# Current Rates for Condition Inspections on NON-Builder EAB Aircraft (in the US)

### Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

#### JayKoit

##### Well-Known Member
Curious if anyone can shed light on what they're paying (or charging) for annual condition inspections for EAB aircraft, if you're NOT the original builder (or, you are, but choose to have an A&P do the condition inspection anyway).

I've looked at the couple threads posted from years back, but it's been a while so I'd like to find out some current rates. I'm budgeting for my next plane purchase, looking at certified aircraft vs. built & flying EAB aircraft, and the differences in annual costs vs condition inspection costs. Thanks.

#### Wanttaja

Going to vary by the type of aircraft. I'd presume a typical condition inspection will take eight hours, multiplied by the A&P's shop rate. Length of the inspection will be affected by the complexity of the aircraft...a Baby Ace takes less time than a Lancair IV. Shop rate runs typically around $100/hour.. which is probably less than your local car mechanic charges. It also depends on whether you expect the A&P to correct any conditions he or she finds. You'll either have to pay for the work to fix things, or do the work yourself (hopefully prior to the start of the inspection itself). When the A&P shows up to do the condition inspection of my Fly Baby, all the inspection covers and cowlings are off, the times are entered in the logbooks, etc. When he gets done, he takes the logbooks home to make the entries while I reassemble the airplane. He's not a Fly Baby expert, so I have the builder's manual handy if I need to show him how things are supposed to go together. My inspection (simple aircraft) thus takes about three hours, or more if he finds things that I'm not competent enough to correct myself. Ron Wanttaja #### JayKoit ##### Well-Known Member Going to vary by the type of aircraft. I'd presume a typical condition inspection will take eight hours, multiplied by the A&P's shop rate. Length of the inspection will be affected by the complexity of the aircraft...a Baby Ace takes less time than a Lancair IV. Shop rate runs typically around$100/hour.. which is probably less than your local car mechanic charges.

It also depends on whether you expect the A&P to correct any conditions he or she finds. You'll either have to pay for the work to fix things, or do the work yourself (hopefully prior to the start of the inspection itself).

When the A&P shows up to do the condition inspection of my Fly Baby, all the inspection covers and cowlings are off, the times are entered in the logbooks, etc. When he gets done, he takes the logbooks home to make the entries while I reassemble the airplane. He's not a Fly Baby expert, so I have the builder's manual handy if I need to show him how things are supposed to go together.

My inspection (simple aircraft) thus takes about three hours, or more if he finds things that I'm not competent enough to correct myself.

Ron Wanttaja
Thanks Ron, that sounds reasonable and makes sense. Of course you’re right, it will vary widely and I should have been more specific: I’m looking primarily at metal or composite EAB LSA, or 2 seat certified models that are 30k and under, so for EAB that would be Zenith 601s, Sonex, Jabiru Calypso/J160, etc. If I went certified, not a lot of choices with today’s prices but possibly C150, AA1, or an ercoupe.

I would definitely assist the a&p by prepping the plane and removing access panels, etc. and aim to do the maintenance and repairs that were needed as a result of the inspection (maybe with some help from a couple guys in my EAA chapter).

#### Wanttaja

##### Well-Known Member
$100 here too. Like Ron, I have everything ready for inspection. We do comp check and mag timing together. I do all maintenance. RV-9A. The A&P is a friend so that helps. Join an EAA chapter if you haven’t already. There are usually a couple of guys with A&Ps that have day jobs but use the certificate for a little pocket money. For the first ten years of ownership, an old co-worker with an A&P did my condition inspections for free. I would buy him a nice present every Christmas. He got ill and couldn't do inspections anymore, so I used a couple of freelancers over the years. They charged about$250. Had to train them a bit about homebuilts ("Doesn't the airplane have to be in the same configuration as when it was originally licensed?") but both eventually quit doing inspections.

My current guy is a long-time member of my EAA chapter who restored an older metal homebuilt and leveraged the experience to help get his A&P. I pay him the same as the others.

Biggest issue I have is the fact that my airplane is made out of wood...one doesn't find a lot of A&Ps with wood-airplane experience, anymore.

Ron Wanttaja

#### Marc Zeitlin

##### Exalted Grand Poobah
Curious if anyone can shed light on what they're paying (or charging) for annual condition inspections for EAB aircraft, if you're NOT the original builder (or, you are, but choose to have an A&P do the condition inspection anyway).
As Ron W. states, it will vary substantially based on the type of aircraft. Ron's Fly Baby might be a 3 hour job, but an RV, with about 8 zillion screws, is not. Neither are canards (which is what I specialize in, but not to the exclusion of anything else). Complex planes can take 15 - 20 hours - simple planes can be 3 - 5 hours.

Here's what I charge:

I've had folks come to me and say that their last CI on a Varieze/Long-EZ/COZY cost them $150. I tell them that if they want a$150 CI, they'll need to go elsewhere, because at $115/hr. (as Ron also said, less than my mechanic charges me to work on my car), I can't spit at their plane for$150. A $150 CI on a Varieze/Long-EZ/COZY is a pencil whipped CI that means nothing from the standpoint of safety (which, theoretically, is what a CI is about, since you're signing off that the aircraft "is in a condition for safe operation"). I will refer you back to Bell Helmet's first full face helmet advertisement in the motorcycle magazines, in the late 1970's, when most helmets sold for$10 and were crap, and their helmet sold for $60 (and was NOT crap). They said: "If you have a$10 head, get a $10 helmet".​ I have about 30 regular customers that come to me for CI's each year, and a number of new ones as well. All of them seem to feel that they're getting value for the $$. For the type of aircraft you've listed, I'd expect somewhere between 500 - 1000 for a CI, depending upon what's found, and whether it's the first time I've seen the plane, or the 4th, and whether you've performed all the recommended issue mitigations that we found in the first, second and third CI's . #### Wanttaja ##### Well-Known Member I'd go with what Marc says as gospel. MAYBE you can find someone to do it cheaper, but A&P time is cheaper than a varnished wooden box. Ron Wanttaja #### Lois ##### Active Member I'd go with what Marc says as gospel. MAYBE you can find someone to do it cheaper, but A&P time is cheaper than a varnished wooden box. Ron Wanttaja 'Course some will reply: "varnished hardwood... plain pine is cheaper." #### TFF ##### Well-Known Member There is only two circles. Buddy network and shop/ independent A&P. Buddy network can be anything for cost. Shop/ independent is labor rate that they work for. It’s very dependent on where you are located. Without the buddy network, 500-1000 like above is about average. #### Wanttaja ##### Well-Known Member 'Course some will reply: "varnished hardwood... plain pine is cheaper." My only concern is when they put the price tag on the INside... Ron Wanttaja #### N804RV ##### Well-Known Member I've always done all my own maintenance. I've never had trouble finding an A&P/IA to sign off my work until this year. My friend has done the last 3 condition inspections for 100. This year, he's not available. And, I'm very worried about letting just anyone take pen and ink to the log books. What I don't want is some "certified airplane" guy to come in and hold my log books hostage. #### JayKoit ##### Well-Known Member As Ron W. states, it will vary substantially based on the type of aircraft. Ron's Fly Baby might be a 3 hour job, but an RV, with about 8 zillion screws, is not. Neither are canards (which is what I specialize in, but not to the exclusion of anything else). Complex planes can take 15 - 20 hours - simple planes can be 3 - 5 hours. Here's what I charge: I've had folks come to me and say that their last CI on a Varieze/Long-EZ/COZY cost them 150. I tell them that if they want a 150 CI, they'll need to go elsewhere, because at 115/hr. (as Ron also said, less than my mechanic charges me to work on my car), I can't spit at their plane for 150. A 150 CI on a Varieze/Long-EZ/COZY is a pencil whipped CI that means nothing from the standpoint of safety (which, theoretically, is what a CI is about, since you're signing off that the aircraft "is in a condition for safe operation"). I will refer you back to Bell Helmet's first full face helmet advertisement in the motorcycle magazines, in the late 1970's, when most helmets sold for 10 and were crap, and their helmet sold for 60 (and was NOT crap). They said: "If you have a 10 head, get a 10 helmet".​ I have about 30 regular customers that come to me for CI's each year, and a number of new ones as well. All of them seem to feel that they're getting value for the$$$.

For the type of aircraft you've listed, I'd expect somewhere between $500 -$1000 for a CI, depending upon what's found, and whether it's the first time I've seen the plane, or the 4th, and whether you've performed all the recommended issue mitigations that we found in the first, second and third CI's .
Thanks Marc, I appreciate all the detailed info. When the time comes for my first CI after purchasing, I may come see you since I know it would be thorough, and time/money well spent (plus I'm in Agua Dulce CA, so not too far from Tehachapi)

#### Kyle Boatright

##### Well-Known Member
I've always done all my own maintenance. I've never had trouble finding an A&P/IA to sign off my work until this year.

#### Kyle Boatright

##### Well-Known Member
And with respect to turning over logbooks, the logs belong to the owner, not to me, and if I don't give them back to the owner, I imagine the local police would get involved.
On the subject of holding logbooks ransom, my airport neighbor is an IA. One day I dropped by the airport around lunchtime to find two guys in a well used minivan with government plates holding court with him in his hangar. The subject was "You're not allowed to hold someone's logbooks hostage." My neighbor had a very convoluted explanation that he wasn't holding them hostage, he just <long story>...

The FAA guys (complete with badges) were unimpressed. They didn't take action, but strongly recommended he return the logbooks ASAP and pursue other means (i.e. the court system) if the owner hadn't paid him for his work.