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Tell me how this is amateur built?

Posted By:
Jim Heffelfinger
Homebuilder or Craftsman
256
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#1 Posted: 10/20/2009 11:39:50

 

VAN'S RV-3A • $68,000 • FOR SALEVan’s RV-3A, (IFR legal). Built and signed off by a professional A/P that has built several RVs. 40 hours flown off and tweaked by professional A/P-Flight Instructor. Professionally painted by local Cessna dealership. N9092F, SN 11302, TT 40.9, Registered 11/29/2000. New Lycoming O-320-DIA SNL-17217-39A, Airflow Performance Fuel Injection, Warnke Prop 72 x74 (Custom made), Garmin GNC 300XL GPS and extra gauges for (IFR Legal), King Transponder KT76A, King KX125 Radio, ACK E-01 ELT, Inverted Oil and Gas, Wing Tanks (15 gal ea.), Four Strap Safety Harness, Asking price $68,000

 

from a featued Barnstormers Experimental ad

Jon McDonald
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#2 Posted: 10/20/2009 19:45:33 Modified: 10/20/2009 19:45:59

 I don't see any problems.  Just because the plane was built by a "professional A/P" does not mean that it is not an amateur built aircraft.  Amateur built status is not determined by the skills/licenses/certifications of a builder, but rather the builder's intent.  Specifically 51% of the aircraft must have been built by a person solely for their own education and recreation. If the status of "professional A/P" meant that it was not an amateur built plane, in effect, it would mean that  A/Ps were banned from building their own aircraft.

Many people who build homebuilt aircraft are also A/Ps.  The key is that they are building the plane for their own enjoyment, not with the intent to sell it and make money.  In this case the plane was built almost 9 years ago.  It is completely reasonable to believe the the builder, who happened to be an A/P, built the plane for his own enjoyment, flew it for several years, then decided to sell.

One of the nicest Sonerais I saw at Oshkosh was built by an A/P.  He built it for himself and flew it to Oshkosh from Texas.  Nothing wrong with that.  Now if he were offering to build a Sonerai for someone for money, that would be against the regulations, since he is not building solely for his own education and recreation.

The other thing that might have sent off warning singnals was the fact that he stated he had built several other RVs.  This is also common, especially among RVs.  I know of several folks who have built 2, 3, even 4 different RVs over several years (remember the design has been around for over 30 years).  Tony Bingelis built 3 or 4 RVs (among several other planes) over his lifetime.

I've seen some EXTREMELY blatent examples of violations of the "51% amateur built" rule, but this does not seem like one of them.

 



Jon McDonald Building Sonex #1287
Jim Heffelfinger
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#3 Posted: 10/20/2009 20:07:55

great explanation - and I understand.

Thanks,

J



Reggie Smalls
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#4 Posted: 10/20/2009 21:55:13

Great answer Jon, there's nothing I can add.



Jeff Point
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#5 Posted: 10/21/2009 02:41:13 Modified: 10/21/2009 02:42:42

While there is not enough information in the ad to make a definite judgment one way or the other, there are a couple of red flags that jump right out.  First of all is that this A&P has built several RVs.  Nothing specifically illegal about that, but this fact, combined with the very high asking price, makes me suspicious that this was an RV built for the purpose of resale, not for "education and recreation."  Another flag is the total time.  Just enough hours to fly off the phase 1 restrictions.  If it had 400 hours and he was selling that would be something else entirely.

There is another thread on this forum that discusses this very topic, which is timely given that the FAA just released the final rule on the "new" rules for homebuilding.  It was those people who were cheating on the old rules that invited scrutiny from the FAA, and placed the freedoms that we enjoy in jeopardy.  I'm not saying this ad is one of those, but it sure makes me suspicious.

For more discussion:

http://www.oshkosh365.org/ok365_DiscussionBoardTopic.aspx?id=1235&boardid=147&forumid=178&topicid=3101  


 



Joanne Palmer
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#6 Posted: 10/21/2009 17:57:42

Nothing legally wrong with it.  However, this does seem that this was built to be sold.  Which makes it a profit making business and therefore not built by an "amateur".   This smacks of an illegal aircraft manufacturing business.



Brad Strand
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#7 Posted: 10/21/2009 23:54:12

I would enjoy hearing an informed expert opinion on this. 

It is my understanding that there is absolutely nothing what so ever illegal about building as many experimental aircraft a year as you want to build and selling them for whatever price you can get for them.  As I understand it the problem came from people having their kits built by others and licensing it as if they had built it themselves. 

My understanding is that as long as you tell the truth you have done nothing wrong.  If I am wrong about this I look forward to becoming better informed.



Jon McDonald
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#8 Posted: 10/22/2009 00:42:41

Not an informed expert, but here is my take on it. 

The question that rules the day is WHO built the aircraft and WHY did they build it.  When a builder applies to have an amateur built aircraft certified they must sign a document stating that they built the aircraft SOLELY for their own education and recreation.  I have seen two types of fraud commited with regards to the amateur built rule.  The first is lying about who built the plane.  The second is lying about why the builder built it. 

For example, lets say you come to me and say "Jon, I really like your sonex.  I'll pay you $20K for your time to build me one." I agree and start building.  When it is finished, you go to the FAA and apply for an airworthiness certificate.  On the form where it asks for the builder's name, you put your own and state that "I, Brad Strand, built this sonex solely for my own education and recreation."  This is a lie.  You did not build it, I did.  Obviously you are in violation of the regulations.

Same scenario with a twist.  Once again, I build a Sonex for you.  I buy the kit and parts myself.  This time I apply for the airworthiness certificate and onthe form where it asks for the builder's name ,I put my name and state that "I, Jon McDonald, built this sonex solely for my own education and recreation."   This is also a lie.  Although I built the plane, it was not solely for my own education and recreation.  I did it for the purpose of making money (perhaps a $20K markup on my materials cost).  If I was not making money on the deal, I would not have "wasted my time" building the aircraft.



Jon McDonald Building Sonex #1287
Jeff Point
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#9 Posted: 10/22/2009 00:54:40

Brad,

I'm no expert but I did stay in a Holiday Inn once, so let me take a stab at it.

If I build three homebuilts a year for the purpose of selling them at a profit, I am manufacturing airplanes as a commercial endeavor.  The FAA has a host of (burdensome and expensive) regulations governing the manufacturing of airplanes as a commercial endeavor, which the likes of Cessna and Boeing are obliged to comply with.  However, I am using (actually abusing) the "amateur-built" rules as a way to circumvent those rules.  That is illegal, no getting around it.

When I present the paperwork to the FAA to get the pink slip for my homebuilt, I sign a bunch of paperwork, some of which is notarized, stating that I complied with the regs and built this aircraft for my own "education and recreation."  If I am the above mentioned commercial endeavor, then I have just falsified a bunch of federal document, a scenario not unlike lying on your medical application about a disqualifying condition.  In my state (and most others) making a false statement on a notarized document is a felony.  So, it is illegal on a whole 'nuther level.

I will grant you that there is a small difference between someone who builds an airplane "turnkey" for a pre-arranged customer, and one who simply builds an airplane, flies off the test hours, then hangs an ad on Barnstormers.  However, those are simply two sides of the same coin, and in both cases, the builder (and in the former, the buyer) are committing illegal activities. 

Now, the activity that you describe has been going on for a long time, and the FAA has more or less turned a blind eye to it for a number of reasons.  This has led many people to conclude that, because the FAA is not going after these people, that it must be OK.  However, the as more and more people got involved, and the line got pushed further and further, the abuses became so blatant that the FAA was essentially forced to get involved.

I hope this clarifies things just a little bit.  Joe Norris is probably the most knowledgeable person on this forum, maybe he can weigh in on the subject.




Jeff Point
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#10 Posted: 10/22/2009 01:01:02
Edit-

Looks like Jon Mcdonald and I were typing replies at the same time.  Great minds must think alike (except that I'm building a Breezy and not a Sonex.)




Scott Fohrman
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#11 Posted: 10/22/2009 08:18:38 Modified: 10/22/2009 09:49:52

Point 1....So, by the above "arguments" am I to conclude that one should never be able to sell a homebuilt (at least at a profit above what was paid for the materials)? Or, if one sells one it should only be able to be registered a different experimental category, such as exhibition, market survey etc? This would seem to be the natural evolution of the ideas above and is probably the next thing that will be put on the plate when the order is revised. This is the danger of allowing the FAA to create or expand regulations using orders. I would encourage you all to research the difference between regulations and orders and the limts on the FAA powers when writing orders.

Point 2....We can disagree and debate this issue all day - debate is good and healthy in any organization and not a one of us has the complete story. Debating an idea in the abstract is fine, but lets not post a specific persons ad and debate how he/she may have possibly violate the law/ commited fraud etc. The FAA does read this, so lets not be outing people here. After all this is supposed to be the EAA, not the Cheaters TV show, I would suggest the moderator delete the orginal post because of this.

 

 

 



Joe Norris
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#12 Posted: 10/22/2009 11:50:40

Hi Scott,

The moderator is here!biggrin  But I don't see any need to do any moderating.  The discussion here has been quite balanced, very civil, and on point.  No moderation necessary.  As for "outing" someone, the ad is posted for all to see on Barnstormers, so we're not letting any cats out of any bags here.  If the FAA is reading this, they're reading Barnstormers too. No harm, no foul.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled banter!



Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate
Jon McDonald
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#13 Posted: 10/22/2009 12:05:29

I don't think the plane in the original post is a problem.  I checked the FAA database.  The plane is 9 YEARS OLD.  Considering that, there is no reason to believe that this plane is not a legitimate amateur built aircraft. I have more questions as to why it was only flown 40.9 hours in the last 9 years.  However, that can easily be explained by an owner losing their medical or dying.  Who knows?  There are a few other things that need to be cleared up, but again, it does not look like anything other than an amateur built aircraft to me, IMHO.



Jon McDonald Building Sonex #1287
Joanne Palmer
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#14 Posted: 10/22/2009 14:52:56

Scott:

 

You can and should be able to sell your amateur built airplane if you wish and for a profit if you can get it.  The purpose of the amateur built category to the experimental certification was to encourage innovation.  If you can't dispose of an aircraft to raise funds for your next project it would pretty quickly stifle said innovation.

 

The real danger here though is "amateur" building-for-profit that some seem to be doing.  That should remain illegal. I don't think the FAA needs to expand any regulations by any means to stop this.  If they choose to enforce the existing regulations then this will stop.  If they don't then they only have themselves to blame for the situation.



Reggie Smalls
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#15 Posted: 10/22/2009 16:14:10

There's certainly information in the ad that gives a smell of pro-building (being sold after 40 hours, has built several aircraft before).  But this is a long way from blatant promotion of pro-building. If the plane's been registered for 9 years, that blows away some of the pro-building smell.  Also, this is an RV-3 !   If you were a pro-builder, speculatively building something to sell after 40 hours, there are much more attractive and saleable aircraft.   Nothing against the 3 but pro-building one would be a pretty dumb thing to do versus a 7, 8, 9 or 10.



Scott Fohrman
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#16 Posted: 10/22/2009 20:21:30

Joanne

 

Your absolutely right, it is perfectly legal to sell an exp. am. built aircraft. I was just trying to make a "slippery slope" argument here. I was actually more concerned about an identifiable indivdual's airplane being used as example when we talk about what is legal or illegal. The last thing we need is for us to say something here that could backfire on someone legally or fiancially. It would have been just as easy to just type up something similiar to use as an example and not to paste the barnstormers ad. Despite Joe's thoughts on the subject, I know that I would not want to have that done to me and as the golden rule says....

 

 

 



Mike Logback
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#18 Posted: 10/23/2009 07:39:58

  Here's something I've been considering.......... I think that a lot of this boils down to interpretation not unlike the bible..............the phrase" built" solely for education and recreation has nothing to do with the flying the airplane much less keeping it forever, and if you would like to build another aircraft at some point, you would need to cut the previous into small pieces to allow for  for hanger space......I agree that there is some abuse but that happens with freedom. just like speeding in you car, 5 mph over the posted limit is generally accepted, but 15 mph over well get you a ticket...... I built my plane to fly myself.........I now know of things I would like to do differently so I'm am building my second airplane .............I would like to have the option of selling which ever plane I decide not  keep at some point ....... government regulations do not make us safer.....They just complicate the lives of honest folks  



Jim Maher
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#19 Posted: 10/27/2009 13:11:28

The "Professionally Built" Glastar is even more suspect as the registration on the tail does not exist in the FAA Aircraft Registry. Makes you wonder what else has been done illegally.

Jim



Jim Maher
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#20 Posted: 10/27/2009 13:40:24

According to the FAA records the person who is selling this RV-3 (the current owner) is not the registered builder (manufacturer) of this aircraft.

So while the builder may or may not have built it for sale the current owner should have every right to resell the aircraft without repercussions.

Jim



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