Purchasing homebuilt, confused with required inspections

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BBerson

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The local EAA Chapter 430 has several Tech Counselors for free advice about condition, balance, etc. Also consult the Flight Counselor for Pilot skill advice. It is experimental. It is a single seat taildragger.
 

Turd Ferguson

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@Socal pilot, there's always some risk involved. Have to decide if the rewards of airplane ownership are work the risk. Most of the risk in this plane appears to be getting the plane registered and legal to fly, which should be fairly low risk but that is different for everyone. I hope it works out of you, if you lived close to me we'd have this thing up and going before fall.
 

akwrencher

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I've been to that museum, it's nice. Nice place to have lunch on the field too, although they may not be open at the moment......
 

Socal pilot

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Hi everyone,

I feel I should provide some updates so we could all learn something. I'm most likely passing on this purchase. A few hopefully minor things came up with the logbook, something that I felt I could fix by test flying the plane and notifying the FSDO, but my main reason is that the mechanics that I work with here in my base are unwilling to do a Condition inspection. Everyone is willing to go and "take a look at it" (for a fee of course), no one is signing anything. Thank you for your recommendations for local people, but not being local myself, I don't want to get into a situation where some repairs are necessary and I'm not there, plus I will have to work with mechanics from my place sooner or later and if they are unwilling to sign Condition next year I'm not getting far.

What an unusual experience, I did not see this coming but I have to accept that it's their signature and that they have final saying in the matter.
 

BJC

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Have you checked in with the nearest EAA chapter? They may have an A&P among the membership, or a recommendation on one.

That will be good to know in advance of the next E-AB that you become interested on.


BJC
 

BBerson

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Good call.
You might also consider looking for an almost complete experimental kit. With a minor amount of completion work and application for airworthiness, you may also qualify for a Repairman Certificate and then you can sign off your own inspections.
 

Victor Bravo

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But if it is a good price for a basically reasonable airplane, then don't discount the concept of trailering it back home, or U-ship, etc. Take the problem out of the equation (mechanics there are not helpful) and see if the airplane is still worth having once you get it home. In other words, don't hold the wrong thing against the right airplane. The airplane don't know whether the logs are good, or the mechanic is lazy.
 

BBerson

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A mechanic is not lazy that chooses to avoid unlimited liability from a simple signature. It's the legal system that is messed up. The FAA is clueless about legal concerns of a signature.
The only solution is to make it possible for Pilot owners to sign their own inspections.
 

Socal pilot

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" Take the problem out of the equation (mechanics there are not helpful) and see if the airplane is still worth having once you get it home "

That's the interesting part, two mechanics from there don't want the responsibility and two more from here where I am. So even when I get it home I still don't have anyone.

I have seen some "almost completed" projects, I'm definitely going to give them more attention and try to get a Repairman certificate, because from my limited experience so far it doesn't look too good for non Builders with how the rules are made.
 

kent Ashton

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two mechanics from there don't want the responsibility and two more from here where I am. So even when I get it home I still don't have anyone.
What! Socal, I am guessing you are from . . . Southern California. S. California is filthy with experimental airplanes. Absolutely filthy---with that great weather, those clear skies. . . . .... 🥴

But I digress. If you can't find a mechanic in S. Cal that would inspect an experimental, you just aren't trying. Find an EAA Chapter | EAA
 

D Hillberg

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My evil twin will probably do the dirty deed - He's in Chino Ca.
He gets more crap from Air Combat & the other "cheap" Heavy Iron drivers on a volkswagon budget :fear:
Seems he likes the different toy box to play in:popcorn:
 

Dana

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You need to ask around to the other experimental owners in your area... many established shops won't touch experimentals, but there are a lot of freelance A&Ps who will, it's strictly word of mouth. My guy comes from two states away, drives around in his van full of tools and takes care of a few guys at my home field, presumably doing the same thing at other airports in the area (sorry, New England only). My last CI cost me $650, he only works for airplane owners who work on their own planes, he likes teaching as much as mechanicking. I know of another guy who's an A&P instructor at a local college who moonlights working on people's planes. OTOH the A&P who has a shop at my home field, when I asked about a CI for the Fisher 404 I had at the time, said he wouldn't touch anything that didn't have a Continental or Lycoming engine (the Fisher had a Mosler 1/2VW). But he was so busy, with a great reputation (and price to match!) that even though he owned a Tailwind he built, he just didn't need the experimental business.
 

Turd Ferguson

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Most likely the mechanics who don't want to work on a homebuilt don't understand homebuilt rules and a liability excuse is their "out"

There is far less liability doing a condition inspection on a homebuilt than any task on a certificated airplane. Any A&P can use his professional judgement to determine an aircraft is safe for flight. It's is a standard less binding than "airworthy."

because from my limited experience so far it doesn't look too good for non Builders with how the rules are made.
There are a lot of homebuilts not owned by the builder and they have to be inspected every 12 months. This work is getting done somewhere. Think about it.
 

Saville

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"....but my main reason is that the mechanics that I work with here in my base are unwilling to do a Condition inspection. Everyone is willing to go and "take a look at it" (for a fee of course), no one is signing anything."


Perhaps I'm ignorant about this but Inever heard of anyone doing a pre-buy signing anything. You get a nice report in some cases.
 

BBerson

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A pre-buy can be any level depending on what the buyer wants. Usually the required aircraft inspection is valid at the pre-buy so no signoff. This one is 12 years expired with other issues.
It can't be signed off for service until all repairs are made or get a special permit. Inspections are not maintenance. Two different steps.
(and yes, I know the wacky FAA definition of maintenance in FAR1.1)
 
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BBerson

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I would only do a limited pre-buy for a local friend. And only one that plans to do all the work and understands there is no way to avoid unknown issues that come up. Price it accordingly.
 

radfordc

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Most likely the mechanics who don't want to work on a homebuilt don't understand homebuilt rules and a liability excuse is their "out"
Could be. When I needed my first CI on my Sonex I contacted a local A&P to do it. He agreed and we got together soon after. As we went through the inspection I found myself teaching him what was different about doing a CI on an E-AB. The first thing he learned was that anyone could do work on the plane and sign the logbook....he was stunned.
 

rv7charlie

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To the OP,
If you really can't find anyone to sign off a homebuilt for you, you're really out of luck in owning a homebuilt unless you build it yourself. Even the 'almost complete' route could be problematic; the repairman's cert isn't automatic, and FAA is supposed evaluate your competence in inspecting the a/c for problems before issuing it. Even if it's issued, someone with zero prior maintenance experience who does the last few percentage points of work is extremely unlikely to have the competence to do an inspection unless he has someone with experience 'looking over his shoulder'.

Having said that, I agree with what others have said. I suspect that you just haven't looked in the right places for an A&P who will sign it off (assuming it really is safe for flight).

I must say that I must be very fortunate to live in a backwater state. I've owned purchased homebuilts since 1991, and I've never paid more than $250 for an inspection/signoff (with me doing all the actual work).

Charlie
 

Marc W

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I have been fortunate to find an A&P to do my condition inspections both in Socal(KCMA) and here in Colorado for very nominal fees. I am still educating my current A&P on the differences between EAB and certified. In SoCal it was a retired A&P who just hung around the airport. Here it is an independent. It might help that both understand that I know what I am doing.
 
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