back into flying, I flew with an outfit that flew LSA Sport Cruisers. Great little planes – fast, comfortable, and very efficient. But to stay within legal W&B limits, I had to find a pretty slim instructor, and even then we could only fly with about 1/2 fuel – which was still enough for about 2 hours of training, landing with a 1 hour reserve. Like I said, great little planes!
    Jim Parker
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  24. #24
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Last flight review we discussed this>

    1941 Taylorcraft C-85 with many STC's and electrical system
    STC'd GW-1280# (Light sport is 1320 max./plane is also STC'd for 1500#)
    EW on wheels-834# (recently weighed=486 useful)
    Fuel 9 gallons-54# (normal 6gal/hr+1/2 hr reserve)
    Two SOB-195# ea. (leaves two pounds for dirt and headsets but no survival gear=no go in Alaska)

    So we flew instructor's P-Ponked C-180 floatplane.

    Gary

  25. #25
    n40ff's Avatar
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    Heck, they give you 15% increase in AK so how absolutely dangerous can it be(within reason)? Id' want to be in CG limits and have sufficient climb ability. Like 100# over gross, out of CG climbing over trees out of a 800' strip when it's 110F in a C150 might be a dumb idea, but 20# over gross is "usually" a rounding error on a standard day.

  26. #26
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n40ff View Post
    Heck, they give you 15% increase in AK so how absolutely dangerous can it be(within reason)?.......
    I've heard something like this before, can someone clarify?
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  27. #27
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    I've heard something like this before, can someone clarify?
    14 CFR part 91.323: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/91.323

    Note the specific applications. And while my 1941 Taylorcraft was certified under TCDS A-699 as a normal category CAR 4a airplane, the +15% for Alaska ops doesn't apply.

    The check pilot was an FAA employee and CFI. One point of the review was whether or not we could stay in compliance with the legal GW and Alaska's requirements for survival gear (http://dot.alaska.gov/stwdav/akfly.shtml), not if the GW has rubber bookends. Some call it a review - I call it a test.

    Gary

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    Even the FAA knows real reason you can fly overweight in Alaska. Despite all the teaching as to why planes fly the real fact in being on the ground sucks. This suck is what holds planes down and drags them from the sky. Think about it, go to Texas in the afternoon when it is 110 degrees out and it sucks so hard the planes just don't want to fly. East coast, West coast, same thing, hot way too much airspace stuff to deal with planes have to stay light to deal with all the suck that happens. Now if you come to the country of Alaska you will find things just don't suck as much as they do in the lower 48. We do get a few days when the TFR will shut down Anchorage for a few hours, or the smoke is bad, but in general minimal suck. I am pretty sure that is why the FAA allowed for the extra 15%!!
    DENNY

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    Most all aircraft will fly just fine overweight if you keep the weight in the middle of the CG range. Now you takeoff/landing will be longer, climb slower, and overall performance less. But the plane will usually fly just fine. The problem lies with knowing how to mitigate all the suck factors (weight, temp, runway, wind, etc) to make it work. We loose planes up here every year from being overweight and pilots not accounting for the loss of performance. It is much more a pilot choice/skill issue than an aircraft problem. MTV hit the nail on the head many of the light sport or even the Champ/Citabria/PA 11 type aircraft will have limited fuel once you stuff in two 200lb guys. Everybody has to make their own choice, just be safe.
    DENNY

  30. #30
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Please note my comments in #6 and #24. The LSA eligible plane is STC'd to either 1280 or 1500#, plus has a stroked C-85 and FA long flat prop. Performance wasn't the question. The review was about whether limits to CG and GW had a legidimate basis, or were only "suggestions" like highway speed.

    Plus I got to fly the review again in a real airplane (the C-180), not in some 78 year old Legacy Aircraft behind a coffee grinder held up by with wood spars.

    Gary

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    14 CFR part 91.323: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/91.323

    Note the specific applications. And while my 1941 Taylorcraft was certified under TCDS A-699 as a normal category CAR 4a airplane, the +15% for Alaska ops doesn't apply.

    The check pilot was an FAA employee and CFI. One point of the review was whether or not we could stay in compliance with the legal GW and Alaska's requirements for survival gear (http://dot.alaska.gov/stwdav/akfly.shtml), not if the GW has rubber bookends. Some call it a review - I call it a test.

    Gary
    And, if I'm reading it right, it applies ONLY to certificate holders operating under Part 121 or Part 135, (plus the US Department of Interior), but not to regular Joe Pilot... And it sounds like there would be a formal document approving such an increase in GW issued by "the Administrator"...

    I'd always heard it applied across the board, so I'm glad the question was asked and glad Gary posted the link to the pertinent section of 14 CFR...
    Jim Parker
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  32. #32
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimParker256 View Post
    And, if I'm reading it right, it applies ONLY to certificate holders operating under Part 121 or Part 135, (plus the US Department of Interior), but not to regular Joe Pilot... And it sounds like there would be a formal document approving such an increase in GW issued by "the Administrator"...

    I'd always heard it applied across the board, so I'm glad the question was asked and glad Gary posted the link to the pertinent section of 14 CFR...
    Yes, that supposed 15% over gross thing for Alaska has been a fairy tale for many years.

    MTV

  33. #33
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    I flew a C-185 at +10-15% for 20 yrs as required. No damage but they do tend to complain. If the engine quits it's just a quicker elevator to the basement and it pay's the same as when lighter.

    Gary

  34. #34
    n40ff's Avatar
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    I did understand that the AK 15% thing applies only to part 121 & 135 but the SAME aircraft flying part 91 is no less "safe". I do NOT suggest flying over gross. My point is that worry about being 20# over gross with a overweight check pilot(or CFI) in the right seat is silly unless other factors like density altitude or field length, etc. make it problematic.

    Also consider the fact that an aircraft well under gross may be just as problematic when these same factors are an issue.

    Almost every 2 place Pitts Special is being flown over gross every day, simply a fact that most pilots are too darn Fat now days.....

    Oh well

    Jack

    BTW. My instructor back at APG had warned me that Mr. Reed's love of cheeseburgers would require my being creative when doing the W&B.
    Last edited by n40ff; 10-01-2019 at 05:30 AM.

  35. #35

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    I don’t recall when the change came about, but I believe the 15% increase used to apply all airplanes. I know the current limitation to 135 and 121 goes back to 1997 (amendment 91-253) but not sure how much farther back it goes.


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  36. #36
    akavidflyer's Avatar
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    If its EAB then wher is the "gross weight" recorded other than the W&B. I have nothing in writing on any of the paperwork filed on my plane that shows a "gross weight". For that matter, there is no official "gross weight" only a maximum take off weight.

  37. #37
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akavidflyer View Post
    If its EAB then wher is the "gross weight" recorded other than the W&B. I have nothing in writing on any of the paperwork filed on my plane that shows a "gross weight". For that matter, there is no official "gross weight" only a maximum take off weight.
    It's recorded by you on your operations limitations when you are doing your flight testing hours.
    N1PA

  38. #38
    akavidflyer's Avatar
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    and can be pretty much anything you choose to record.

  39. #39
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akavidflyer View Post
    and can be pretty much anything you choose to record.
    That is correct, then that number is it unless you do further testing to be able to declare a different number. I chose 1999# on my Cub because the annual State registration fee goes up with a gross weight above 2000#.
    N1PA

  40. #40
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akavidflyer View Post
    and can be pretty much anything you choose to record.
    So, if you recorded that as 1320 or less when the airplane was licensed, you can operate it as LSA. If you licensed it at 1400, it can never be operated as LSA.

    Pretty simple. Not what a lot of folks want to hear, but.

    MTV
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