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GCD89

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Jan 25, 2010
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1. What can I do, if anything, to let an experimental carry passengers (not necessarily for money). I heard experimental aren't allowed to carry passengers at all...

2. Is it legal to change plans to a kit plane to suit your needs? IE, if my kitplane's plans call for a certain thing, can I change it to my suit my own needs as long as it is (according to the FAA) safe and structurally sound.
 

bmcj

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Experimentals CAN carry passengers, and as long as a plane is registered experimental, you can do anything you want to it. A kitplane can be registered as experimental, but (in case you are considering trying to modify a certified aircraft) you CANNOT change a factory certified aircraft to experimental registration, so no unapproved mods to certified aircraft.
 

etterre

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St. Louis, MO, USA
1. What can I do, if anything, to let an experimental carry passengers (not necessarily for money). I heard experimental aren't allowed to carry passengers at all...
As long as no money is involved and you're within weight/balance, you're fine with taking a passenger (or two or three) in an airplane that was certificated Experimental-Amateur Built. There's some folks that will argue back and forth about whether or not your passengers can chip in for fuel and oil. Some folks will also argue about the legalities of a CFI charging for instruction given in an E-AB that is owned by the CFI since hairs may get split about whether the CFI was charging for his time or was charging for the use of their plane.

Now, if you tick off the DAR (inspector) or give them a good reason to be worried about the safety of your future passengers, then I could see where they could add a "no passengers" clause to the operating limitations that go with the certificate... I've never heard of that happening to anyone - just pure conjecture on my part.


2. Is it legal to change plans to a kit plane to suit your needs? IE, if my kitplane's plans call for a certain thing, can I change it to my suit my own needs as long as it is (according to the FAA) safe and structurally sound.
E-AB or E-LSA? Making a change to a kit that will be certificated E-AB is not a problem. If we're talking about E-LSA, then the kit needs to be built exactly like the manufacturer told you to build it. I did just recently see, though, that after the airworthiness certificate is issued then you are allowed to make modifications to an E-LSA... So you could, theoretically, build an RV-12 as an E-LSA exactly like Van's told you to build it... and then add floats later with the normal "major modification" paperwork. Or you could build the RV-12 with the floats to begin with and attempt to get it certified as E-AB.
 

Waiter

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Etterre summed it up nicely.

1st - An experimental must comply with the same rules as a production certified (all the FARs), PLUS, the experimental must also comply with its stated Operating Limitations.

There are a couple exceptions to the "Not carry persons or Property for hire", but these must be specifically added to your operating limitations

Review FAR 91.319

You could charge (or rent out your plane) for flight instruction in your experimental, but it must be type specific AND your aircraft must have a current condition inspection within the last 100 hours.

Example, Your building or buying a LongEZ but your Insurance says you need 5 hours of Dual in a LongEZ. So, You come to me, and I charge you x dollars and provide you 5 hours of dual in my Experimental LongEZ.



2nd; You are the Manufacture, You can do pretty much do anything you want, all you need to do is convince the FAA thats its safe to fly.

Take a lot of photos, Keep a Builders log, Get the EAA involved with periodic builder inspections and closing inspections (Not required, but in your best interest)

Good lock, have fun, and learn something

Waiter
 
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Dana

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Others summed it up pretty well, just a couple of points:

You are free to carry passengers after the test period is flown off (usually 50 hours). Normally, a CFI can't charge for flight instruction in an aircraft not owned by the student, but I believe there are exceptions for transition training in aircraft types where there's no comparable non-experimental

For Experimental-amateur built, you are the manufacturer, so you can change anything you want as long as it doesn't look grossly unairworthy to the inspector. The FAA doesn't care whether you're building from a kit, plans, or scratch (though a kit can't be so prefabricated that you don't do the majority of the work yourself). Other countries have different rules; in some countries you can only build from an approved kit with no modifications allowed.

Experimental-Light Sport has different rules; these kits are much more prefabricated and you have to build to the original design.

-Dana

Have you any idea how successful censorship is on TV? Don't know the answer? Hm. Successful. Isn't it?
 

orion

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For Experimental-amateur built, you are the manufacturer, so you can change anything you want as long as it doesn't look grossly unairworthy to the inspector. The FAA doesn't care whether you're building from a kit, plans, or scratch (though a kit can't be so prefabricated that you don't do the majority of the work yourself). Other countries have different rules; in some countries you can only build from an approved kit with no modifications allowed.
Well, yes and no. Once the FAA signs off on the experimental airworthiness, that is the configuration of the airplane they approved to fly. Any changes however, which you as the manufacturer can of course do yourself, will require a new inspection. Now, while not getting the subsequent inspection may not get you into too deep trouble with the FAA, it will with the insurance company if you have a mishap. There have already been several cases where insurance coverage and payout was denied post accident because the individual made changes that were not properly documented and signed off.
 

Dana

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Orion, what I was referring to was making changes from the supplied kit configuration while initially building it, which I think is what the OP was talking about. At that point you have a free hand. Changes after the initial approval will, as you say, require another approval,

-Dana

All wiyht. Rho sritched mg kegtops awound?
 

GCD89

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Largo, FL
As far as kit planes I meant buying just the plans, but not exactly following them. IE, if I just buy the plans for a Tiger Moth replica, do I have to follow it exactly because the FAA has certified THAT specific design or can I make alterations to that design?
 

orion

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You can make alterations - in issuing an airworthiness ticket the inspector really looks at the build, not the engineering or specifics behind it. If you wish to change the plans to suit your own needs you are free to do so, but of course with a certain amount of common sense, for your own safety.
 

Dana

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As far as kit planes I meant buying just the plans, but not exactly following them. IE, if I just buy the plans for a Tiger Moth replica, do I have to follow it exactly because the FAA has certified THAT specific design or can I make alterations to that design?
The FAA does not certify any kits (with the exception of ELSA kits) or plans. With the exception of ELSA kits, anything you build, whether kit, plans, or your own original design, you are the manufacturer and can build it how you want.

Even if you have drawings for a previously certificated aircraft, if you build a replica, as far as the FAA is concerned you're building an original aircraft.

-Dana

Son - you're going to have to make up your mind about growing up and becoming a pilot. You can't do both.
 

GCD89

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The FAA does not certify any kits (with the exception of ELSA kits) or plans. With the exception of ELSA kits, anything you build, whether kit, plans, or your own original design, you are the manufacturer and can build it how you want.

Even if you have drawings for a previously certificated aircraft, if you build a replica, as far as the FAA is concerned you're building an original aircraft.

-Dana

Son - you're going to have to make up your mind about growing up and becoming a pilot. You can't do both.
Really? So if I built a kit, and it gets certificated as airworthy, can you give it an original name, or does it have to be certified as the type it already is. Like, if I built a Thunder Mustang replica, would it get certified as a "Thunder Mustnag" or would it get certified as whatever name/designation/etc I come up with for it?
 

bmcj

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Really? So if I built a kit, and it gets certificated as airworthy, can you give it an original name, or does it have to be certified as the type it already is. Like, if I built a Thunder Mustang replica, would it get certified as a "Thunder Mustnag" or would it get certified as whatever name/designation/etc I come up with for it?
Yes, you can call it whatever you like. There are people that buy an RV kit, build it exactly to plans, and name is something else, usually with their name (i.e. - Johnson Special). As the builder, you are the sole authority on your plane. Being a homebuilt, the FAA recognizes that there might be subtle differences (i.e. - weight or rigging) even between planes built from the same kit and instructions.
 
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Dana

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You can call it anything you want. Many builders use both their name and the kit name (i.e. Johnson Thunder Mustang), but this is not required. No matter what you name it, the FAA considers it a one of a kind aircraft.

-Dana

Hangover: The Wrath of Grapes.
 

GCD89

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Jan 25, 2010
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Largo, FL
So, regarding TCDS' and what not, do I basically have to make my own, or will there be one that already applies to whatever plane my plans are based off of?
 
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