Ask the DAR

Non-builder maintenance, importing a kit from Canada, repairman certificate problems.


Question: I have a friend who bought an Experimental aircraft he did not build. He wants to get his name on the airworthiness certificate, remove the builder’s name, and get a repairman certificate for the airplane. I told him, “There’s no way that is going to happen!” Am I correct?

Answer: I assume we are talking about an Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft. For Experimental Light Sport the story is different.

The builder of an E/A-B aircraft remains the same throughout the life of the aircraft. That cannot change! One repairman certificate is issued per Amateur-Built aircraft, and that must be a primary builder listed at certification.

Question: As the owner—but not the builder—of an Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft, am I allowed to perform work on my aircraft beyond the preventive maintenance items listed in FAR Part 43? I’d like to install a new transponder and torque the prop. Is a sign-off required by an A&P?

Part 43 does not apply to Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft. Ref: “43.1(b) This part does not apply to— (1) Any aircraft for which the FAA has issued an Experimental certificate, unless the FAA has previously issued a different kind of airworthiness certificate for that aircraft…”

Part 43 is referenced in the operating limitations only to describe how the condition inspection is to be done.

Anyone can maintain, repair, and even modify an Amateur-Built aircraft. No signoff is required by a mechanic except for the condition inspection.

The transponder must be inspected and signed off by a certified repair station at installation and every 24 months thereafter.

Question: Is there a process for bringing a partially built project from Canada to the United States? I want to make sure that the finished aircraft will meet the requirements of the 51% rule.

Answer: There’s nothing official that you need to do to import a project. However, you must be able to show that the aircraft was 51% Amateur-Built, just like you would if it were built in the States. So, if you buy a Canadian project, be sure to get a builder’s log with it.

Question: My partner and I purchased and built a kit aircraft in the 1990s.

We both worked on the plane and I have all the builder’s logs indicating this.

Unfortunately, my partner suddenly died just before the first flight and issuance of the air worthiness certificate. No repairman certificate was issued. The aircraft was sold to an individual and a few years later, I bought the aircraft back. Can I obtain a repairman certificate and if so, what do I need to do?

Answer: There are several things that must be cleared up. Has the aircraft been registered? If so, were you listed as builder? If the aircraft is registered and you are listed as builder, and if no repairman certificate has been issued, then you should be good to go.

If the aircraft has been registered and you are not listed as builder, then no, you won’t qualify. To qualify for the repairman certificate, you must be listed as builder and show that you know the aircraft well enough to competently perform the condition inspection.

Please send your questions for DAR Asberry to [email protected] 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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