Follow us on Twitter Follow us on FaceBook Kitplanes Videos Get RSS Feed
 

Miscellaneous

June 29, 2009




Looking Ahead to the New FAA Rules

As this is written, in early January 2009, the FAA still had not reconvened the rulemaking committee as its first step toward another shot at revisions to the “51% Rule” Advisory Circulars. When the next round arrives, we’ll have our resident DAR pore over the documents and give you his no-nonsense interpretation of what the changes could mean to you, the builder. Stick with us.

Ask the DAR: How big must your N numbers be?

Question: I have a question about Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft and N numbers. What are the rules for size, placement, ornamentation and so on? I often see small N numbers on homebuilts but not as many on certified aircraft. What’s up with that?

Answer: This is actually an easy one. It’s all explained in the FARs. No judgment here.

FAR Part 45 covers identification and registration marking. Unfortunately, this part is either unread or misunderstood by many people. Basically it says that the N numbers must be 12 inches high, with some exceptions, and on either side of the fuselage or vertical tail surface. If the numbers are placed on the fuselage, which most are, they must be between the trailing edge of the wing and the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer. Placement under the horizontal stabilizer is not acceptable, though we have all seen this approach.

More specifically, FAR 45.21 is the general paragraph that states the numbers must be permanent, have no ornamentation, be contrasting in color with the background and be legible. FAR 45.22 covers exhibition, antique and other aircraft special rules. This is the often overlooked paragraph 45.22(b), which states that an Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft that has the same external configuration as an aircraft design built at least 30 years ago may display at least 2-inch-high numbers. This is the same paragraph, by the way, that allows us to use an X following the N instead of displaying the “Experimental” placard called for in 45.23(b).

For most aircraft, N numbers must be 12 inches high and placed on either side of the fuselage or the vertical tail. With some exceptions, Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft can also use 3-inch-high numbers.

For example, let’s say you have an RV-3. Because the design is more than 30 years old, you may display the number as “NX168TY” and the “Experimental” placard is not required. The X in the number denotes the Experimental category. This X is not indicated anywhere else except on the aircraft. It is not listed in any paperwork. It simply replaces the “Experimental” placard.

FAR 45.29 gives the requirements for marking height, width, thickness, spacing and uniformity. This paragraph allows Exhibition, Experimental/Amateur-Built and Experimental/Light Sport Aircraft to use 3-inch numbers, as long as the maximum cruising speed of the aircraft does not exceed 180 knots CAS. If the maximum cruising speed does exceed 180 knots CAS, then we’re back to the 12-inch requirement. Note also that this is CAS, not true airspeed. This paragraph is one of the most abused of all the FARs. I dare say if you go to any fly-in and walk the line, you will find numerous violations to this rule.

Twelve-inch numbers are also required on all aircraft when operated in an ADIZ or DEWIZ as described in Part 99. In this case the larger numbers may to be temporary.

Many times when a DAR certificates an aircraft, it is not painted. Yet I have to require that the markings are there, and they conform to the rules. That does not mean that when it gets painted, FAR Part 45 does not apply. The rules are still the same. If you chose to ignore Part 45, you are subject to a violation by the FAA. For example, don’t arrive at a fly-in with 3-inch N numbers and start bragging that your airplane cruises at 250 knots, or take the opportunity of the paint-shop visit by “hiding” the N number under the tail.

Please send your questions for DAR Asberry to editorial@kitplanes.com with “Ask the DAR” in the subject line.

Download File

Untitled Document Homebuilder's Portal by KITPLANES
Photo by Richard VanderMeulen
After many years of both building and not building (about 50/50) N184GC (One RV-8 for Grandpa Christensen) and I made the maiden flight on April 22, 2015 from Santa Fe Municipal Airport, Santa Fe, NM. That was prior to paint and empty weight was 1,041 lb. Making the first flight in the airplane I built was …
I completed Sonex #1072 on August 18, 2014 and made the first flight on August 22, 2014 from Charlie Brown/Fulton County Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. The airplane now has over 150 hours on it and has made several trips from Atlanta to South Florida, the Carolinas, and to Tower, Minnesota which is just south of …
My CubCrafters EX N-96FV was finished July 30, 2016 - last weekend of AirVenture. My 87-year old Dad was the first passenger after my 40-hour fly off. He flew chase in his Cherokee for the maiden flight. It's painted in D-Day colors for my C-130 unit's 70th anniversary. 96th Airlift Squadron Flying Vikings were the …

Dynon Avionics' latest-generation SkyView integrated avionics called the SkyView HDX has a newly designed bezel and user controls for easier use while flying in turbulence, plus brighter displays and a reworked touch interface. Larry Anglisano takes a product tour of the HDX with Dynon's Michael Schoefield in this video.
At Sun 'n Fun 2016, Dynon continued to push into the world of non-certified avionics with its SkyView SE, a less expensive version of its popular SkyView EFIS system. Paul Bertorelli prepared this video report.
The G5 is a self-contained electronic flight instrument, which can be interfaced with Garmin's G3X/Touch avionics and autopilot for backup and flight instrument redundancy. The GMA245 and remote GMA245R Bluetooth audio panels have advanced entertainment input functions and onscreen programming.
At Sun 'n Fun 2016, Just Aircraft is showing off its new Titan-powered SuperSTOL XL. Harrison Smith took Paul Bertorelli for a half-day demo flight in the new airplane, and here's his video report.
Kit manufacturer Zenith Aircraft Company has released a new 360-degree VR short video to showcase its kit aircraft and to promote the rewarding hobby of kit aircraft building and flying light-sport aircraft.
Whether you are upgrading the audio system in an older LSA or experimental or building a new project, PS Engineering and Garmin have non-certified audio panels equipped with advanced features better suited for smaller cabins.
Video Archive

IMPORTANT CUSTOMER SERVICE NOTICE TO KITPLANES SUBSCRIBERS:


All mailed correspondence, including subscription invoices, renewals, and gift notices, will bear our address:
PO BOX 8535
Big Sandy, TX 75755

Third parties claiming to be selling KITPLANES subscriptions are not legitimate.