Importing From Canada, Selling in Phase I

Ask the DAR.


Question: There is this nice RV-4 available for sale in Canada. It’s been built by an experienced builder. They have flown the airplane for 23 hours and will fly for 2 more to get the “C of A.” I’m guessing this is their version of the airworthiness certificate.

My questions are:

  1. Can I import the airplane to the U.S.?
  2. Can I apply for the airworthiness certificate based on the Canadian one?
  3. Do I have to fly an additional 15 hours (40 total) to get the American airworthiness certificate?
  4. What other “gotchas” should I be considering?

Answer: I’ll answer these for you in order.

1. Yes, the aircraft may be brought into the U.S.

2. You can apply for a U.S. airworthiness certificate, but it will not be based on the Canadian certification. Their rules are different from ours. An amateur-built aircraft brought in from Canada must qualify for an Experimental/Amateur-Built certificate as if it were a “new” aircraft. In other words, the applicant must prove that the aircraft meets 14 CFR part 21.191(g). This proof will consist of a builder’s log, pictures, etc., as well as a signed and notarized eligibility statement (FAA Form 8130-12) stating that the aircraft was built solely for education or recreation and was not built “for hire.” The FAA Inspector/DAR will inspect the aircraft as if it were built in the U.S.

3. You will need to fly off a Phase I test program at least equal to the U.S. requirement. The previous flight time can qualify as part of this Phase I if it is properly documented. The total flight time of Phase I testing will be up to the discretion of the inspector but must not be less than the standard 40 hours.

4. Other than that, you should be good to go. If it helps, I’ve done quite a few of these, and it’s relatively painless as long as you have the proper documentation.

Question: I built a Zenith CH 750, but I now have to sell my beauty due to family health issues. My question is: Since I only have 24 hours on the plane and am in Phase I testing, how do I go about it? Can a new owner fly it to their airfield, or does it have to be disassembled and reassembled at their field? What must they do to be able to do the maintenance themselves? I would appreciate your help here.

Answer: First of all, sorry to hear of these circumstances. For your CH 750, the new owner will need to apply for an amended airworthiness certificate and operating limitations moving the Phase I test area to the new airport. As far as getting it there, it will depend on the distance. If it is not too far, you may be able to get the one-time flight contained in the new operating limits. This will be up to the inspector doing the new limits. If it is a great distance, the aircraft will have to be disassembled and reassembled at the new location.

Another option would be for the new owner to complete Phase I testing at the original location. After completion of flight testing, the airplane could then be flown to the new location. In this case, it would still be advisable, but not required, to have the airworthiness and operating limitations amended for possible future modifications.

From the maintenance issue, anyone can perform maintenance on an Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft. The only thing the new owner may not do is the annual condition inspection unless he or she is an A&P mechanic.

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Mel Asberry
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.


  1. Sean,

    My name is David Lionberger out of Houston Texas. I am in the same boat. Trying to get an aircraft out of British Columbia. Maybe we can learn together. My email is D [email protected] and/or maybe this thread will get to you and we can communicate here.

  2. Hi Mel,
    I am interested in importing a Zenair 250 from British Columbia. It has over 1900 hours on it. As long as everything is properly documented, what would I need to do to import it?

    Would I need to find a DAR on the west coast to do the inspection? Is there someone I could hire to guide me through this process?

    Jerry Fly
    [email protected]

  3. If buying from a second owner in Canada, and the builders logs are not available, is it still possible to import into the US?


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