Going Experimental?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Cruzinchris, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. Cruzinchris

    Cruzinchris Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I am an electrical engineer, I was trained in the Navy to work on airplanes, etc. I want to work on my certified airplane and make reasonable modifications mostly electrical. Even adding a USB plug requires a A&P signoff and I know a lot more than he does about things like that.

    Thinking about going Experimental. The plane is only worth about $25k, so resale value is not a consideration.
     
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  2. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    Probably you can't do that.
     
  3. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Do you have a 12v cigarette lighter port?
    they make adaptors to USB
     
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  4. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    you could always do the mod under supervision and have your A&P sign it off.
     
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  5. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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    Which category of experimental? You do realize there are going to be several limitations as to how you can operate the airplane.

    https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/air_cert/airworthiness_certification/sp_awcert/experiment/
     
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  6. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    You want to "convert" your type certificated aircraft to experimental ________ (what - R&D?)
     
  7. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    What kind of experimental do you want to go to?
    You can't go Experimental Amateur Build, since it was built in a factory.
    You could Possibly Go Experimental Exhibition and Racing, but the will have submit a program letter to the FAA every year. It will probably limit you from carrying passengers and to flying at specific events or practice areas.

    Brian
    CFIIG/ASEL
     
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  8. jrollf

    jrollf Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The easiest way to get the freedom you are looking for is to sell your plane and either build or buy an EAB (Experimental Amateur Built) Airplane.

    If you build it, you can even do the yearly inspections (called 'conditional inspection' instead of an 'annual' when its an EAB). If you buy an EAB, the builder or an A&P has to do the conditional inspection.
     
  9. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    He could do it. Just not legally. Unless he only wants to fly it once a year.

    What exactly are you trying to do that you need the AP sign off?
     
  10. Eric Lehto

    Eric Lehto Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Use your navy time to qualify to take the A&P exams....
     
  11. Bell206

    Bell206 Final Approach

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    FYI: He could and fly more than once a year. Most people who go this route with a TC'd aircraft go Exp Exhibition. Its the least restrictive and drops the annual requirement but still requires an A&P conditional. However it requires a yearly Program Letter and renewal plus there are usually geographical limitations and various operational limitations. If the OPs intent is to convert in order to operate his TC aircraft like an E/AB he will be disappointed.
     
  12. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    In Canada, we have a category called "owner maintenance." You can take a lot of older planes from certified into O-M category, but it's a one-way trip, and it means that you can never fly the plane into the U.S. or export it in the future.

    https://copanational.org/en/owner-maintenance/

    Here's the list of eligible models (you can still try applying to Transport Canada for a "Special Certificate of Airworthiness - Owner-maintenance" even if your model isn't in the list):

    https://tc.canada.ca/en/corporate-s...l-certificate-airworthiness-owner-maintenance
     
  13. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    Wasn't talking the literal sense. But really exhibition, air racing... How often could you realistically fly it? He's looking to get around some paperwork and regulation. There's going to be more.

    Serious question as I don't know. But say I want to throw in a whole panel in a certified plane (I don't, but suspecting op does wants to put more than a usb outlet in). Could the owner do the work so long as it was signed off and had a new weight and balance done?
     
  14. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    Methinks it would be easier if you sold what you have and built or bought an equivalent (or near about) experimental aircraft. Anyone can work on an experimental. It may not be smart to let just anyone work on your experimental aircraft - but it is legal. However someone with a certificate has to sign off the condition inspection. That could be the builder or an A&P.

    I really love the cost savings and the freedom that comes with having the right to do the repairs on mine and being able to sign it off. For instance, when I installed the Garmin 320A transponder I did away with a lot of the original mounting hardware and saved a lot of weight. Adding ADSB "In" & "out" was less than $1400.00 complete and only took a few hours.

    I use aircraft quality parts where applicable and the best of quality where ever aircraft parts aren't used or available such as with the conversion engine. And I still have the option of having an A&P look it over to see if I've missed anything.
     
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  15. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Anyone can spin a wrench as long as the appropriate person "supervises" and signs off. That's one route to becoming an A&P - work on airplanes.
     
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  16. Bell206

    Bell206 Final Approach

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    It would depend on the number of trips you put on your yearly Program Letter and what the DAR/ASI will sign off on. I've seen EE aircraft fly every weekend in the summer and some more.
    An owner... or anyone... can work on a TC'd aircraft. Just need an AP to sign the book. I supported owner assisted maintenance for a number of years where owners did most of the work depending on their comfort level with no restrictions. Well except I had to be qualified to do the work the owner wanted to do.
     
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  17. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    But is putting in a new panel and removing all the steam gauges considered maintenance?
     
  18. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    yes
     
  19. Bell206

    Bell206 Final Approach

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    Unless you can make the work fit, even barely, into the preventative maintenance list in Part 43 App A, it will be considered maintenance requiring an AP. But also keep in mind if you are altering the aircraft by removing the steam gauges and installing all glass that only falls under the realm of the AP.
     
  20. Cruzinchris

    Cruzinchris Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm the OP. Thanks for all the comments. What I want to do is to be able to install the great experimental avionics available. AoA's for example. Even the Garmin G5 Exp is something like $1000 cheaper than the certified G5. And they are the same. I want to put in my own designed LED lighting and a lot of other electronics/modifications. Strictly VFR. I would want to fly weekly. I think I could qualify for Research and Development Experimental. I guess that would be up to my local FSDO?

    My plane, a Musketeer Sport is a great plane. Maybe I could get $30k for it. Where can I find an experimental anywhere even close that has equivalent capability? I'm 73 YO, too late for an A&P.
     
  21. Bell206

    Bell206 Final Approach

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    Taking any TC aircraft experimental to perform those types of changes will not give you the flexibility you seek. Instead, find you a free thinking AP who understands the is no difference between "experimental" avionics and "certified" avionics and have him install them all, legally, in your Sport as an alteration, to include your LED lighting. If the AP is sharp enough he can probably do it all as a minor alteration. Just be sure to keep your IA in the loop if not the same person.
     
  22. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Pattern Altitude

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    gotta split a hairs with you bell, "just need an AP to SUPERVISE and sign the book". what is supervision is your call.......
     
  23. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Why not just sell it and buy an experimental airplane? Once you get it you can do whatever you want. Lots of experiments can be had for not that much coin, and they'll fly circles around anything certificated.
     
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  24. Snowmass

    Snowmass Line Up and Wait

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    I have done 95% of the maintenance on my C-210 including two major OHs with an A&P sign off. I have been asking for a PRIVATE mechanics license for years but no enthusiasm. We distinguish between private and commercial pilot licenses so why not for someone that can show good mechanical ability for just his own airplane?
     
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  25. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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    With that much time why not just document for the 30 months experience, take the writtens and practical test and get the A&P?
     
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  26. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    Learning something new everyday. You mean the OP already has - with his Navy background - all the requirements to be an AP? He just needs to take a written and practical test? Then he can install and sign off what he wants?

    How can even an licensed AP install, for example, a Garmin whatnot that is sold for "Experimental" in a certified plane? Why then would there be any certification needed for non experimental planes?
     
  27. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    I applaud the collective here for not making any snarky replies about "going experimental" such as "hey, what you do in the privacy of your own home is your business" - "between you and your wife / partner".

    In all seriousness, when I see the maintenance needed and costs for our club's aircraft, the more I'm understanding the financial risk of keeping a certified aircraft up and running. EAB looks more and more attractive.
     
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  28. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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    Not sure what the OP's Navy background was, so he may, or may not be able to get credit for some or all.

    The regulations has a method to get an A&P based upon OJT (on the job training) which is 18 months for the airframe and 18 months for the powerplant, or 30 months for combined. Then there are 3 writtens (General, Airframe and Powerplant) that must be passed, then a practical test.

    https://ecfr.io/Title-14/Part-65/Subpart-D

    https://fsims.faa.gov/PICDetail.aspx?docId=8900.1,Vol.5,Ch5,Sec2
     
  29. Bell206

    Bell206 Final Approach

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    True. But my answer was in general and would expect the signing AP to review 43.3 with OP and go over the rules of engagement. Regardless, there still is a lot of work the OP can do on his own that is outside the supervise requirement.
     
  30. Bell206

    Bell206 Final Approach

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    There are no "experimental" parts. That is simply the vendors way of not running amiss with Part 3. But in order to sell a part for install on a TC'd aircraft it has to be approved per Part 21. The vendor has no other option.

    As how to install an "exp" Garmin on a TC aircraft, the vendor does not dictate what can be installed on what aircraft, the installer does, i.e., the AP does per Part 43. If the garmin is a replacement for an existing approved part then technically it needs to be an approved part per guidance. However, if the exp garmin is installed as an aircraft alteration then there is no such requirement for part approval. Val Avionics has a good article on installing non-TSO (non-approved) parts on TC aircraft that goes into more detail. The key is to find an AP who understands this.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
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  31. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    If you just want to make a modification, talk with an A&P about supervising.

    If you want to tinker with an aircraft, you'll probably have to build your own.
     
  32. Dana

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    Or buy a used experimental.
     
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  33. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    With the age of most of the GA fleet, I think EAB is going to be the only future GA has.
     
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  34. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    So.... I can find an AP and buy the "experimental" version of the G3 and have him/her put it in my Cessna 172. Why then does Garmin go to the expense of certifying the G3 for the 172? Why would anyone buy it vs the "experimental" version?
     
  35. Snowmass

    Snowmass Line Up and Wait

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    Most of the mechanics are now dead so no documentation but it's easier and cheaper to get supervision and signoff as I do want to need to keep up a license.
     
  36. WWFeldman

    WWFeldman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is interesting, and I haven't heard about it before. So correct me if I'm wrong. I own a 1956 172, I could add a non certified Dynon Panel to it as long as it passed the TSO specs?

    And here's the article you referenced from Val Avionics. https://www.valavionics.com/installation-in-type-certificated-aircraft.html
     
  37. jrcox19

    jrcox19 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If it met/passed the TSO requirements, it would be TSO'd equipment. Some equipment for some functions (ADS-B, RNAV GPS) must be TSO'd, but other equipment doesn't necessarily need to be.
     
  38. donjohnston

    donjohnston Pattern Altitude

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    Jim Weir would be the authority, but IIRC, the only equipment that must be TSO'd on part 91 aircraft is the transponder and GPS.
     
  39. WWFeldman

    WWFeldman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That's not what it says in that article though. The article states.. Means that the equipment need not have TSO approval, but that it meets requirements set by the TSO. That's my confusion.
     
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  40. jrcox19

    jrcox19 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That only really applies if the equipment is required to meet a TSO (not necessarily be TSO'd). So unless it's a transponder or GPS navigator, it doesn't need to meet, or be, any TSO.