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Who is legal to carry a passenger in a Xenos (by Sonex)?

Posted By:
Clifford Anderson
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#1 Posted: 11/30/2010 14:49:03

Here is one for Joe Norris:

The sonexaircraft.com Xenos web page states, "The Xenos can either be flown as a Sport Pilot/LSA, or it can be flown by pilots that hold a glider rating with a self-launch glider endorsement." This raises several questions:

1.  Is the Xenos an airplane or a glider, or can it be both at the same time?  It apparently can be registered/certificated as an airplane, experimental-amateur built (and as such is LSA compliant) or as a glider, experimental-amateur built.  Are there other ways it can be registered/certificated?

2.  If it is an airplane it appears that you need either a sport pilot certificate, or a private or commercial airplane single engine land (ASEL) certificate to carry a passenger.  And if it is a glider, it appears that you need a private or commercial glider rating with a self-launch endorsement. 

3.  Can it be considered both?  Can a ASEL OR a glider pilot with a self-launch endorsement fly a particular Xenos, regardless of how it is registered/certificated?

4.  If I build a Xenos and register/certificate it as a glider, can my private or commercial ASEL rated friend (with no glider rating) legally fly it with a passenger?

5.  If I build a Xenos and register/certificate it as a glider and later sell the aircraft, can it then be flown by a private or commercial ASEL rated pilot (with no glider reting)?

Joe, your guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Cliff, prospective Xenos builder



Joe Norris
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
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#2 Posted: 11/30/2010 16:12:11

Hello Cliff,

The operating limitations issued to the Xenos are same whether it is certificated as a glider or not.  The PIC requirement called out in the operating limitations section will simply require a "Pilot Certificate" (or authorized instructor logbook endorsement).  So, any pilot would be able to fly the aircraft at any time, regardless of whether the aircraft's airworthiness certificate mentions the word "glider" or not.

The only reason a person might want to certificate the aircraft specifically as a "glider" is to take advantage of the glider medical rules.  Unlike a sport pilot, a glider pilot is not required to hold a valid US state drivers license, and is not barred from flying if their most recent application for an FAA medical cerificate was denied, revoked, suspended or withdrawn.  So, a person who holds a glider rating (or is willing to get one) does not have to be worried about whether they are going to pass their next FAA medical application or not.  (Of course you should worry about this for health reasons!)

Now, to your question about carrying passengers, I do not know of any legal interpretation that's ever been issued by the FAA regarding whether a pilot of an experimental aircraft that is specifically certificated as a glider would need a glider rating in order to carry a passenger or not.  A strict reading of FAR 61.31 would seem to say yes, that a pilot would indeed need the glider rating in that case, but I do not know of anywhere where this issue is directly addressed in FAA guidance.

My suggestion would be to certificate the aircraft as a glider ONLY if you hold or plan to hold a glider rating.  Otherwise, just certificate it as amateur-built and fly it as a sport pilot or higher (and don't have your medical application denied).

Hope this helps!

Joe



Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate
Clifford Anderson
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#3 Posted: 12/1/2010 12:29:58

Joe,

FAR 61.31(d) states: 

"(d) Aircraft category, class, and type ratings: Limitations on operating an aircraft as the pilot in command. To serve as the pilot in command of an aircraft, a person must—

(1) Hold the appropriate category, class, and type rating (if a class or type rating is required) for the aircraft to be flown; or

(2) Have received training required by this part that is appropriate to the pilot certification level, aircraft category, class, and type rating (if a class or type rating is required) for the aircraft to be flown, and have received an endorsement for solo flight in that aircraft from an authorized instructor."

If a Xenos is registered and certificated as a glider, then isn't it's category a GLIDER (and not an AIRPLANE)?  So wouldn't you have to have a glider rating and a self-launch endorsement to fly one?  And once it is registered and certificated as a glider, its category can't be changed, can it?  So how can a Sport Pilot or an ASEL-rated Private Pilot be qualified to fly it without getting a Glider rating and self-launch endorsement?

Also, would another advantage of flying it as a glider (with a glider rating and S-L endorsement) be that you are not restricted to daytime hours and under 10, 000 feet (except in mountains, then 2,000 AGL), and with an instrument rating could you even fly IFR with a clearance and proper equipment installed?

Cliff

 



Richard Brown
40
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#4 Posted: 12/1/2010 16:46:55

The key is the statement by the manufacturer.  "It can be flow as a sport plane OR a glider."  They seem careful not to say "can be flown as a sport plane and a glider.  This means what it says.  Register it as an airplane or register it as a motor glider.  If you register it as a LSA/sprotplane, the you must have a PPL or a SPL.  If registered as a glider, you must have a GPL with self launch endorsement. 



Who me? I was fishing on the day in question Mr FAA man. Nope must have been another bright yellow plane.
Clifford Anderson
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#5 Posted: 12/2/2010 08:42:32

Richard,

Thank you for your post.  That is also the conclusion I come to after reading FAR 61.31(d).  But, Joe Norris didn't seem to feel that it made any difference how the Xenos was registered.  Haven't heard back from him, yet.

What do you say about the other advantages of flying it as a glider pilot that I listed in the last paragraph of my previous post?  Am I correct?

Cliff



Joe Norris
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#6 Posted: 12/2/2010 16:47:17

Cliff,

61.31(l) says, in pertinent part:

(l) Exceptions.

(1) This section does not require a category and class rating for aircraft not type-certificated as airplanes, rotorcraft, gliders, lighter-than-air aircraft, powered-lifts, powered parachutes, or weight-shift-control aircraft.

Since an experimental Xenos is not "type certificated" this exception releases the pilot from the requirement to have an appropriate category/class rating in order to fly it.  However, 61.31(l) goes on to say

(2) The rating limitations of this section do not apply to—

(iii) The holder of a pilot certificate when operating an aircraft under the authority of-

 

(B) An experimental certificate, unless the operation involves carrying a passenger;

So, under this provision of 61.31 the FAA could construe that the pilot would need to hold a "GLIDER" rating in order to carry a passenger in a Xenos if it were certificated as a "GLIDER".   However, a pilot flying solo would not, as per the exception found in 61.31(l)(1).

To your other point, flying the Xenos as a glider would not limit you to under 10,000 feet day only.  Those are Sport Pilot limitations that are not imposed on a Private Pilot with a GLIDER rating.  If the pilot is a SPORT pilot, then yes, he or she would be limited as you describe.  That is not an aircraft limitation, but rather a Sport Pilot limitation.

IFR would be allowed so long as the aircraft were properly equipped and the pilot properly rated.

Hope this helps!

Joe



Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate
Clifford Anderson
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#7 Posted: 12/3/2010 08:05:46

Thank you Joe, I looked at 61.31(l), but got lost in the convoluted verbage.  Thanks for making it understandable.  One has to "live" in the FARs, like you do, to really understand what you can and can't do in aviatiion.  Maybe you could ask Randy to task his guys to SIMPLIFY the wording of the FARs, so non-lawyers can understand them.

I appreciate your help.

I wanted to get this cleared up because if I spend years building a Xenos and register it as a glider (because that fits my needs best) and later decide to sell it, who would be  the potential market for it?  And also I have Power-only-rated friends that may want to fly it and I wanted to know what the rules were on that.  Solo, but no passengers. Thanks.

Cliff

I wonder what Approach Control will think when a glider asks for clearance for an IFR approach?



Joe Norris
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
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#8 Posted: 12/8/2010 11:15:59
Clifford Anderson wrote:

 

> Maybe you could ask Randy to task his guys to SIMPLIFY the wording of the FARs, so non-lawyers can understand them.

Every time we try that it gets worse rather than better!

> I appreciate your help.

You're quite welcome.  Glad I can help out!!

> I wonder what Approach Control will think when a glider asks for clearance for an IFR approach?

It's not as rare as you might think.  In some areas of the country it my understanding that having gliders on IFR flight plans is not all that uncommon.

Cheers!

Joe

 

 



Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate
Neal Miller
IAC Member
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#9 Posted: 12/16/2010 06:09:09

I read this thread and Xenos' website a bunch of times and am still slightly confused.

Let's say I've built a Xenos, now I want to do the paperwork.

I want to legally carry a passenger, principally my lovely wife.
She has stated she may wish to learn how to fly it at some future date, even if only to be able to land it should I ever pop my clogs midflight.
loopy

Although we currently have no medical concerns, we're mid fifties, so who knows the future.

I want to be able to perform and sign off on my maintenance.

I may desire to fly aerobatics at the primary level at a competition or just for fun.

I want to be insurable and otherwise legal.

It sounds like the glider registration and getting a glider cert w/self launch offers me almost more flexibility than even LSA.

 



Terrifying Flying Service. If you fly with us once, you'll never fly with anyone else.
Michael Lewis
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#10 Posted: 2/15/2011 13:36:20

Joe,

You prompt another related question. Assuming the aircraft is an amateur built, glider (self launching of any design, kit, or scratch built etc) and as you point out the opperating limitations require only a "pilot certificate" that would seem to negate any requirement for a self launch endorsment. Is that true? Would it matter if the pilot holds a glider rating?

 

Thanks,

 

Mike



Robert Dingley
Homebuilder or Craftsman
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#11 Posted: 2/15/2011 19:28:54

There is one obstacle, Cliff. And that is finding a CFI and aircraft that can give you a self launch/motorglider endorsement. I searched FAA & SSA and came up dry. Urban Air/ Lambada in Melbourne, FL looked promising, but the web site is dead. SSA sells a book on motorgliders. Surely,there must be someone east of the Rockies that can endorse s/l to my cert. I could have had auto tow years ago but passed on it. And so would you if you ever chased a 52 non road worthy Buick down a bumpy ag strip in a 2-22. Three times. If you find a school or CFI, please share.

Bob



Clifford Anderson
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#12 Posted: 2/16/2011 07:27:55

 

Dr. Tom Muller, Thomasville, GA, is a surgeon, CFI-G with his own Ximango.  Very nice guy.  He gave self-launch endorsement to Ted Staton, owner of the only flying Xenos in the Southeast.  Contact tedstaton@bellsouth.net

Cliff



Clifford Anderson
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#13 Posted: 2/16/2011 10:27:50

Michael Lewis wrote:

You prompt another related question. Assuming the aircraft is an amateur built, glider (self launching of any design, kit, or scratch built etc) and as you point out the opperating limitations require only a "pilot certificate" that would seem to negate any requirement for a self launch endorsment. Is that true? Would it matter if the pilot holds a glider rating?

Mike,

See my 12/01/2010 post and Joe Norris' response on 12/02/2010 above.  My understanding of what Joe says is that if the Xenos is registered/certificated as an Amateur-Built GLIDER it can be flown SOLO by anyone with a Pilot Certificate, but to CARRY A PASSENGER the pilot must have a Glider rating and a self-launch endorsement.

I assume that if it is registered/certificated as an Amateur-Built AIRPLANE, it can be flown with or without passenger by a pilot with a Sport Pilot, Private Pilot (or higher) license.

Cliff

 



Clifford Anderson
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#14 Posted: 2/16/2011 11:21:28
Neal Miller wrote:

 

I read this thread and Xenos' website a bunch of times and am still slightly confused.

Let's say I've built a Xenos, now I want to do the paperwork.

I want to legally carry a passenger, principally my lovely wife.
She has stated she may wish to learn how to fly it at some future date, even if only to be able to land it should I ever pop my clogs midflight.
loopy

Although we currently have no medical concerns, we're mid fifties, so who knows the future.

I want to be able to perform and sign off on my maintenance.

I may desire to fly aerobatics at the primary level at a competition or just for fun.

I want to be insurable and otherwise legal.

It sounds like the glider registration and getting a glider cert w/self launch offers me almost more flexibility than even LSA.

 

 

Neal,

See my 02/16/2011 reply to Michael above.  Yess, certificating the Xenos as a GLIDER and getting a Glidr rating and a self-launching endorsement frees you from having to get a medical exam or carry a drivers license (to show you are alive and can see).  It also frees you from the Sport Pilot limitations of VFR Only (if you have an Instrument Rating and the Xenos is IFR-equipped), Day Only (if the Xenos has lights required for night flying), and under 10,000 feet altitude (you will need oxygen above 12,500 feet and and Instrument rating above 18,000, in Class A airspace).

Because the Xenos is a kit, if you build it yourself (at least 51% of the work) you will register it as Amateur-Built and you can applly for a Repairman's certificate for THAT SPECIFIC aircraft only, which will allow you to do your own maintenance and annual condition inspections.

Because the Xenos is designed for SOLO aerobatics, due to gross weight limitations of its aerobatic category, you can do basic aerobatics solo regardless of how it is registered (glider or airplane).

Insurance depends on the requirements of the insurance company you choose.  They will have requirements of what ratings you have, number of total hours logged, number of hours in type of aircraft (and some want so many hours in the same make and model of aircraft, but may let you count time in similar aircraft), etc.  I've always wondered if you build an experimental aircraft and there are very few of that model in your area, how you can get insurance for Phase 1 (40 hours) when you have never flown one? You need to talk to the insurance company to get answers for your specific situation.

Basically you can do the things you have listed with it registered as an Amateur-Built AIRPLANE or GLIDER, you just have to have the proper ratings as mentioned in my 02/16/2011 reply to Michael.

When will you start building?

Cliff

 



Robert Dingley
Homebuilder or Craftsman
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#15 Posted: 2/17/2011 16:34:09
Clifford Anderson wrote:

 

 

Dr. Tom Muller, Thomasville, GA, is a surgeon, CFI-G with his own Ximango.  Very nice guy.  He gave self-launch endorsement to Ted Staton, owner of the only flying Xenos in the Southeast.  Contact tedstaton@bellsouth.net

Cliff

 

Thanks for the lead Cliff. I will file that away. I also made contact with Jim Lee in  melbourne, fL. EAA & SSA listed  him with UrbanAir/Lambada. Now its with PhoenixAir, same address.

I have attached AC 61-94 for anyone else interested in the endorsement.

Bob.



Files Attachment(s):
ac61-94.pdf (1643761 bytes)