Missing airframe parts, legal to fly?

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TXFlyGuy

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Here is the question...is it legal to fly an experimental airplane, during Phase One flight test, with missing parts?
The cowling, for example, not installed. And yes, this is the configuration my plane was flown in. Never mind the exposed wiring and other items getting beat to death by the prop blast.

Here is a photo that I took during taxi tests, so you can get an idea:
AC9A902C-A34D-4B63-B8A9-17753699E53E.jpg

I would say it is stupid, careless, and reckless. But that's just me.
What say you?
 

TFF

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Maybe stupid, but if you make it a configuration to test, it is legal. Experimental is just like factory. They experiment and you can to. All you have to do is officially put any homebuilt into phase 1, and you can do pretty much what you want. Hopefully you use the power for good and not for evil.
 

Vigilant1

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Here is the question...is it legal to fly an experimental airplane, during Phase One flight test, with missing parts?
What does your lawyer say? Inquiring minds want to know.
 

TXFlyGuy

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What does your lawyer say? Inquiring minds want to know.
Don't have a lawyer. No need for one. For many, many reasons. Do you have a lawyer, or know one? What does he say?

My DAR certified the aircraft in it's entirety, completely assembled. No parts missing, and all parts installed. And that is the way it was intended to be flown.
 

Vigilant1

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"Legal"?

Since there's no type certificate, the standard of airworthiness is that the plane must be in condition for safe operation. That's obviously subjective. 14 CFR says: The pilot in command of a civil aircraft is responsible for determining whether that aircraft is in condition for safe flight.

Those who crave more direction from the FAA would do well to buy a type certified plane that comes with an MMEL or MEL. Then, operate it like an airliner.
 
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Wanttaja

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If an RV-8 has wheel pants when the DAR does his/her check, is it illegal to fly without them? Agree with TFF, it may be stupid, but there's nothing illegal. It's up to the PIC to decide if the altered configuration affects the safety of the flight. If you own the airplane, you can tell the PIC not to fly.

And please, PLEASE don't make this an issue with the FAA. We saw what happened when the warbird-rides folks decided to take their issue to court. I've already had one A&P tell me that, at the condition inspection, my Fly Baby's configuration had to match what it was at the time it was originally licensed. We don't want the FAA to make that policy.

Ron Wanttaja
 

challenger_II

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Then, I would say you answered your own question.

Don't have a lawyer. No need for one. For many, many reasons. Do you have a lawyer, or know one? What does he say?

My DAR certified the aircraft in it's entirety, completely assembled. No parts missing, and all parts installed. And that is the way it was intended to be flown.
 

12notes

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Don't have a lawyer. No need for one.
Since you asked questions that start with "Is it legal...", it sounds exactly like you have a need for one.

Do you have a lawyer, or know one? What does he say?
I know a few. They say that for $100 or more per hour, they can answer your questions, same as every other lawyer you're going to find.

Otherwise, you're faced with the answers of people here who have read the FARs, who are going to continue to tell you what you don't want to hear, that it would be legal to fly with everything stripped off except the flying surfaces. Frank Knapp's Lil Cub that has won Valdez STOL competition multiple times has done just about that, and it's still legal.

If you want to seek vengeance through the legal system, then hire a lawyer, it will be a far faster and better method than asking us how to do it.
 

TXFlyGuy

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Vengeance is not mine to seek. The legal system is not being employed.
The question was posed, in hopes of finding a good and honest answer, as I know the people on this forum have a data base of information that far exceeds the average plane owner.

People who saw my plane crash video were appalled that it was missing parts. I think the FAA would probably feel the same regarding this.
 

BBerson

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The owner or operator of an aircraft is primarily responsible for maintaining that aircraft in an airworthy condition. (91.403)
I would say in this case the owner is also the operator (claimed to be project manager).
The definition of operate is authorize to use. (not necessarily the pilot)
The pilot is final but the owner, mechanics, repairman, DAR, etc. are all involved in condition of the aircraft.
 

TFF

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Sadly the boundaries were not defined with your plane. It is sad they did not respect the plane and effort, and that they needed that much definition.

Clearly, they were doing what they always had done, and time ran out. I’m sure no liability insurance too, so you are eating it. The hard part is technically, you threw them the keys. Without defined restrictions, it’s their discretion.

If you are trying to recover cost to fix, it will only come about after a judge finalizes the case. Getting a judgment and getting money is two different things. They are not out of the goodness of their hearts going to cover it, and they probably can’t.

Just to make a point, no pictures of your bomb luggage. Is the plane going to be tested with and without? If it had gone though full testing without, you would not be legal to just pop it on and go on a trip. Configuration does matter, but any configuration testing is legal.
 

don january

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You get it running again and ready for flight its off to taxi up and down the strip. Your don't want cowling missing when you leave the ground or any other piece. When it is inspected its with all the hardware
 

TXFlyGuy

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Boundaries were and are defined. This includes, but is not limited to CFR's, Airframe and Engine Operating Limitations, Conditional Airworthiness Certificate Specs, etc.

My position is it is not legal to remove aircraft parts, and fly said aircraft in Phase One missing parts, after the plane is inspected and issued a conditional airworthiness certificate based on all parts being installed and functional.

But that's my personal problem.
 

BBerson

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The cowling, for example, not installed. And yes, this is the configuration my plane was flown in. Never mind the exposed wiring and other items getting beat to death by the prop blast.

Here is a photo that I took during taxi tests, so you can get an idea:
Since you took the photo, I suppose you authorized the taxi tests that beat to death the wiring?
 

TXFlyGuy

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I took the photo.
The speed was idle taxi, very low rpm.
Yes, it was fully authorized and my good friend is in the cockpit.

This is night and day different from the issue raised here, with that 90" inch prop being spun by an LS3 at 4000+ rpm, and 25" manifold pressure.

The wiring referred to was installed over a year after this photo was taken.
 
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proppastie

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its easy to make a mistake.....you know "it seemed like a good idea at the time" ....plenty of mistakes to go around here ......it really is a beautiful plane I hope going forward you have better luck.
 
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