GAS TANK

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Lois

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Jan 7, 2022
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If it is a Part 103, I have seen where builders built a shelf that incorporated a seat belt. Then used a portable 5 gallon marine fuel tank with a handle and quick disconnect. Ran the seat belt through the handle and sinched tight. Since the tank is not a permanent part of the structure of the "not-an-aircraft," it does not count against the permissible 254 pound empty weight. (Neither do removable custom seat cushions used to permit two "non-airplane-pilots" of differing sizes to fly the same craft without resorting to heavier adjustable seat mechanisms. If you are strapped in the cushion is trapped in place.) Alternatively Univair, Aircraft Spruce, or ??? may sell a light weight aluminum or polyethylene unit that ends up being lighter. The trick being to get one that is no more than exactly 5 gallons.
 

Pops

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Several ways of making your own. Can be made from aluminum, fiberglass, etc.

Buy Tony Bingelis books , a must for building a homebuilt airplane. Answers for all of your question on how to do.

Shop Or from Amazon.

aluminum wing fuel tank bent on a brake for least amount of welding. 2 end caps and one seam.
 

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Dana

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I have seen where builders built a shelf that incorporated a seat belt. Then used a portable 5 gallon marine fuel tank with a handle and quick disconnect. Ran the seat belt through the handle and sinched tight. Since the tank is not a permanent part of the structure of the "not-an-aircraft," it does not count against the permissible 254 pound empty weight...
Good luck convincing the FAA of that.
 

Lois

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Good luck convincing the FAA of that.
A friend built a Part 103 "not-an-airplane." Upon advice of an experienced aviation attorney a certified weight was obtained and multiple photographs taken of the process documenting the installed equipment and general condition at the time which proves 103.3(e)(1). The attorney maintains this file. A fuel tank data sheet and photographs proving 103.3(e)(2) is in the file. So are the engine manufacturer's spec sheet and the FAA worksheets to establish the 103.1(e)(3) and 103.1(e)(4) speeds.

The FAA's right to inspect a "non-aircraft" built under 103 is limited to that in 103.3. Should the FAA wish to exercise their prerogative under 103.3, the attorney can show the FAA that they do not have cause to believe that they have jurisdiction.

The problem with manufacturing a fuel tank yourself is that you are certifying that you correctly followed the rules. While that was certainly your intent, it opens the door for a determination of fact which can bring you into the fray. If an independent third party is alleged to be wrong about the vehicle weight, engine specs, or the capacity of a fuel tank, a certification to the contrary is nevertheless in your hand forcing the alleged fact to be proven. Something nobody is going to go to the trouble of unless you are in someone's cross-hairs anyway.

103.1 Applicability

This part prescribes rules governing the operation of ultralight vehicles in the United States. For the purposes of this part, an ultralight vehicle is a vehicle that:

(a) Is used or intended to be used for manned operation in the air by a single occupant;

(b) Is used or intended to be used for recreation or sport purposes only;

(c) Does not have any U.S. or foreign airworthiness certificate; and

(d) If unpowered, weighs less than 155 pounds; or

(e) If powered:

(1) Weighs less than 254 pounds empty weight, excluding floats and safety devices which are intended for deployment in a potentially catastrophic situation;

(2) Has a fuel capacity not exceeding 5 U.S. gallons;

(3) Is not capable of more than 55 knots calibrated airspeed at full power in level flight; and

(4) Has a power-off stall speed which does not exceed 24 knots calibrated airspeed.

103.3 Inspection requirements.

(a) Any person operating an ultralight vehicle under this part shall, upon request, allow the Administrator, or his designee, to inspect the vehicle to determine the applicability of this part.

(b) The pilot or operator of an ultralight vehicle must, upon request of the Administrator, furnish satisfactory evidence that the vehicle is subject only to the provisions of this part.

103.5 Waivers.

No person may conduct operations that require a deviation from this part except under a written waiver issued by the Administrator.

103.7 Certification and registration.

(a) Notwithstanding any other section pertaining to certification of aircraft or their parts or equipment, ultralight vehicles and their component parts and equipment are not required to meet the airworthiness certification standards specified for aircraft or to have certificates of airworthiness.

(b) Notwithstanding any other section pertaining to airman certification, operators of ultralight vehicles are not required to meet any aeronautical knowledge, age, or experience requirements to operate those vehicles or to have airman or medical certificates.

(c) Notwithstanding any other section pertaining to registration and marking of aircraft, ultralight vehicles are not required to be registered or to bear markings of any type.
 

Dana

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None of that addresses the issue of convincing an FAA inspector that the fuel tank isn't part of the aircraft's empty weight.

But back to the OP: when I needed a new tank for my Kolb I drew up wanted and had it made by Boyd Welding.

 

don january

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If it is a Part 103, I have seen where builders built a shelf that incorporated a seat belt. Then used a portable 5 gallon marine fuel tank with a handle and quick disconnect. Ran the seat belt through the handle and sinched tight. Since the tank is not a permanent part of the structure of the "not-an-aircraft," it does not count against the permissible 254 pound empty weight. (Neither do removable custom seat cushions used to permit two "non-airplane-pilots" of differing sizes to fly the same craft without resorting to heavier adjustable seat mechanisms. If you are strapped in the cushion is trapped in place.) Alternatively Univair, Aircraft Spruce, or ??? may sell a light weight aluminum or polyethylene unit that ends up being lighter. The trick being to get one that is no more than exactly 5 gallons.
The tank may not be so weight objective but the weight of the 5 gallons of fuel are. I guess you can fill your boots or hide fuel in the tubing of air frame but your still eating up part of the 254 lb.max weight.
 

Haymore

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Go with a removable HDPE marine 5 gal tank it has handles and good fuel supply and return connections if it holds slightly more than 5 gallons a little work with a heat gun can reduce it to the 5 gal max for 103
 

Turd Ferguson

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Since the tank is not a permanent part of the structure of the "not-an-aircraft," it does not count against the permissible 254 pound empty weight.
The trick being to get one that is no more than exactly 5 gallons.
Humm, since we are playing "liberal interpretations vol 1" Why limit ourselves to 5 gallons quantity? If the fuel tank is not part of the vehicle it could hold 6 or 7 gallons. You simply tell the FAA, since it's not a permanent part of the vehicle, quantity doesn't count toward the vehicles maximum capacity of 5 gal.
Correct?
 

D Hillberg

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welded tanks are heavier - thin sheet aluminum- front and rear ends with a .5 flange, sheet bottom and top.
proseal and riveted, bungs and filler as needed. all from A/C Spruce.
 

Lois

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Humm, since we are playing "liberal interpretations vol 1" Why limit ourselves to 5 gallons quantity? If the fuel tank is not part of the vehicle it could hold 6 or 7 gallons. You simply tell the FAA, since it's not a permanent part of the vehicle, quantity doesn't count toward the vehicles maximum capacity of 5 gal.
Correct?
So long as you NEVER attach it yes... The same way I can own a 10" barrel and upper receiver but I need a Federal Tax Stamp to attach it to a lower receiver and make a SBR. Rules be rules, whether they make any sense or not.

Polyethylene is light. Having a removable fuel tank likely saves scant weight, but it's really convenient. But while there is no specific list of equipment that "must" be carried on a Part 103 "not-an-aircraft" there are things that "bust" it out of Part 103. Fuel capacity over 5 gallons is one of those. I know somebody who has two five gallon "football" tanks hung from the jury struts on a parasol. But there is only one set of equipment to feed the engine. At some point the "not-a-pilot" lands and swaps the footballs.

Likewise one can carry a five gallon gas can-- secured with bungees or a strap-- in the baggage compartment and refill when convenient. There is no rule limiting how much fuel you carry, just how big the tank is. Same with a clock, mount it on the instrument panel and it counts as part of the empty weight. Wear it on your wrist it does not.

There is no requirement under 103 for any gauges, airspeed, altitude, compass. Personally, if weight were tight I'd just have an EGT / CHT, calibrate the throttle on the ground, and use smartphone apps for the rest. Mount a bracket for your device on the panel, the mount counts against the empty weight, but a cell phone or tablet in the mount does not.
 
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Aesquire

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Rochester, NY, USA
The fuel doesn't count toward the weight limit. The tank plumbed to the engine does, and must not exceed 5 gallons. If you want to carry extra, it's luggage, but can't be plugged in. Land & refuel is fine.

I suggest only the engine instruments be actually mounted on the aurframe. A small electronic tach/EGT/CHT/etc. Is safer if you don't unplug & plug it. The flight instruments clamp on or sit in a chest mount. There are remote/wireless panel pods that have engine, variometer, airspeed, and GPS, all in a neat compact package.

it's NOT An Airplane, It doesn't need Part 23 stuff built in.

My instruments typically live on top of my chest mounted parachute when flying my supine hang glider harness.
 

Turd Ferguson

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So long as you NEVER attach it yes...
And by the same logic, when one installs the fuel tank in or on the vehicle, it becomes part of the vehicle. You make the argument true with the firearm analogy. Attach something to the lower receiver, it becomes a defining part of the overall firearm.
You also make the statement true with the watch analogy, one can't choose to hold the gasoline in their shirt pocket or cupped hands, where those containers would not be part of the vehicle. It has to be in a suitable container and that container is part of the vehicle regardless of method of attachment to the vehicle.
 
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