Ask the DAR

Deregistration, operating limitations, amateur status, and finding a DAR.


Question: I have a question about the Jabiru donor who deregistered his airplane to avoid builder’s liability and donated it to a non-profit organization. Can this plane be re-registered with a new number?

Answer: Once an Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft is certificated, the builder can never be changed. If he has turned in the airworthiness certificate, as far as the FAA is concerned, it is no longer an airplane. The only possible category that might be used is Experimental Exhibition. This would be a “sticky” issue and most DARs that I know wouldn’t touch it. It would certainly not meet the intent of the rules.

Question: I know this question has been asked before, but my A&P/IA insists that if you are not the original builder of an Experimental aircraft, it is illegal to perform any maintenance on that aircraft. My understanding is that the owner, whether or not they built the aircraft, may perform any maintenance that an A&P can perform except the condition inspection. What is the correct interpretation?

Answer: Your A&P/IA is misinformed. What he is thinking of is the requirement of who can maintain an aircraft contained in FAR Part 43. However, Part 43 does not apply to Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft. Therefore, there is no regulation as to who can perform maintenance. Anyone can perform maintenance on an Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft. It doesn’t even have to be the owner.

Only the original builder, if he holds the repairman certificate for that aircraft, or an A&P mechanic can perform the condition inspection.

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Question: How do you amend operating limitations?

Answer: Operating limitations may be amended by an aviation safety inspector from the local FSDO or a DAR with function code 33, plus the function code that pertains to the aircraft to be amended. For Amateur-Built, that would be FC 46.

Operating limitations are commonly amended to change the flight test location or to bring the op lims up to the current standards.

Question: I have the idea in the back of my head that I would like to build a plane when I retire. Hopefully that will occur next year, but after reading your last article, I am wondering if I will have a problem. You stated that 51% of the project must be performed by an amateur. I am a licensed A&P. Does that preclude my being considered as an amateur when building my plane? In case you are wondering, I would like to build a Velocity V-Twin.

Answer: No, your A&P certificate does not disqualify your “amateur” status for building an aircraft. If you were building the aircraft for someone else for compensation, or if you were building for the purpose of selling the aircraft, then it would be a problem. Building for your own education and recreation is totally acceptable as “amateur-built” status. Good luck with the V-Twin. That’s a very interesting airplane.

Question: Does your DAR have to be local?

Answer: No. It is the intention that the aircraft be inspected by a local inspector, but it is not mandatory. Often a builder will request a known DAR from another region because of his expertise or experience with a particular type of aircraft.

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

Mel Asberry is an experienced Designated Airworthiness Representative specializing in Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft. He and his wife, Ann, have built seven amateur-built airplanes including two ultralight types, a Moni Motorglider, a Dragonfly Mk2, two RV-6s and a Zenair CH 601HDS. They are currently building a scratch-built biplane.


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