Ask the DAR

Completed aircraft, breaking the LSA barrier more on ELSA regs.

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Could this be your next LSA? Not if you’re honest.

Question: There is a project for sale advertised as being 85% complete. Lets say thats an accurate percentage. Can it be registered as an Experimental by the buyer? I understand the new owner wont be entitled to apply for a Repairmans Certificate. The question is more about the plane. Whats the procedure for a case like this?

Answer: There should be no problem getting the aircraft certificated as Experimental/Amateur-Built as long as it can be shown that the aircraft was built by amateurs. You should obtain records in some form of a builders log to show that the aircraft was not built for hire. It doesn’t matter who or how many persons built the aircraft, just that it was amateur-built. Keep in mind that someone will have to sign the form 8130-12 swearing that this is the case.

Question: Whats to keep me from flying my 250-mph, 1600-pound-gross, 70-mph stalling Long-EZ as a Light Sport by, you know, just lying about all that stuff? Just curious.

Answer: There is nothing to keep you from flying any airplane without a medical or proper rating-until something happens! You can even save quite a lot of money on insurance, because the insurance company would not cover anything once it discovers that you are operating outside of the FARs.

Let’s say you get ramp-checked. The inspector will ask you what part of the regulations you are operating under. If you say, Sport Pilot, he will ask you to show proof that your aircraft is Light Sport compliant. It is then up to you to show that you are in compliance. If you were talking about an aircraft that might be on the very edge of the Light Sport envelope, you might get away with it, depending on the inspector. A Long-EZ is not close to the edge, and quite a ways over it.

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Further, let’s say you have an incident. Again, the inspector is going to want to see evidence that you are in compliance with the regs. If you have insurance, it’s probably not going to pay. If you have damaged someone else’s property, get ready to go to court. You probably should settle. I don’t think your chances would be very good in front of a judge.

Im sure that there are many people flying without a medical certificate for one reason or another. Ninety percent of the time they get away with it. But when something happens, their loved ones are the ones who suffer.

If the plan is to produce documentation showing that your aircraft is Light Sport compliant, you will need extensive paperwork explaining why your aircraft is so different from all of the other Long-EZs out there.

The bottom line? Yes, you might get by with it. But I certainly wouldn’t advise it.

Vans Aircraft has built one conforming SLSA version of the RV-12, so its now able to be licensed as an ELSA. But it also appears to be eligible-based on the amount of builder effort required-to be registered as an Experimental/Amateur-Built.

Question: Now that Ive actually seen the RV-12 at Oshkosh, Im 99% ready to write the check. But I have a few concerns about building it my way, such as a different restraint system, lighting, avionics, etc. No major structural or aerodynamic changes, just customization items, minor deviations from being a N412RV clone. Who ultimately decides if it meets the 51% criteria and can be built and licensed as an Experimental/Amateur-Built versus an Experimental LSA? Finally, can you give me some direction on finding a good DAR locally?

Answer: To qualify as ELSA, the aircraft must be built specifically to the plans. No changes, period, except for paint. However, keep in mind that after certification, you may make any modifications you like so long as the mod doesn’t take the aircraft out of the Light Sport parameters.

The issue regarding Experimental/Amateur-Built versus ELSA would be up to the FAA inspector or DAR. I have evaluated the RV-12 kit and have come up with the builder accomplishing 56% of the work if built according to plans. Of course, any changes would increase this number. I personally don’t see an issue with the RV-12 being built as an Experimental/Amateur-Built. Even so, remember that Vans designed this aircraft as an ELSA kit, so if you go any other route, the factory most likely wont be able to assist you with making changes. Youll be on your own at that point.

A listing of DARs is at www.faa.gov. Under the Aircraft tab, click on Aircraft Certification. Then click on Airworthiness Certification. Under Resources, click on Find Designees & Delegations. Under Designees, click on Designated Airworthiness Representatives, Maintenance & Manufacturing. This will bring up a listing of DARs by state. You are looking for a DAR with Function Code 46 for Experimental/Amateur-Built or Function Code 47 for Experimental Light Sport.

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

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