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Buy two O-320 Engines, Get Free Apache Airframe

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Victor Bravo

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Looks like an opportunity for homebuilders: Sell the two engines and propellers to other homebuilders, keep the (free) Apache airframe, and weld a mount onto the front of the steel tube fuselage for a 350-400HP LS aluminum V8. You get a real 4 place, decent STOL, long cross-country cruiser that's kinda cool!
 

Victor Bravo

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Not my Apache at all, it was simply another one of my hare-brained ideas while sniffing through craigslist. I figured two undamaged runout engines and CS propellers were worth the price he's asking, and then you'd have a decent airframe to screw around with at no acquisition cost.

I wasn't thinking of trying to get the mod certified as standard category. If you took the fuselage and wings apart to enough of a degree, smoothed out the wing structure, cleaned it all up with composite fairings and such, engineered a new engine installation.... you might get lucky enough to have a DAR say that you went to 51%.

If not, you have a perfectly good Experimental-Exhibition airplane to go to all the fly-ins with, having plenty of room for a big beer cooler in the back.
 

BoKu

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...you might get lucky enough to have a DAR say that you went to 51%...
The V8 Seebee guys made that wager, and they were pretty well invested when it went sour. When you come that close to poking the bear, there's a good chance some other faction within the FAA will overturn the first.
 

dog

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The V8 Seebee guys made that wager, and they were pretty well invested when it went sour. When you come that close to poking the bear, there's a good chance some other faction within the FAA will overturn the first.
The V8 Seabee guys,
are still "invested"
 

rv7charlie

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BoKu,
What got overturned with the Seabee guys? All the stuff on their site talks about conversion to Exp. Exhibition, which is a legit category for doing that mod, and which my neighbor who works for my local FSDO says is not a problem to accomplish.

Trying for Homebuilt category definitely won't work while staying within the letter of the law (though you might find someone sloppy or sleazy enough to do it, right before he retires). The rules are quite clear that repair and/or modifying a component does not qualify as constructing it, So you can never get to 51% using more than 49% of an existing certified plane. And obviously you can't do it and maintain standard category. But Exhibition basically comes down to surrendering the original a/w cert and having something to 'exhibit' on the modified airframe.

So, what happened? Did they try to use the planes commercially or for hire?
 

TFF

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I know of a couple of certified planes and helicopters, and the owners had buddies that signed the paperwork and created a homebuilt.
There is also a conversion of Barrons to single engine turboprops. No clue why, but they did. Those half dozen planes are homebuilts not exhibition. It’s called grease with $$$. A lot has to do with where you get grandfathered to where they are allowed to change a status.
 

rv7charlie

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And somebody drove over eh speed limit today without getting a ticket, and I know of a Taylorcraft that got its wings clipped and became a homebuilt. And the same FSDO (and IIRC, the same inspector that issued the a/w) asked the rebuilder/owner a few years later how it was a Homebuilt, because repairing/modifying certified a/c cannot qualify for Homebuilt status.

It obviously has happened, and may well happen again, but the FAA has some explicit position papers published about what's legal and what's not. Doesn't address the Exhibition Category question, though.
 

Toobuilder

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I think things went sideways when the V-8 Seabee made it on the cover of Sport Aviation and the article made no attempt to hide the fact that this particular airplane had an E-AB certificate. In fact, IIRC, they flaunted the fact that they were able to find a sympathetic FSDO (Reno?) that bought the "restoration" as meeting the "major portion" rule. It was a lot of work, and I have no doubt that they touched just about every rivet in the airplane, but at the end of the day it was a restored production airplane with an engine conversion.

It was also about this time that that Turbine Porter showed up at OSH with the Chevy truck rims and tires, a nose gear from an F-100 Super Sabre, and a locomotive train horn mounted on the fuselage.

Right after that was when the FAA stepped in and shut the party down.
 

rv7charlie

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But what specific party was shut down? I agree that the 'rename it as a homebuilt' party is gone, but the Robinson V8 Seabee site talks about Exhibition Category.
 

TFF

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I think they have a little revisionist history; Han Solo shoot first going on with their present web.
 

Toobuilder

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But what specific party was shut down? I agree that the 'rename it as a homebuilt' party is gone, but the Robinson V8 Seabee site talks about Exhibition Category.
Sure, NOW they are E-E, but back then it was all about E-AB because the limitations on E-E were significant. Not such a big deal now, but the E-AB cert was coveted back in the day.
 

BBerson

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Exhibition basically comes down to surrendering the original a/w cert and having something to 'exhibit' on the modified airframe.
What is having something to exhibit? Like a product for sale?
What if no original airworthiness certificate?
 
Last edited:

pfarber

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Dollywood
The V8 Seebee guys made that wager, and they were pretty well invested when it went sour. When you come that close to poking the bear, there's a good chance some other faction within the FAA will overturn the first.
The Seabee is legit restricted expirimental... And that's the problem. It's not gonna be your daily driver unless you drive to demonstrations every day... And the FAA knows you're not, no matter what pithy internet comment you post.

Look at how tight they define 'compensation' for PPLs if you think it's not that bad.

Why not just make a 100% copy of the airframe. None of the GA AC have any sort of patent protection anymore... But the real issue is the only only thing that made them valueble was the standard airworthiness certificate.
 

rv7charlie

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Just about all foreign, and most domestic 'warbirds' are flown in Experimental Exhibition category. Many low volume unlimited acro aircraft (built legally by small shops under contracts with purchaser-pilots) are Exhib. category. I might want to exhibit how well a Yamaha snowmobile engine works in a C-150. Or the extra takeoff/landing performance available by extending the wings by 3 feet on each side. Or...etc. I just can't do anything 'for hire' with the plane in that category.

To grossly oversimplify, it's the FAA's catchall category for stuff that can't be licensed as a homebuilt (won't meet the 51% rule), won't be flown 'for hire' (a strict definition; doesn't mean you can't do stuff that *indirectly* makes you money), and can't be 'airworthy' in the strict definition of the term, meaning compliance with a type certificate.

The FAA actually has a separate category for 'product for sale' (in the sense of an aircraft for sale). For instance, the Van's Aircraft demo planes are in Experimental Marketing Survey category, IIRC.
Some light reading here (FAA 8130.2J).

Toobuilder,
If Robinson was making a big deal about getting a homebuilt cert, I bet it was a couple of decades ago. Back then, Exhibition category was quite restrictive on how you could operate the plane other than actual flights to officially exhibit it (300NM radius around home airport, and only landing at the home airport unless traveling to exhibit). But with revisions to the regs, restrictions for 'proficiency flying' of EE category looks almost identical to the restrictions on homebuilts.

Party on...
 

TFF

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You can make a copy of the airframe. It’s not instant gratification on such a complicated plane and airframes are cheap with the engines gone. Seabees are cool planes and they came with engines that get more rare every day. They tend to not survive because of engines. The V8 was a work around but was handled badly.
 
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