A question for SAAC?
  • captain slow
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    A question for SAAC?

    by captain slow » Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:36 pm

    Ok first off i know very little about the whole kitbuilt/permit area of things. But the way things are going it looks like this will be the only way affordable GA flying will continue.

    I have been taking a prelim look at a few aircraft and the more i look the more questions pop up.

    Like the new remos gx in the uk. It has a EASA permit to fly so its valid europe wide and covers the airplane in group A cat too. Could one be grought in here with the aforementioned EASA permit and operated on the permit? Would that allow pilot maintenace too?

    The other really interesting plane is the glasair sportman. Can a home/kit built plane be imported into ireland and operated on the permit scheme? I f i partially built it in the states(their 2 week to taxi program for instance) then shipped it backed and had it properly inspected by SAAC would that work?

    so many questions :oops:

    thanks
  • stovepipe
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    by stovepipe » Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:16 pm

    Hi there
    I don't know anything about the Remos, whether it's a microlight or group A.If it's the former and has a valid EASA Permit, then you go via the NMAI.If it's the latter, and the IAA don't object, then you enter via SAAC.They do not like a lot of the new crop of kits, which are essentially 70%(or greater) prebuilt and only require very limited building and final assembly, as this is outside the scope of SAAC's 51% remit.With the American kit, the IAA do not like the concept of SAAC being asked to vouch for what is essentially a half-built aircraft, built to American standards and not EASA regs.SAAC has always followed the UK's PFA/LAA guidelines, so what they approve is what we approve.
    regards
    Stovepipe

    PS: Our monthly meeting happens every third Tuesday, Juggy's Well restaurant, Sandycove.Tea and buns supplied.Annual membership E40.
  • captain slow
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    by captain slow » Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:33 am

    Hi Stovepeipe,

    Thanks for the reply it was informative and helpful.

    The remos is a factory built 600kg MAUW but is not certified to EASA VLA but it does have an EASA permit to fly which as i understand it enables it be flown europe wide without additional licencing requirements and i think it can even be used for paid training. Its a metal/comp mix with a rotax 912. I was wondering would it be posible to bring in here without upsetting the IAA or getting charged afortune to so. In theory with the EASA permit the IAA should accept it without question.

    The glassair is one hell of a plane. Its not cheap- is defo a group A and the usual engine is the O-360 or IO-360. Glasair offer a two week to taxi program where they provide you with some of their own staff and tools to speed up the builiding process so that after 2 weeks the plane is built and can taxi under its own power.. This appeals greatly for peace of mind sake.
    I can understand both the iAA reluctance and SAAC,s to being asked to inspect and sign off on airplane like this but it should be even better built and safer from the factory support than if i built it myself without any oversight. The whole process is covered under and meets the FAA's 51% self build/experimental rule and they have audited glasair and are happy that both the letter and the spirit of that 51% law are being complied with.

    Would the above preclude getting a permit here?
  • cubpilot
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    by cubpilot » Sun Apr 26, 2009 5:00 pm

    The Glastar is a far more practical plane for ireland than the Glasair. good turn of speed and economical but more importantly will get in and out of the club airfields with grass strips. carries a good load too. if you are going to knock next weekend there should be an example there.
  • captain slow
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    by captain slow » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:17 pm

    Hi Cub, yeah i have seen the low wing glasair and its a real speeder with amazing performance but the model i was eyeing up is the updated version of the glastar called the sportsman 2+2.

    It basically the updated version of the glasstar but with some metal not all composite. It can be set up at the constuction stage to be easy to convert between nose ,tailwheel and floats plus the option of tundra tyres for the days strips are mucky and water logged here! Its a proven design, with years of operations behind it so you are not de-bugging it as you fly it.

    Plus with the 'two week to taxi' option not only do you build your plane in an unheard of short time frame(good thing) plus having a factory experienced guy beside you to help you out and prevent you doing something potentially stupid while working on a critical component.

    all in all you get one hell of plane for comparitvely low money. I know inthe UK you can import an home built or experimental from abroad it just has to go thru an insection process by the LAA who generaaly approve it . The approval is eased if its a known design and its a standard model with no major mods.
  • cubpilot
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    by cubpilot » Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:54 am

    i beg to differ re LAA generally accepting an imported homebuilt. In fact if you import a part or fully built homebuilt the LAA will go through it with a fine tooth comb as both the local inspector and head office will not just accept the standards from other countires. over the years this has been a good policy as many very unairworthy mods or materiels have been discovered. i know of one sad occasion when something did slip past and ended in a fatal structural failure.
    many owners have been told they have bought a heap of scrap unless they start over again from basic structures. IAA/SAAC follow the same principle but do accept that as LAA are so stringent, transfer from G to EI is reasonably safe. i would strongly advise you to treat with caution buying anything from further away especially from usa where there is no build stage inspection process, just a final sign off after a very cursory look by a surveyor.
    No doubt the 2 week build is monitored in the factory, now i have no idea if anyone in uk has gone down this route but i suspect that before LAA would accept such a plane they would be doing a full audit at the factory at the owners expense and I bet IAA/SAAC would have the same view.
    on top of this you will then have the costs of shipping a complete plane, even if wings and tail are removed, compared to neatly packaged boxes of parts. a 20ft container runs to about £3000 from most usa seaports.
    i may sound negative but it is better that you know the pitfalls before being refused a permit.
  • stovepipe
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    by stovepipe » Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:30 pm

    Hi there
    Cubpilot has it in a nutshell. We in SAAC piggyback on the good works of the LAA and tend to accept what they pass as fit to build. We have a few minor differences but not much.I don't doubt that the Glastar is a good aircraft but like Cubby said, the IAA might want to audit the factory first as there have been a few things imported from the US and further afield that were failed. As an example, I remember the BMAA insisting on 26individual changes to the quite basic X'Air before they allowed it into UK service, because some of the parts were substandard or below the standard of Section S.I'd check with the IAA first, before you spend a cent.
    regards
    Stovepipe
  • captain slow
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    by captain slow » Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:17 pm

    Thanks guys i can hear the voice of experience coming thru loud and clear!

    I think the best thing for me now is just do alot more homework and makesome phone calls.

    i wasnt sugeesting by the way that the LAA approve kitbuilt aircraft willynilly but if you do import a well known design like an RV for instance without major mods the the LAA have vast experience with then all things being equal you should get a permit after a thorough inspection.

    Thnaks guys.
  • stovepipe
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    by stovepipe » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:29 pm

    Hi there
    An RV wouldn't be a problem, as such, but what the IAA have issues with concerning US-built aircraft is the amount of professional content in the build process.As you probably know, you can buy in pretty much any part or whole assembly of an RV from third parties, which suits the EAA just fine, but is regarded by the IAA as not being quite in the spirit of the 51% rule.A second issue whch bothers the IAA is the accurate filling of logbooks.Quite often, logged build and service histories of US-originated aircraft can be patchy.The American habit of logging monthly totals of flight time, instead of individual flights, leaves gaps in the records, so to speak. I know the IAA do not like that, from experience.Not knocking the Yanks, I hasten to add, but most of what I've seen has come from there.
    regards
    Stovepipe
  • Loflying
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    Third party RV assemblies? Really?

    by Loflying » Fri May 01, 2009 5:49 pm

    stovepipe wrote: As you probably know, you can buy in pretty much any part or whole assembly of an RV from third parties,


    Gee stovepipe, that's a new one on me. As an RV builder and forum addict I have never come across more than a part or accessory (tailwheel assembly, sunshade, fuel tank, alternative cowl, etc) for any RV from third parties. There ARE quickbuild options from the Vans factory consisting of mostly completed wings and fuselage assemblies. Even using all of these options, one of our fellow SAAC members reckons he will have up to 2500 hours in his soon-to-be completed 'quickbulid' RV. There is no way Vans are spending that amount of time to produce a quickbuild kit, so the 51% rule is very safe.

    That brings me to the point of this thread. That Glastar 2-week-to-taxi option brings a smirk to most US builders' faces and a frown to that of the FAA, as there is absolutely no way for an inexperienced builder to get any kit to taxi within two weeks, no matter how good the advice. My guess is that customers mostly stand back and watch them do it. Jay Pratt has built 8 RVs and the best he can do is 500 hours on the very simplest RV3 model. The Americans are currently re-thinking their 51% rule as a direct result of programmes like the Glastar one. On the other hand Captain Slow, the Glastar is a highly respected plane and a Glastar kit built here in Ireland in the normal way should be very acceptable to the SAAC/IAA type approval process. Just get that approval before you spend ANY money.

    As a kit builder, I can tell you for sure that building has to be its own justification. If your interest is only in flying you won't make it through the building project (2000+ hours working on something you are not interested in?). Far better to buy locally or import a well known LAA/SAAC approved type, which come up for sale regularly and which are almost always sold for less than the cost of the parts. You will get a well-equipped plane, built with love and fully debugged. On the other hand, if you have an engineering interest and a passion for a particular design then by all means take on the system - it is very oppressive and self-important and needs visionaries to give it a good kick up the pants!

    By the way, quite a number of completed RVs are imported into the UK each year and given permits to fly by LAA. Don't know about other types though.

    Loflying
  • stovepipe
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    by stovepipe » Fri May 01, 2009 8:09 pm

    Hi there
    LoF, you know perfectly well that a builder with a big chequebook in the USA can ease his time burden considerably, to wit: professional "assistance" is allowed in the USA, so builders can buy completely finished instrument panels, completely finished electrical installations, complete firewall forward assemblies, finished fuel tanks (very popular with Irish builders!), complete interiors and top it all off with complete painting, all sourced from third parties and all absolutely legal, saving themselves huge manhours. Irish builders complete far more of their projects by themselves, sticking closer to the spirit of the 51% rule.
    I absolutely agree with your assertion that no-one should attempt a build until they actually enjoy engineering.There are much quicker ways to get to fly than spending thousands of hours bucking rivets!
    regards
    Stovepipe
  • Loflying
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    by Loflying » Fri May 01, 2009 10:01 pm

    Thanks Stovepipe. You flatter me. Actually I am not at all sure that I know anything "perfectly well". In fact I feel very fallible, unlike so many here on this forum, judging by the tone they adopt :wink: .

    Personally, I have no intention of defending builder assistance programmes. They are very far from my own interests. As you rightly pointed out, they are anathema to the IAA (and SAAC too in my observation) and it seems unlikely that an aircraft built in this way would be accepted here. This is the key piece of information for Captain Slow, our original poster. It is clear that the FAA are also moving against these programmes so they may not be legal in the US for much longer.

    You have a point regarding the plug-and-play panels. I had not considered those - also very far from my own interests. As regards firewall forward assemblies, they are definitely not available for RVs (can't really speak for other types), unless you consider the engine an 'assembly'. What Vans and others supply is a FWF kit http://www.vansaircraft.com/cgi-bin/catalog.cgi?ident=1241125563-174-204&browse=engines&product=FF_Kit, with all the bits you need so that you don't forget anything and it can all be ordered together and will be compatible. The only labour the kit saves is cutting the hoses to the right length and putting on the end fittings. Vans also sell a wiring kit that comes close to being a loom but almost nobody gets away without having to alter it considerably. Unless you are on a builder assistance programme, by the time you have installed systems on a Vans plane you can't avoid having an intimate knowledge of every single small piece.

    I am interested in the other items you mention though. Is it your opinion that 'real' builders must stitch their own upholstery and paint their own planes to be considered to be "in the spirit of the 51% rule"? Can you offer a rationale for what is acceptable to buy in and what is not? I assume you don't go so far as to say that no two pieces of material can be joined together other than by the builder, so where and how do you draw the line?

    My core point is that even an RV builder who goes for every single time-saving option, is still going to spend way more time and carry out way more tasks than the combined efforts of the providers of those items. In fact, in every conceivable way, the builder of a completed RV has met the 51% rule and is entirely within the 'spirit' of the derrogation that we homebuilders enjoy. Furthermore, compared with the scratch/plans-builder, he has a far better chance of finishing out his project and getting some actual aviating done. Isn't that really the point at the end of the day?

    I nearly forgot the pre-built tanks, In fact I got myself a pair of those - based on the opinions and the strong urging of my SAAC Inspector - maybe that's why they are so popular!

    Regards

    Loflying
  • stovepipe
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    by stovepipe » Fri May 01, 2009 11:09 pm

    hi there
    In the truest spirit of homebuilding, a builder would endeavour to carry out as much as possible himself, such as painting his aircraft, following the notion of improving his engineering knowledge.For example, most builders prime their metal work as they go and get involved in painting by default and most will at least do that much, as it is a simple and cheap task. They usually devolve painting the whole airframe to people such as specialist car sprayers. They tend to go as far as their knowledge takes them and ask for help thereafter, if they can't figure out a process or are daunted by it. Certainly, older,plans-built aircraft practically demanded that a builder become familiar with many engineering techniques, as well as serve an apprenticeship in production planning, recycling, scrounging and a master in the art of pleading/begging time and money from their families.
    When I meant firewall-forward assemblies, I meant the entire power-egg, cowlings and all. You can buy plenty of experimental-category engines, props, varieties of cowlings,etc and pay aircraft techs to fit them, without turning a spanner yourself. Certainly, it speeds up the process compared to older days.
    regards
    Stovepipe
  • captain slow
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    by captain slow » Fri May 01, 2009 11:58 pm

    Hi guys i have been reading your posts with a lot of interest. Forgive me for saying this,and i have been told it before,but the advice seems to be that if you want to fly then buy a ready made aircraft of whatever flavour you want but if you want to be an engineer then build a plane.

    I am not an engineer or have any urge to become one but i would like to build MY own plane at some stage and with that the intimate knowledge that comes with having put together something yourself.

    Now i know that ye put your heart and souls into whatever projects you are working on but i have also been told that the 'smart people' buy the kitbuilt after someone else has built it. In fact i know of one who did this and the reason the builder was selling was that he was being divorced by the wife...the reason for the divorce.....all the hours spent building the thing that he then had to sell anyway!

    Now buying someone else's kitbuilt isn't my preferred option for the simple reason that i wasn't there when it was being built and so dont know it. I would like to build my own but not at the expense of my family or at the expense of years and years of a little bit here and there and finally i get the thing finished but im 60 and i could have spent the last 3 to 10 years flying.

    As for the builder assist programs i personally think its a great idea. I have spoken to a guy in the states who did the two week to taxi program at glasair and he said that the way it works is this. You start with the quik build kit. All your tools are there ready and waiting and jigs are set and aligned etc and when you need a certain tool its put right into your hand and if necessary you are shown how where and when to use it. You work long hours over the two weeks. Your helper who has intimate knowledge and lots of experince is there to guide you,stop you making mistakes so you dont have to go back and redo a particular assembly etc etc i could go on but you get the pic.

    To my mind its like having the SAAC/LAA supervising engineer permanently on site to guide you and help. Makes sense to my mind in every way. You still get the intimate knowledge of how your plane was built by doing it yourself but you didint spend years doing it and with less possibillity of having done something incorrectly.Is it possible you end up with a better plane this way?

    But having said all that if its not a runner here its a dead end street so i will just have to park that idea away. thats why i posted the question in the first place and i do thank you for your time and responses which have enlightened me.
  • OnTheNumbers
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    by OnTheNumbers » Sat May 02, 2009 10:42 am

    I've been through this thought process myself, Captain Slow. I had money saved to buy a kit, or at least part of the kit and I was really keen to build something like an RV with my own two hands, but then I started talking to people. Some said it was a great idea, some said don't do it, particularly if you are more interested in flying than building. In the I decide to take Stovepipe's sage advice (at least I think it was you Stovepipe)

    Buy, finish/restore, build.

    First aeroplane, buy either the 'plane or a share in one. Find out whether you want the work and responsibilities of owning your own. Choose a permit type - so you can get involve in the maintenance.

    Your second , either finish someone elses project or try getting one back in the air. Not quite the same amount effort as building one but definitely a hands-on technical project.

    If you find then that you like the building, then go for the a full build


    This is the route I have taken. I've just bought a vintage, permit aeroplane. I want to fly and owning and looking after my own will give me enough hands on work for now. Sure, it's not the 140knot whizz-plane that I would dream of but it's half the cost of an RV and I'm not going to be years building it.

    I'm happy to talk more if you want PM me.
    OnTheNumbers
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