Ask the DAR

One fuel gauge for two tanks, becoming the builder of record, converting a Europa to LSA.

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Question: I am currently building an E/A-B aircraft that has a left and a right fuel tank. Due to limited panel space, I would like to use one gauge with a toggle switch to read the quantity in each tank. Is that legal?

Answer: Yes, what you are proposing is perfectly legal. The rules say that you must have a fuel gauge for each tank. It does not specify that you have to be able to read all of them at the same time. As long as you can access each tank from the gauge, you’re good to go.

Question: I bought an RV-8 project from the estate of a builder who passed away. He worked on the project for several years, and it took me a few more years to complete it.

Looking through the builder’s log, it’s obvious that I completed much more work than the original builder. I carefully accounted for every hour of my time and took plenty of pictures. There’s no question that the project is in compliance with the 51% rule.

So, what’s the problem? Unfortunately, the previous owner registered the airplane early in the build, so he is shown in the paperwork as the builder.

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I asked my DAR if I could be listed as the builder, but he said no. He explained that because the original builder registered the aircraft, he would always be listed as builder, and I would be shown as a purchaser of the project, even though I did the major portion of the work. He also told me that the aircraft’s data plate would have to show the original owner as the builder.

The DAR said that I could get the repairman’s certificate. He also mentioned that if I was willing to spend the money, I could probably find an attorney who is familiar with Experimentals and might be able to help me be listed as the aircraft’s builder. Is all this correct?

Answer: I’m afraid that your DAR is correct. Once the aircraft is registered, the builder is set! The original builder will always be the builder.

On the other hand, you may be listed as a builder on the 8130-12. You also should be eligible for the repairman certificate. Any (but only one) builder listed on the 8130-12 may qualify for the repairman certificate if he/she can show they have sufficient knowledge of the build to proficiently conduct the condition inspection. This has nothing to do with the 51% rule. The 51% rule is only relevant to the aircraft being 51% amateur-built.

It is very unfortunate that so many people register an aircraft before it is completed, not realizing the problems this can cause down the road. This comes up more than you might think. I typically deal with this problem at least five or six times a year.

Question: My Europa XS received a special airworthiness certificate in 2011 as an Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft. Later, vortex generators were added to reduce the stall speed. The plane now meets LSA requirements for speed, weight, etc. Can it be flown as a Light Sport Aircraft?

Answer: The definition of LSA clearly states that the aircraft must have met LSA parameters “continuously from original certification.” Therefore, this aircraft does not qualify for LSA because at original certification it did not meet LSA requirements.

Please send your questions for DAR Asberry to editorial@kitplanes.com 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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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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