Would you re-register as Experimental if you could?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by ssokol, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. ssokol

    ssokol Filing Flight Plan

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    A couple of days ago I got the monthly update from Piper Forum. One of the hottest topics for November was apparently a discussion on light bulbs - specifically, replacing the originally specified incandescent panel lamps with modern LEDs. The thread went on for page after page with all kinds of arguments both for and against. Most of the participants seemed to agree that the change was harmless, but also illegal.

    If common sense changes like this are illegal for a certificated aircraft, then I have to wonder how many of us would swap over to experimental or the proposed Primary Non-Commercial category given the opportunity. To that end, I'd like to invite anyone here who has feelings on way or the other to take a brief (7 questions) survey:

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WK3T9XW

    I know that this has been covered on PoA before, and I'm not necessarily trying to rehash the topic. Feel free to duke it out here, but please also take the survey. I really want some slightly more scientific data that I could take to the alphabet groups if enough people think its worth a shot.

    Thanks,

    Steve

    P.S. - I'm posting this on several forums - APOA, EAA, etc. - to try to get as many responses as possible. You may see a similar post on those forums. Please forgive the cross-post.
     
  2. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Need an option,would you go experimental,if you could go back to certified with original equipment re installed.
     
  3. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I already took my S-LSA Sky Arrow to E-LSA status.

    If the FAA ever permits me to fly planes other than E-LSA sans medical, I would only consider it if I could work on and modify them. I just can't imagine going back to needing an A&P for every little thing.

    Something like an Experimental Citabria or Tiger or whatever.

    Really don't see it happening in my lifetime, though. :no:

    Survey completed.
     
  4. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    I don't like the questions on the survey.

    I would not switch it to Experimental, but I would switch it to Non-Com. Experimental limits what I can do with the plane.
     
  5. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    That is the wording in Exp/NC, and it only takes an IA, not a DAR compliance inspection.

    As for the OP question, yes, immediately, it is the future of Pt-91 light GA, a concession so people will be able to afford the 'NextGen' panel technology they want everyone to have.
     
  6. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If I couldn't make money with my plane, no way.
     
  7. Kiddo's Driver

    Kiddo's Driver Cleared for Takeoff

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    In a freakin' heartbeat.
     
  8. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    +2.....:yes:
     
  9. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    You could, you just have to get it back in certified condition.
     
  10. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    One would think a better system would include a way to go Exp for a period of time to prove no harm is caused by any modifications, and then Exp reverts back to Certified by virtue of the data collected and a signature once you "fly off" the risk.

    Just like you fly off the initial build risks on a personally built Exp aircraft to gain Exp.

    The whole system is completely broken anyway. The above is just an example of a way to get past the built in logjam that can't allow new tech to touch old certificated stuff that was only economically viable to certify as a complete aircraft 30 years ago.
     
  11. dweyant

    dweyant Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Aside from commercial use, how are you limited in what you can do with an experimental?

    -Dan
     
  12. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Experimental.....is a certified category.:wink2:
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2014
  13. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    It will be another category of Experimental, Exp A-B, Exp R-D, Exp Exebition, Exp NC.... The proposed restriction being No Commercial Activities, I don't know if that will include instruction, but I suspect so.
     
  14. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Some charity organizations say no to Experimental.
     
  15. Kiddo's Driver

    Kiddo's Driver Cleared for Takeoff

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    There is. It is called earning a STC.
     
  16. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    That'd change overnight if 80% switched because they installed LED light bulbs. ;)
     
  17. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    True. But how much did Whelen spend doing that? Not exactly something an average owner can take advantage of inexpensively.
     
  18. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    That's what's nice about Exp NC, you can do the conversion and develop the data over a matter of years during normal operations. The biggest expense in developing an STC is developing the test data, I don't think the FAA charges anything. If you can offset the data development costs with pancake breakfasts and $100 hamburger runs, it won't be very painful for many modifications. Even now not every STC is expensive to develop. Take the MoGas STC for example, I could have gotten one on my 310 for the price of a couple tanks of gas, IF it checks out ok on the 2 test flights. The expense involved is building the fuel heating rig, and Petersen offered to let me come out and use his if I wanted to give it a shot.
     
  19. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Someone better jump over to that Piper board and let them all know what a great option it is for a $0.50 light bulb change then! ;)
     
  20. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    That's just it, with Exp NC you can just do the change, ask the FAA what they want from you for an STC, and you can see if it's worth doing.
     
  21. Neal Howard

    Neal Howard Cleared for Takeoff

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    Also need an Exp-Antique category. Let the owners do whatever they want to an antique and let the type club/society decide who gets to annual them since those groups know more about their particular machines than anyone else left on the planet.
     
  22. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I do not see why that would not fit under Exp-NC as written, unless you get into heavier planes.
     
  23. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    The Ex-NC is only in draft right now and the details have not been finalized, so saying "as written" is a bit misleading.
     
  24. ClimbnSink

    ClimbnSink Ejection Handle Pulled

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    How does the Canadian owner maintenance deal work? I know owners can work on their planes how much parts leeway do they have? And do they have more mechanical failures then us?
     
  25. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    So?
    I'm sorry, we can not accept your free airplane. :dunno:
     
  26. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Ok, as drafted, using letters formerly known as writing.
     
  27. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    The experimental non commercial is a long ways from being finalized and may not resemble anything set forth in the draft, if and when it does get finalized.

    A few on this board are making very wide assumptions of what it will entail and trying to pass it off "as written" when in fact they don't have a clue.
     
  28. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    Absolutely! I would change the registration, order me a modern composite propeller, Odyssey battery, and an altitude holding autopilot on the same day. Then once my bank accounts recovered the little Grumman would get a complete instrument panel update with a Grand Rapids EFIS and new radios.

    It really is sad that all of that great new technology can't be used in a 45 year old two seat airplane. All of it flies trouble free on thousands of experimental aircraft every day and because of some out dated legislation I am forced to either spend twice as much, or live off of my old fluctuating instruments. Not to mention how great it would be for the economy. As a side affect the increase in sales volumes would like drive product cost down and make the equipment more affordable for everyone.
     
  29. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    As it is written is all we have to go by, whether it becomes enacted, or how it will be modified is unknowable. All we can do is look at the draft as it is written, you know, as written, meaning have been written down.
     
  30. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    Or as you do, just make stuff up and pass it off "as written". :rolleyes:
     
  31. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Oh, no.....make it stop....:rofl:
     
  32. Geico266

    Geico266 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    +3 :yes:
     
  33. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    What did I make up here that isn't written in that draft?
     
  34. weirdjim

    weirdjim Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Don't argue with him, Henning. It is like mud wrestling with a pig. You get all dirty and the pig likes it.

    Jim
     
  35. oldShar

    oldShar Cleared for Takeoff

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    What did you have to do to get the "S" switched to an "E"?

    Did you get the "Repairman-Maintenance" (120 hour course) to do your own condition inspections?
     
  36. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I love mud, it's fun and clears the skin, and when you're done wrestling with the pig, you get bacon... Mmmmm bacon.
     
  37. ClimbnSink

    ClimbnSink Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Pulled pork for dinner last night, bacon this morning, pork chops tonight. What a wonderful magical animal.
     
  38. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Touchdown! Greaser!

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    To switch, a DAR inspects the plane and issues a new Experimental Light Sport Airworthiness Certificate. Requires "EXPERIMENTAL" decal(s) on the outside and a passenger warning on the inside.

    Plane can no longer be used for flight instruction or rental. Really no other practical restrictions.

    Being Experimental, anyone can work on it and make modifications. Modifications must not take it out of Light Sport limits - no constant-speed prop, let's say.

    The course to do the Condition Inspections is only 16 hours, and, yes - I took it. It only allows me to inspect my own plane. The 120 hr maintenance course would let one work on an SLSA - either their own or someone else's.

    Here's who I used as a DAR, and who I took the course from:

    http://www.sportaviationspecialties.com

    Lots of good info on his site.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
  39. Buggsy2

    Buggsy2 Pre-Flight

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    Kitplanes
    ExploringJune 2014 Issue
    Down to Earth
    Born again.

    You may scoff, but I believe that there is something absolutely magical about FAA paperwork. What? Yes, listen: by way of a bit of paperwork (okay, maybe more than "a bit"), one can transform an assemblage of parts meticulously constructed and lovingly stroked into a viable and legal flying machine. That's pretty neat if you ask me.

    The IndUS Thorpedo is based on a solid Thorp design, but the original manufacturer of the SLSA no longer exists; this makes it a great candidate for conversion to ELSA status.

    But there's more. Did you know that by way of a bit of properly prepared paperwork and an inspection (and probably cash, since odds are you'll hire a designated aircraft representative [DAR] to do the inspecting), you can transform a manufactured Light Sport Aircraft (SLSA) into an Experimental Light Sport Airplane (ELSA)? You can also modify an ELSA to fit your needs, within the scope of the LSA rules, of course.

    Why would you want to endure the paperwork foxtrot to create an ELSA out of an SLSA? And why am I even bringing up the topic in this magazine? Hang on and follow me through here. I know that this magazine's name is KITPLANES, not "Build It Yourself," and though our primary focus is on the aircraft builder-owner, I am aware that there are plenty of readers out there who are Experimental aircraft owners only. That is, someone else built your aircraft. There are at least as many of you reading this who are wrestling with the decision over whether to build or buy your next aircraft, too. It is an awesome commitment to build an aircraft yourself—I watched and helped my husband go through the process twice—I know. Even if you are considering an ELSA, which does not need to be 51% built by you, it is a singular and enduring accomplishment to complete an aircraft build.

    Once you have converted your Thorpedo (or other SLSA) to ELSA status, you have much more freedom when it comes to modifications, upgrades, or substitution of maintenance parts. Plus, with a simple 16-hour course, you can do condition inspections yourself.

    If you are like me, a flier who prefers someone else to build her airplane, but you want the flexibility and affordability that an Experimental airworthiness certificate can provide, you may be a good candidate for purchasing an SLSA and converting it to ELSA status. SLSAs are factory-built to ASTM standards—known entities, from a construction point of view. They can be flown by pilots holding Sport Pilot and higher certificates. Pilots flying LSAs must hold a current driver's license, but are not required to hold a current FAA medical (they may not, however, have applied for and been turned down for an FAA medical). An Experimental/Amateur-Built airplane can be safely purchased on the open market, too, and those that qualify can be flown under LSA rules.

    For those unfamiliar with aircraft maintenance, but with sufficient mechanical experience, a 16-hour course can allow you to legally perform annual condition inspections and other maintenance. Checklists like this one can be found in FAA Advisory Circulars to help ensure a complete inspection.

    Buyers of completed Amateur-Built aircraft should ask some very specific questions before a purchase. Do you know the builder well? Did you see his shop? His paperwork/builder's log? Flight-test logs? How does the airplane operator's manual look? Does it contain all of the required information? What are the aircraft's operating limitations? Have manufacturer's service bulletins been complied with? What kind of airworthiness certificate does it have? There is a lot of information that you need to be sure you are getting a solid machine that can safely, legally, and reliably take you where you want to go.

    An SLSA purchase, be it factory-new or used, is a little clearer. Buying a brand-new SLSA and changing it over to ELSA may not be a cost-effective proposition, but finding an older, used SLSA, or even better, an aircraft that is considered an "orphan" because of a lack of factory support, could be a great deal for the right owner.

    How many "orphans" are there? Over the decade that Light Sport Aircraft rules have been in effect, more than 130 models have been produced, but according to LSA expert Dan Johnson, there are somewhere around 10% of those aircraft that are no longer supported by their original manufacturers. You can find an SLSA list at Johnson's web site.

    Consider an IndUS Thorpedo, for example. This aircraft is based on a tough and tested Thorp design, but the original equipment manufacturer simply does not exist right now, so parts will get scarce. This SLSA can be transitioned to ELSA in accordance with 14 CFR 21.191(i)(3) by completing a new 8130-6 Application for Airworthiness Certificate, creating a program letter, providing a current airworthiness certificate for the airplane and current flight restrictions (these get turned in and you receive a complete new set for ELSA), and providing aircraft/engine log books showing the aircraft is current, including all service bulletins and any ADs on certified components in compliance.

    Once the paperwork is complete, operation limitations determined, and any required test-flight fly-off time undertaken, the owner of a now-ELSA Thorpedo can find parts that work, and repair or modify his aircraft without having to rely on OEM parts or a letter of authorization from the manufacturer (as required by SLSA). Avionics can be updated, and even major changes such as an engine or propeller update can be undertaken. Better yet, after a 16-hour FAA-approved course you, the new owner, can be certified to do condition inspections on your ELSA (as well as any other ELSAs like it). In fact, for an owner-not-builder, this is better than the amateur-built rule, which will only issue a repairman's certificate for the builder of one specific aircraft to perform condition inspections only on that aircraft. This requires the new owner-flier to seek out either the holder of that aircraft's repairman certificate or an A&P mechanic for condition inspections.

    The maintenance advantages alone make the proposition of transitioning an SLSA to an ELSA a viable alternative for someone who is in the market for a light Experimental aircraft that is already built. And with possible changes that are percolating in the U.S. Congress and at the FAA right now regarding FAA 3rd Class Medical requirements, it may be that the number of active LSA manufacturers will contract a bit more in the future, making the prospects worthy of such a transition more numerous. Those who don't want the commitment of building their own, but are still interested in maintaining their own aircraft would do well to consider this transition proposition. For the cost of some paperwork and a test-flight regime, you can give new life to a reliable airplane. It may just be the fixer-upper you've been looking for.

    What is ASTM?
    Perhaps the most interesting bit of a Light Sport Aircraft's history is how the definition and standards for LSAs came about. Instead of being certified under the FAA's 14 CFR Part 23, LSA rules for certification were created by a committee of industry experts (including a few FAA personnel) convened by ASTM International. In 2004 the committee's ASTM standards for LSA were published in the Federal Register and the aircraft category was born.

    The original language for transitioning aircraft from one airworthiness certificate to another was inserted to help transition "fat" ultralights, those that did not meet FAR Part 103 ultralight standards, to ELSA. Those aircraft were either switched over or decommissioned by the end of 2010.

    Today, the LSA standards matrix on the FAA web site's Light Sport Aircraft page and in the Federal Register are updated when new ASTM standards are developed or modified. So, to keep the record straight, LSA are not built to FAA standards—they are built to ASTM consensus standards. The SLSA manufacturer must issue safety-of-flight directives if there are issues (essentially airworthiness directives, although they aren't called such), and owners must comply, unless he or she uses an acceptable alternative means of compliance, or obtains an FAA waiver from the provisions of the safety directive. Of course, ELSA owners can correct any safety-of-flight issues in a manner that meets the requirements of the aircraft's own DAR-issued operations limitations, which is similar to how amateur-built aircraft address such issues.

    Photos: FAA, various LSA manufacturers

    Amy Laboda has taught students how to fly in California, Texas, New York and Florida. She’s towed gliders, flown ultralights, wrestled with aerobatics and even dabbled in skydiving. She holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating, multi-engine and single-engine flight instructor ratings, as well as glider and rotorcraft (gyroplane) ratings. She’s helped with the build up of her Kitfox IV and RV-10.

    2014 Kitplanes.com. All rights reserved worldwide.
    Kitplanes.com and the Kitplanes.com logo are protected properties under international copyright law.
     
  40. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    Survey done.

    Hell yes!! Do it now!! Long over due and it is exactly what is needed to kick start GA. Way more than the driver's license medical IMO. There are tens of thousands of aircraft waiting to be projects all across America right now.

    I would stand in line for hours to file the paperwork just like people do for the latest iPhone, or the latest Star Wars movie, or hell... if they were ever to offer concealed carry permits in California! :D

    I wonder how much established kit manufactures like Vans, might actually push back against a category like this. You have to figure that if this were to become a reality, their business would hurt a bit.