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How do I certify a one seat SLSA for manufacture?

Posted By:
Bill Berson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
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#1 Posted: 8/25/2010 01:07:25 Modified: 8/25/2010 01:32:23

I was thinking of designing a one seat airplane and getting a Special Light Sport Airplane approval to manufacture airplanes in my small shop. Maybe build one or two airplanes at a time. Can anyone on this forum give me an overview of what would be involved getting a SLSA approval?

A few of my questions:

1)Can a Volkswagen engine or Honda industrial engine be used for SLSA or does the engine need certification?

2) What about making the propeller, does the prop need certification also? 

3) What sort of testing is required? I would guess wing proof loading and landing gear drop test. What else?


I don't want to spend a bunch of money for the ASTM documents or join LAMA if the process is overly complex or impractical for one person. Is it practical for one person to get a SLSA approval?

Bill


 



Joe Norris
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#2 Posted: 8/25/2010 09:02:48

I suggest you contact Terry Chastain at the FAA Small Airplane Directorate in Kansas City, MO.  Terry is the FAA's lead guy on LSA certification and he can give you answers to your questions.  You can contact him via the Small Airplane Directorate at (816) 329-4100.



Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate
Bill Berson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
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#3 Posted: 8/25/2010 16:28:41 Modified: 8/25/2010 16:29:58

Thanks Joe, for the FAA contact. But I was hoping to get some questions answered from the point of view of an EAA member. And I think other members might want to learn about the process here as well.

Bill Berson

EAA 89061


 



Joe Norris
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#4 Posted: 8/26/2010 10:25:10

Bill,

The answers to your questions are fairly complex. The answers given here are thus VERY simplistic.  Full answers can be found in the ASTM standards that have been accepted by the FAA.

so, with that in mind, here are some basic answers to your questions.  Since you mentioned "airplane" these answers will be from the viewpoint of certification of a fixed-wing airplane.  Answers may be different for other classes (powered parachute, weight-shift, glider, etc.)

1) For SLSA certification the airplane engine must either meet ASTM standard F2339 or be type and production certificated by either FAA or JAR.  I don't know of any Honda engine that would fit this criteria, but there may be a Volkswagen derivative that does (Limbach??).

2) There is no specific requirement in the airplane standard for the propeller to be certificated.  There are performance limits for the propeller called out in the standard.

3) There is a great deal of testing called out in the performance standards, including loading, performance and stability.  Far too much info to cover in this forum.  In order to get a full understanding of the testing required one would have to look at ASTM standard F2245. 

The potential manufacturer will also have to meet standard relating to quality assurance, production acceptance testing, maintenance and inspection procedures, aircraft operating instructions, and several others.  The list of applicable standards can be found here

If you're really serious about wanting to pursue this, you really need to spend $75 and join ASTM. This gives you full access to all the applicable standards, and is much cheaper than buying the standards individually.  The standards are not public domain documents and they do not belong to the FAA or government, so you cannot access them without joining ASTM or purchasing them individually.

Hope this helps!

Joe



Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate
Bill Berson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
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#5 Posted: 8/26/2010 13:13:55 Modified: 8/26/2010 13:20:02

Yes, that helps quite a bit. Joining ASTM makes sense at some point. 

My question was about designing a single seat SLSA. I just checked the EAA list of current approved SLSA and could not find any single seaters listed. There was one that may have been a single seater, I wasn't sure. 

Perhaps the single seater could be one way to get the cost down with lower power and lower cost engines.  But It looks like for a SLSA approval, I would need an approved engine. I doubt there are any affordable 20-30hp four-stroke approved engines.  Maybe that is why we don't see any low powered  single seat SLSA yet.

 



Joel Cox
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#6 Posted: 8/26/2010 13:40:12
Joe Norris wrote:

 

If you're really serious about wanting to pursue this, you really need to spend $75 and join ASTM. This gives you full access to all the applicable standards, and is much cheaper than buying the standards individually.  The standards are not public domain documents and they do not belong to the FAA or government, so you cannot access them without joining ASTM or purchasing them individually.

Hope this helps!

Joe

 

Could also consider making a trip to a public library, to see if they have the standards in their collection. Not sure if those are common in a library, but at the college I attend, we've got them in our library. Gives a good way to see what the planes are actually built around.



Bill Berson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
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#7 Posted: 8/26/2010 15:10:43

Joel,

I tried to get a look at the ASTM standards at the EAA library during Airventure 2010. Actually, I called the EAA library in April to see if the EAA library had the standards.   The library did not have it available, but someone from EAA promised to print a copy when I got to Oshkosh. Unfortunately that did not happen. Oh well.   At the time, I suspected that ASTM might prohibit library use and so I gave up asking at the EAA library. 

But if your college has them available, I think EAA could as well.

I probably will not manufacture any aircraft under ASTM standards because it requires an approved engine. But I am consulting with others about aircraft manufacture and I need to know all the options.

 For now, it appears the Experimental/ Amateur Built kit option makes more sense than SLSA. The issue of product liability is a big concern that probably favors E/AB as well. That is another complex issue to address.

Thanks for you interest.

Bill



Bill Berson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
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#8 Posted: 8/26/2010 20:34:07

This article explains how engines are approved with the ASTM standards:

http://www.aviationsafetymagazine.com/newspics/0508-ATSM-LSA-ENGINE-STANDARDS.pdf


And this article talks about the three engines that have been approved:

http://www.aviationsafetymagazine.com/airplane/LSA-Engine-Safety.html


Nothing in the low horsepower range unfortunately.  I wonder if a Honda or VW engine could be converted by someone and approved? 

Bill



Ed Connelly
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#9 Posted: 8/26/2010 23:17:18

Dear Bill,  The basis of Special Light Sport Aircraft is ASTM accepted materials an methods.  That means that evert single part, from rivets to engines, must meet ASTM standards.  Based upon your questions it is not a practical option for you.  Ed Connelly



Dolpho Silva-Sadder
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#10 Posted: 8/31/2010 19:38:26

  Is it practical for one person to get a SLSA approval?

No.