Any DAR Horror Stories ?

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Pops

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Friend of mine called last night and told me about his DAR horror story. He has previously built 2 other homebuilts, one being a 4 seat Bearhawk with the all aluminum wings. The DAR rejected ALL the rivets in the wings, said that they are completely safe but they are NOT perfect and everyone has to be Perfect before he would sign them off. This is the same DAR that wants all AD's complied on an experiential engine. He sent the rejection papers to the FAA at Kansas City. So his wings are junk, just good for scrap metal even through the DAR says they are completely safe. Also my friend had a IA inspect the airplane and he went over the airplane and said nothing looked good.
Is this common with the DAR's now ? How many of you have DAR horror stories, don't relate the stories, just would like to have a count to get an idea if this is the way the DAR's are going.
 

MadProfessor8138

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The DAR that inspected my last plane actually pasted away a few hours after looking my plane over.
Money had been spent,plane was inspected,paperwork signed.......and I was at a stand still because he hadn't filed his paperwork before he passed.
Took forever to get the FAA to approve everything and a lot of jumping through hoops even though I had the paperwork showing the sign off.

Kevin
 

MadProfessor8138

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There was no investigation,if that's what you're asking.....lol
He was a great guy but was in very poor health and just about wheelchair bound at the time of his passing.
He loved planes and wanted to be involved up until he passed....thankfully,he got his wish.
We should all be so lucky.

Kevin
 

kent Ashton

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Did this builder pre-qualify his DAR? Best to use one "approved" by other builders.

The stories I've heard of revolved around external lights and IFR. Strictly speaking, external lights have to be TSO'd but most inspectors don't care--unfortunately, some do. It is also best not to mention IFR--that can become a can of worms. Just present the airplane as a VFR project. I had a guy tell me he would not sign me off until I had logged 5 hours of engine-run time. That's not practical in a pusher without a cooling arrangement but he was otherwise reasonable.

As you know, wings, rivets and the airplane itself only have to be "in a safe condition for operation". Para 25 here http://www.faa-aircraft-certification.com/amateur-built-operating-limitations.html. So if his wings are "completely safe", it sounds like grounds to appeal to the FSDO for a re-inspection by an FAA inspector. They will not like doing that but it's how I'd do it.

One thing for sure, don't short-cut the appeal. He never wants to get turned-down in a telephone conversation. Document it with a letter, affidavit, detailed photos perhaps vetted by a lawyer. Then the FAA knows he is serious and he might get a more considered response.
 

rick9mjn

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call the EAA, and ask what to do ,about the facts about your problem , the quote about the wings have to perfect would a starting point.........
--good day / rick.
 

TFF

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I don’t have a story but I know of a plane that will have a hard time when it comes to it. A friend is helping the owner. I told him you need to get a DAR in to review this plane because it’s a mess. Composite, retractable gear, odd engine, under average craftsmanship. I have heard of stories and most seemed legitimate. Stuff can be rejected, but if you think you are right, have it reviewed. If it is trash, then you are lucky someone saved your ass from getting in it. You will not have a problem, Pops.
 

Tiger Tim

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The DAR rejected ALL the rivets in the wings, said that they are completely safe but they are NOT perfect and everyone has to be Perfect before he would sign them off..
How far off perfect are we talking here? Could he replace a dozen of the worst offenders and get a DAR back in a couple months?
 

TFF

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Because your plane is a true one off, do get in touch with the EAA or FSDO and get a DAR that has done something close to your plane. If the guy only knows RVs and hates wood, don’t let him in your hanger to protect your heart from a heart attack and him from you shooting his.
 

MadProfessor8138

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I'm wondering about the I/A's opinion that nothing looked good.
Was that a mistype or do the DAR and the I/A have the same opinion of the workmanship ?

Kevin
 

Pops

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I'm wondering about the I/A's opinion that nothing looked good.
Was that a mistype or do the DAR and the I/A have the same opinion of the workmanship ?

Kevin
The IA said everything looked good. The DAR said all the rivets in the wings were not perfect therefor he would not sign it off. Heck, want me to show you not perfect rivets in Cessna's and Pipers.
This is the problem with the DAR system, no checks and balances. Its my way or nothing. One of the many problems that prevents GA from growing.
 

Pops

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Because your plane is a true one off, do get in touch with the EAA or FSDO and get a DAR that has done something close to your plane. If the guy only knows RVs and hates wood, don’t let him in your hanger to protect your heart from a heart attack and him from you shooting his.
When I called the closest DAR when I was ready for the inspection of the all wood SSSC, the DAR (Ex FAA) said he never heard of a wood airplane and he would be sure it would be several trips of $500 each trip. I told him to forget about it and ended up getting it inspected by a FSDO in another state.
 

Pops

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I don’t have a story but I know of a plane that will have a hard time when it comes to it. A friend is helping the owner. I told him you need to get a DAR in to review this plane because it’s a mess. Composite, retractable gear, odd engine, under average craftsmanship. I have heard of stories and most seemed legitimate. Stuff can be rejected, but if you think you are right, have it reviewed. If it is trash, then you are lucky someone saved your ass from getting in it. You will not have a problem, Pops.
He built a Christavia 1 in 1992 and a 4-seat Bearhawk several years ago. I have looked at both airplanes and he does good work except for not perfect paint jobs.
Might find a small run or orange peel at places in the paint. But the construction looks very good to me. I would fly any thing he builds.
 

TFF

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If I knew my stuff was good, I would be having the DARs head. They don’t have to do it if they don’t want too. Just say no and I will move along. Some DARs are really not experimental airplane DARs. They are certified stuff with privileges. I would avoid those ones.
 

narfi

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here is my ramble....

I have had a lucky 20 years dealing with the faa in a 135 environment.
The only Field approvals I have had rejected were with letters stating that the alterations were considered minor. (that letter in the log book is as good as a field approval stamp for me) Site inspections never more than a list of suggestions on things to work on (of course they have to make a list, its their job) which they follow up on every few months till its mostly done and they forget about it. Never more than a missing interior or panel screw or misplaced paperwork or manuals or 'torn upholstery' type squawks from examiners, etc.... always something, but never anything that couldn't be corrected in a few minutes.

I have heard lots of horror stories through my carrier, even concerning faa members I was working directly with, but never any real issues for me.
I often wonder why, was I lucky, or did I do something different.....
I am not a charismatic speaker so that's not it.
I do not have a photographic memory capable of quoting chapter and verse to out baffle them with regulations, so that's not it.

I think it boils down to two things,

1. Realistic Expectations
2. Creating your own 'Luck'

1. Realistic Expectations
Government bureaucracy sucks, most of it is pointless and it puts incompetent people in authority over us. As much as this is true, it is also true that the justification for said bureaucracy is to 'help' us, most of those in the bureaucracy believe they are 'helping' us. You have the guy who loves aviation and understands it, he probably wont cause you problems unless you are doing something stupid.

Then you have the guy who is 'doing his job' reminds me of the joke about the young bachelor trying to cook for himself following the recipe,
Step by step he followed the instructions one line at a time, the next line read 'mix with egg' so he cracked an egg in the bowl and mixed it in, then went to the next line which had the single word 'beater' on it....... there wasn't an egg called for in the recipe at all.


2. Creating your own "Luck"
If you have realistic expectations you can create your own 'Luck' by preparing for the situation. If you know who you will be dealing with and what category they fall into, then you can prepare for them specifically. If you do not know them, then you must prepare for both. The aviation lover will want to make sure you are safe and legal, he will want to know what he can learn from you and what you can learn from him, he will instruct you on how to fulfill his requests if you can demonstrate to him that your desire is to be safe and legal and that you have done your due diligence before speaking with him. The guy doing 'his job' will follow checklists given to him and whatever the latest 'memo' hot topic is and knows you in the wrong before you even speak to him. It is your job to know what his checklists say and what the latest "memo hot topics" are before even speaking with him. Then you can demonstrate to him that you have not only followed the letter of the law, completed the checklists required of you, but you have also completed his checklists and know what he needs before he asks, you prove to him that you are even more concerned with the recent hot topic than he is and that you are thinking of ways to go above and beyond what anyone else has considered on that topic.


Experimental aircraft builders could be easily stereo-typed as rebels. They go against the flow to build something different than what is certified, they do not respect authority, they fight first then when the dust settles asks what the fight was about.

If you do not respect them, how can they respect you?
If they can not respect you, how can they believe your project is safe?
If they can not believe your project is safe, how could they sign it off?

I have never delt with a DAR, but have spent 20 years dealing with the FAA, I doubt they are much different.

Sorry for the ramble, not sure what I was intending to say when I started, so put a disclaimer at the top.
 
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