Paul Dye took advantage of an overnight stay at Mel’s private airstrip to ask a few questions he has heard from builders over the years—topics that are not covered very often. We’ll feature some of these questions and answers when the mailbag gets a little light, but Mel wants to answer your questions, so please keep them coming as noted below.
Question: What are the most common errors in paperwork that you see when builders are applying for an airworthiness inspection?
Answer: The EAA sends out a very good package for the purpose of applying for an airworthiness certificate. Unfortunately there are two problems. First, these are filled out by people who are not completely familiar with the process, and people make mistakes. Second, the FAA will not accept corrections on these forms. If a mistake is made, you must start over.
I try to alleviate this problem by filling out the forms as much as possible and sending them to the applicant for just their signature and minor information. This has worked very well for 14 years.
Occasionally I will get an applicant who insists that they already have the paperwork filled out and it is correct. Most often when they send it to me I find that they have made one or more errors.
Common errors are listing the builder and/or owner in a different format than that on the registration. The builder, model, and serial number must exactly match the registration on the airworthiness application, 8130-6, and the aircraft data plate. The applicant might have listed the year of manufacture as the date they bought the kit. The date of manufacture is the date the aircraft is certificated.
Some list the aircraft as both Experimental/Amateur-Built and Light Sport. The Light Sport block is for Light Sport Category, i.e. SLSA.
Others have signed in places where not appropriate, or they have done things you wouldn’t even think of. For example, I have received applications without the back side printed. People reason that there’s nothing for them to fill out, so it’s not needed, right? Wrong! There are blocks that I must fill out on the back.
I actually had one applicant send his application to me four times and never did get it totally correct. I finally sent him paperwork all filled out and just asked for his signature.
Often I will receive a weight and balance schedule containing a copy of the kit manufacturer’s sample, not at all related to the particular aircraft. Or they might send me weight and balance for empty weight, but not for gross weight, most forward loading and most aft loadings.
When preparing your paperwork, always talk with your inspector and find out exactly how he/she wants to handle it. It will save everyone time in the long run.
Question: Do I have to have the windshield glassed in before the inspection?
Answer: I’m asked this question, or something similar, all the time. The aircraft must be complete and ready for flight except for removal of the cowling, inspection plates and panels necessary for the inspection.
Question: Is there an official list of “approved” ELSAs?
Answer: Not that I’m aware of.
Please send your questions for DAR Asberry to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask the DAR” in the subject line.