Met with the FAA in the past couple of weeks and found some important info about the AirWorthiness Inspection!

First of all you may notice that we have skipped that past couple of Zenith Rudder Workshops while moving full speed ahead on the 3 projects that we had going here at once.

I am now feeling like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel to finish up my own plane. Although not complete yet, I thought it would be wise to begin checking with them concerning the registration and certification process.

Fortunately for me I had to be in Oklahoma City on business so I hand carried my registration app, and the original Zenith Bill of Sale with me. One of the documents had to be notarized but I cant remember which. If you can't figure it out, just email me and I will look it up.

You can mail in the forms but I just thought that since I would be in the area it would be much nicer to drop it off in person. Had to make an appt 24 hr in advance but it was worth it. The inspector found one line that I had not printed my name on. So instead of mailing it back to me I was able to signe it there on the spot.

This week I made an appt and stopped by the St Louis FSDO office to talk about the inspection process. The examiner could not have been much nicer. He took his time and explained the things that they would be looking for (mostly paperwork related) and expounded extensively on the need to keep a good builders journal including pictures. Of course I already had one, and we always recommend the same to our customers. But according to him, most people are not prepared in that area which brings into question who the real builder is.

It is not wrong in any way for a builder to utilize a builder facility such as ours so long as you remain in charge of the project and approve all of the work being done.Basically you MUST be able to sign that affidavit at the end, swearing that you are the builder of the aircraft. That does not preclude you from having assistance from a builder assist facility such as ours, or from your family, or kids in the neighborhood. So long as you are what I will call the General Contractor on the job.

Another thing that this examiner mentioned was that if you plan to use a DAR for the inspection, be sure to work out all of the details before the inspection. For instance, his fee. Will that be paid before the inspection or after. If there is a re-inspections required does his initial fee include that or will there be additional charges. Realisticially I would say that there may be times when it is necessary to charge an additional fee. For instance the examiner arrives and none of the paper work is prepared. He can wait for 3-4 hrs for you to fill it out or come back again. In either case he has spent a lot more time on the job than would have been necessary. So just ask. I think that most will be very helpful in explaining their policy. If not simply call the next DAR on your list and ask him. Maybe you will get lucky and find someone in your area who is fair with LSA's in general and it will go right through.

He also suggested to have all of your paper work filled out for your repairman certificate so that can be issued at the same time.

Overall, I found the ST Louis FSDO office somewhat difficult to get through to the correct person. It took 3-4 tries, but when I finally did, he was very professional, polite, considerate and helpful. and made my visit all worthwhile.

I hope that this info is helpful to many of you. Please feel free to add additional comments. I would hate to see someone be denied an airworthiness cert. because of a lack of communication..

All the best to everyone,

Bill Carter

American Light Sport Aircrafters


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Comment by Sebastien Heintz on December 2, 2011 at 8:44am

Bill, thanks for sharing the info.  FAA has pretty thorough resources on their website regarding the airworthiness inspection:

EAA has also good info, and has good resources and programs for builders, including the Technical Counselor and Flight Advisor programs (which are free to members).  Their FAQ answers many common questions.

Comment by Rebecca Anne Shipman on November 29, 2011 at 1:34pm

Bill - thanks for checking out this information.  Hope you and your son are keeping busy.

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