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Registering a non N numbered aircraft

Posted By:
Mike Garka
3
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0
#1 Posted: 5/24/2011 22:42:32

My dad purchased a kit built aircraft from an individual from California about a year ago.  It had never been N numbered.  He has since passed away, but I would like to do what ever is necessary to register this aircraft and get it N numbered.  In my research I found that I need a chain of ownership dating back to the kit manufacturer.  I don't have anyway of obtaining this information.  Is there anything I can do?  I have a hand written Bill of Sale from the person my dad bought the plane from, but that is it.  I'm having a shop at our local airport go completely through the aircraft making sure it is airworthy and they have fixed all the AD's from the manufacturer.  I have applied and reserved an N number, but the registration process seems a bit confusing.  any comments would be greatly appreciated.



Dave Prizio
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
118
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29
#2 Posted: 5/25/2011 12:11:32

I am not so sure I would spend any money fixing your plane up until you get your paperwork problems under control. You may simply may not be able to solve those problems satisfactorily, at which point you will have a pile of worthless junk that looks like an airplane.

If the original kit manufacturer is around or a successor company, you may be able to track down the original buyer, who can then help you with your chain of ownership problem. If the company is now out of business the FAA may accept a letter from you stating that, in lieu of an original bill of sale, but you would still probably need to get something from someone who is willing to say they bought the kit from the manufacturer.  If you can't get any of that I suggest you call the EAA and ask them if there is anything they can do to help. (You should probably do that anyway)

Besides your chain of ownership problem, if the plane is fully assembled and there is no evidence to support the claim that it is amateur built, you have another problem. To secure an experimental amateur built airworthiness certificate you need to be able to convince a DAR that it was indeed built by amateurs for their education and recreation. This is typically proved with construction photos and a log. Without any of this you have a serious problem to which there may be no good solution. You might be able to get it approved for some other experimental category, but without amateur built status you have something of little practical value.

It is imperative that you connect up with the original builder if at all possible. You may also want to consult with a DAR in your area who can take a look at your situation and tell you exactly what you are going to need to get an airworthiness certificate. Your local EAA chapter is a good place to ask about a DAR, or your local FSDO will have some names for you. I suggest you do that before you spend any more money fixing the plane.

Good luck with all of this. It sounds like you are going to need it.



Mike Garka
3
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0
#3 Posted: 5/25/2011 12:28:47

Thank you very much for your response and suggestions.  I'll get with the EAA to see if I can get any help in this matter.



David Staffeldt
IAC MemberVintage Aircraft Association MemberWarbirds of America MemberHomebuilder or Craftsman
39
Posts
17
#4 Posted: 5/25/2011 13:02:40

Hi Mike,

The EAA will be a fantastic source of information for you. I don't think you will have a huge problem getting this done.  The main reason you would want a builders log and pictures if you were building this airplane would be to get your repairmans certificate so you could do your own condition inspections. In your case, the airplane can be inspected by a DAR for airworthiness and issued an experimental certificate. You won't get a repairmans certificate, so you'll need an A&P to sign off the condition inspections.

I'd be interested in hearing what the fine folks at the EAA tell you.

David



Mike Garka
3
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0
#5 Posted: 5/27/2011 20:06:22

Thank you for you input David.  I've been in touch with a DAR, and he seemed to think I could register it in the exhibition catagory.  Not the classification I was looking for but could serve the purpose.  It'll let me burn some fuel anyway.  I'll let you know.

Mike



David Staffeldt
IAC MemberVintage Aircraft Association MemberWarbirds of America MemberHomebuilder or Craftsman
39
Posts
17
#6 Posted: 5/30/2011 14:51:11

I find that category a little questionable. Did the DAR give you any specific reason for thinking it would be experimental exhibition versus experimental?

David



Ron Wanttaja
246
Posts
98
#7 Posted: 5/30/2011 15:20:15
David Staffeldt wrote:

 

I find that category a little questionable. Did the DAR give you any specific reason for thinking it would be experimental exhibition versus experimental?

I suspect it boils down to the affidavit.  To get Experimental Amateur-Built certification, you have to show that the majority of the aircraft was built for education and recreation.  Mike says the only thing he has is the bill of sale, hence there's no proof the airplane met the 51% rule.

Mike, it it possible to contact the guy who built it?  If you can get some construction photos, and especially a construction log, this will go a long way towards convincing the DAR.

There's a bit more paperwork (and, sad to say, a bit more leeway for FAA interference) for Experimental Exhibition.

 



Ron Wanttaja
David Staffeldt
IAC MemberVintage Aircraft Association MemberWarbirds of America MemberHomebuilder or Craftsman
39
Posts
17
#8 Posted: 5/30/2011 17:39:55

There is a list of aircraft kits that meet the 51 % rule (FAA website) that you may want to look at Mike. You did say it was a kit and not from plans? For instance, my airplane is a Montana Coyote Mountain Eagle and the company went out of business in 1996, but is still listed as meeting the 51 % rule. If your airplane is on the list, then it meets the rule and would be eligible for experimental amateur built certfication.

If it is on this list, then does it really matter who built it if you aren't looking to get your repairmans certificate? The issue will be whether it is airworthy or not.

What type of airplane is it Mike? That might help to get some answers or at least some other options if it was ever on the approved FAA kit list.

David



Malcolm Morrison
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
3
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#9 Posted: 6/6/2011 05:53:51

I'm going through a similar situation right now.  I bought a partially completed Titan Tornado.  I have completed the airplane, put together a 40 page builders log with photos and descriptions of the work that I have done, cross referenced this with Titan factory drawings and  the AC 20-27G builders checklist to show 51% of the work.  And, the DAR and MIDO say  that this is not enough.  They will not inspect the airplane until I get a builders log and photos from the person(s) who did work on the airplane before me.  Lucky for me, and after only a couple of weeks of evenings searching on the internet I was able to find the other builder (from 16 years ago), and he is a great guy who is helping me by providing the missing information.

Now the MIDO wants me to re-register it because I made up my own serial number and put my name down as the builder.  They want the first builder as the builder (he only did 30% of the work, I did 50%), and the want the kit serial number on the aircraft registration.  This will take several more weeks for Ok Ciy to process, then I can get in the queue to pay the DAR $1000 for the inspection.

I know a lot of people seem to have no problem with their MIDO/FSDO/DAR, but it appears to depend on where you live.  If you can find the builder, and get a builders log with descriptions, dates, and photos you would be well on your way for the Feds in my area.


Malcolm



Dave Prizio
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
118
Posts
29
#10 Posted: 6/6/2011 11:33:36

Malcolm, you are getting some pretty poor treatment from your local MIDO. You are the builder if you did the majority of the work and are applying for the airworthiness certificate. You are allowed to chose any serial number you like. There is no legal requirement to use the kit number as your serial number. Asking you to reregister the airplane because you made up your own swerial number is bizarre. It is reasonable for the DAR and/or MIDO to ask for verification of amateur building from the first owner, but the rest of this is pretty senseless. Unfortunately there is a fair bit of inconsistency between one MIDO/FSDO and another. Some offices have people in them who are very sharp on this stuff, but others just seem to make it up as they go.

Unless you are in an area that is hard to get to, $1000 for the DAR inspection is pretty high. You might want to look around and see if you can get a better deal. Something like $500-700 would be more in line. Only if there are some unusually high travel expenses involved to get to your plane would $1000 be in order, IMHO.

Best of luck getting your plane signed off. It is too bad the FAA added to your frustration instead of helping you.