Importing From Canada, N-Number Size

Asl the DAR.

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Question: I’m interested in buying a homebuilt out of Canada. Is this a difficult process? What should I be looking for?

Answer: Bringing in a homebuilt from Canada is very similar to doing an original certification in the U.S. Since Canadian amateur-built rules are different from ours, the primary concern is to prove amateur-built status. Canada allows commercial assistance to exceed 51%, so proof of meeting our major portion status must be submitted. Many times this is easy if the original builder kept good records. If not, it can be difficult. Other than that, the certification process is just as if the aircraft were built in the U.S. One exception is that Phase I flight testing may be waived if records show that the aircraft was properly tested in Canada.

Question: I just read your answer about the size of the N-number on aircraft. Your answer mentions 12 inches for most aircraft and 3 inches for most Experimental aircraft with some exceptions. I have an Experimental aircraft that qualifies for 3-inch numbers. I am wondering if I can put the N-number on it larger than 3 inches but smaller than 12 inches. This is so it will meet the rule of being behind the trailing edge of the wing and in front of the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer.

Answer: The requirement is a minimum size. If your aircraft meets the criteria for 3-inch numbers, they can be any size, as long as they are at least 3 inches high. FAR 45.29 offers additional information:

(c) Width. Characters must be two-thirds as wide as they are high, except the number “1”, which must be one-sixth as wide as it is high, and the letters “M” and “W” which may be as wide as they are high.

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(d) Thickness. Characters must be formed by solid lines one-sixth as thick as the character is high.

(e) Spacing. The space between each character may not be less than one-fourth of the character width.

Question: I’m getting ready for my DAR inspection and am curious about what you see as the most common “infractions” when you look at Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft.

Answer: Good question, and the answer hasn’t changed much over the years. Here’s a sampling.

• The data plate doesn’t match the registration. The data plate, registration and airworthiness application must match exactly. Many times a person will engrave his or her name on the data plate with their first name first or will use a nickname. The registration has the last name first and you may use a nickname only if that’s what you used on the registration.

• Loose or missing jam nuts on control rod ends. Normally control rod ends all have right-hand threads. If jam nuts are not tight, the rod can turn. This will not affect adjustment because the loosening of one end is taken up by the tightening of the other. However, if there are insufficient threads, the loosening end can come completely off. At this point, adjustment is definitely affected!

• Missing safety wire where needed. Example: On many E-LSA aircraft, the prop manufacturer says that its prop bolts need not be saftied. This is contrary to standard aircraft practices, so I require it. To get by my inspection the prop bolts must be saftied in some way. You may either use jam nuts or safety wire.

• Short bolts. There must be a minimum of one full thread extending through the lock nut. Nylock nuts may be used anywhere the temperature is not excessive and the bolt is not subject to rotation. Firewall forward, you might want to consider all-steel lock nuts. Anywhere the bolt is subject to rotation you must use a drilled bolt, a castle nut and either a cotter pin or safety wire. Believe it or not, missing bolts or nuts are common.

• Insufficient range on engine control cables. You must be able to operate all controls from the cockpit throughout the full range of the device.

• Improperly rigged controls. One check I do is to push the stick to one side and align the flaps with the down aileron. Then I push the stick to the other stop and see if that aileron aligns with the flap. If it doesn’t, something is not rigged correctly.

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