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DJ Todd B

SLSA or ELSA

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I have been thinking about converting my CTLS from SLSA to ELSA... Has anyone done it and what are the "hidden" Pros and Cons.  I know I would be able to do the Maintenance myself after the 16 Hr course and "legally" add REAL Safety Belt RESTRAINTS, but what else am I overlooking, both Pros and Cons?

Resale?

Insurance?

 

 

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Todd,

I looked into doing this and didn't find any real downsides. I think at this point in your airplanes life the resale would be similar and I found the insurance the same. Don't forget you could not only do the maintenance but the inspections too, with the 16hr course.

That being said I did not proceed as I am an LSRM and was considered it only for modifications. Also I'm in an RV12 but that shouldn't change your experience.

The Scottsdale FSDO can facilitate the change.

Lee

 

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I did it on my 2007 CTSW and have zero regrets.  I took the 16hr LSRI (Light Sport Repairman - Inspection) course and now I do 100% of my own maintenance.  I saved about $2500 within six months by doing my own condition inspection and Rotax hose replacement.  I just finished my second condition inspection done entirely by me.  Next year I will have to replace my BRS rocket and do a repack, and I will remove and reinstall the system myself, saving another several hundred dollars.  I'm also doing an avionics upgrade (replacing 496 with iFly 740b and adding uAvionix ADS-B) in the near future and will be doing that work myself as well.

I keep trying to find a downside, and I can't.  Some people say that you'll take a hit on resale value, but the two DARs I have spoken to have said that is not the case.  You might have a slightly smaller pool of purchase candidates, because there is a certain group of buyers that don't want anything that says EXPERIMENTAL on it.  However, I am now 100% convinced that any future decrease in resale is more than offset by savings on maintenance costs *right now*.  I have already saved a total of over $3500 (hose change, two annuals, pulled the wings & replaced sight tubes, and misc work) in just a year and a half.

Another advantage if you do most of your own maintenance, is that you will learn your airplane intimately.  That is very valuable for understanding when something is not right and figuring out what to do about it.  Getting out of the MRA/LOA factory authorization regime for changes you want to make is another big one.  No more asking permission if you want to make a change, you can just do it.

Finally, your category becomes  experimental and not light sport, so depending on the DAR you can get some better operating limitations.  My DAR wrote my limitations to allow IFR flight (yes, even in IMC) if the airplane is properly equipped per the FARs.  I'd have to add some equipment like a certified GPS, heated pitot and such, but then it would be legal.  I'm a Sport Pilot so that doesn't help me much, but if you are an instrument-rated Private Pilot that is another advantage.

I really can't recommend it highly enough, IF you are comfortable with doing work yourself and confident in your abilities.  There are probably some tasks you would not want to tackle (heavy engine work for example), and you are of course always free to hire an A&P or LSRM to do anything you're not comfortable with.

 

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It is worth noting that if you switch to ELSA you can do all your own maintenance without doing the 16 hour course. The 16 hour course is only for doing the condition inspection.

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20 minutes ago, Tom Baker said:

It is worth noting that if you switch to ELSA you can do all your own maintenance without doing the 16 hour course. The 16 hour course is only for doing the condition inspection.

Correct, I should have mentioned that.  Anybody can do any work on an experimental except for the condition inspection.  

BTW, my insurance didn't change at all when I switched.  Same limits, same coverage, same price.  That is through AIG.

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Here's my view on SLSA vs ELSA.

It doesn't matter except for this.

During the year anybody can do anything to that plane. I have no issues with that. Come annual time and I have to sign it off  and then have take responsibility for all that work during the year. When I sign it off then I'm saying all is good and that it meets safety parameters and has had good maint. practices per the aircraft and engine MFG. If you Trunk Monkeyed something then I won't sign it off or even do the annual unless it goes back to the proper spec because i'm not going to take ownership of some shoddy work. Once I sign off junk work and you go hurt yourself or someone else then your family or you will take me to court and the lawyer will state that I have the training and the knowledge to know better and I should not have let it pass regardless of what the owner did or wanted. I had a 2003 CT2K at my filed that I refused to annual. It had more screwed up things done to it than any 100 CT's. It came from Florida 4 years ago and never flew again.

This standard was the same one when I was in the medical field and went to court. They said the medical personnel had more training and schooling and knew better than the patient and should not have allowed them to walk away just to die or become disabled because they didn't make a good decision.  Medical personnel lost every time.

ELSA is no excuse to be sub standard in your decisions and practices. From the ones I see ignorance (lack of knowledge from both owners and mechanics) causes way to many poor decisions and poor maint.

 

You can'rt pull to the curb so if you penny pinch your flying budget then maybe another sport would be more advisable.

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Roger, it is certainly your choice to work on or perform an inspection on any airplane.

Anybody can do anything to any airplane. the difference is they can legally do it to an experimental. 

You are incorrect in stating that ELSA maintenance be performed in accordance with manufacture instructions. Nothing has to be returned to original. When you sign off a condition inspection you are only signing that you have inspected the items required by CFR part 43 appendix D, and that the airplane is in a condition for safe operation. If something is unsafe, fix it or don't sign it off.

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Hi Tom,

Where's this sentence in my post?

"You are incorrect in stating that ELSA maintenance be performed in accordance with manufacture instructions."

I didn't say this. These are my personal boundaries so I have some defense in court.  I meant I won't work on it or sign it off if it hasn't been kept up. Has nothing to do about being legal it has to do with being on the hook signing it off saying it's okay with me.

"fix it or don't sign it off"...............................Exactly

 

and

"Nothing has to be returned to original".....

Not if it's already an ELSA, but an SLSA does if it wants to go to ELSA.

The 2003 CT2K could not be taken to ELSA because it first has to be a legal SLSA with a current annual. This aircraft was so customized (better word than I really wanted to use) that it could never been taken to ELSA until it was retruned to its SLSA status with a current annual.

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Roger is correct, he is hanging himself way out on S LSA or E LSA. Roger and I have recently discussed this a lot. I know people who have been sued that had NOTHING to do with the aircraft. The plaintif didn't win but my friend had to pay a lot for litigation. Be happy that Roger is doing the maintenance he does, because good maintenance is hard to come by. Most mechanics don't do the kind of work Roger does.

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Roger, quoting snippets from my tablet doesn't work well for me. If you meant that it needs to go back satisfy you that is fine. I took it that you meant a ELSA had to go back to be signed off. 

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1 hour ago, Madhatter said:

Roger is correct, he is hanging himself way out on S LSA or E LSA. Roger and I have recently discussed this a lot. I know people who have been sued that had NOTHING to do with the aircraft. The plaintif didn't win but my friend had to pay a lot for litigation. Be happy that Roger is doing the maintenance he does, because good maintenance is hard to come by. Most mechanics don't do the kind of work Roger does.

In my opinion nobody wins in litigation, except the lawyers. I also know people who have been sued in this business. 

I have been working as an aircraft mechanic for the past 35 years, and fortunately have not had any issues. I do the best job I can, and try to treat my customers as fairly as possible. 

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Roger is right about quality of work, just because your airplane is ELSA, that is no excuse for shoddy work.  Whenever I want to do something to my airplane, I consult multiple sources to get best practices.  If it's something more complicated like pulling the wings, I usually have a detailed communication with Roger or one of the other experts and get a step-by-step description of how to do it.

I just finished my annual, and it ran over three pages in the logbook of 8pt font, plus supplemental info in my aircraft notes folder that includes the CTSW checklist and other info from FD.

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21 hours ago, Tom Baker said:

In my opinion nobody wins in litigation, except the lawyers. I also know people who have been sued in this business. 

I have been working as an aircraft mechanic for the past 35 years, and fortunately have not had any issues. I do the best job I can, and try to treat my customers as fairly as possible. 

 

And know when to say no.

Usually you can tell the difference between people who ALSO want to be fair with you. Don't get tangled up with someone who's throwing red flags everywhere. Not worth it at all.

Always communicate the issues that you need to fix. Don't just start fixing things and racking up a bill. Nobody likes seeing a big bill dropped on them, but are usually more amenable when they are talked to first about it.

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I do not sign off any annuals other than the ones I own, I have too much to lose. The senior FAA officials in my FISDO agree with me on this issue. I am starting on a full avionics installation on a friends aircraft tomorrow, I have no problem with that. However when you sign off an annual or condition inspection you are certifying that the aircraft is airworthy from the time it left the factory. A lot of mechanics don't believe this but all they have to do is ask the FAA. This statement came from the man who actually writes the FAR's in Washington DC. The owner of an accident plane may be a good ethical individual, however it's the relatives who are going to sue. I have personally seen this happen several times. So keep a good relationship with a good mechanic and don't try to hide anything or you may find youself without a good mechanic and will have to resort to what's left and there's a lot of them.

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1 hour ago, Anticept said:

 

And know when to say no.

Usually you can tell the difference between people who ALSO want to be fair with you. Don't get tangled up with someone who's throwing red flags everywhere. Not worth it at all.

Always communicate the issues that you need to fix. Don't just start fixing things and racking up a bill. Nobody likes seeing a big bill dropped on them, but are usually more amenable when they are talked to first about it.

If something extra comes up I always contact the owner before moving forward.

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43 minutes ago, Madhatter said:

I do not sign off any annuals other than the ones I own, I have too much to lose. The senior FAA officials in my FISDO agree with me on this issue. I am starting on a full avionics installation on a friends aircraft tomorrow, I have no problem with that. However when you sign off an annual or condition inspection you are certifying that the aircraft is airworthy from the time it left the factory. A lot of mechanics don't believe this but all they have to do is ask the FAA. This statement came from the man who actually writes the FAR's in Washington DC. The owner of an accident plane may be a good ethical individual, however it's the relatives who are going to sue. I have personally seen this happen several times. So keep a good relationship with a good mechanic and don't try to hide anything or you may find youself without a good mechanic and will have to resort to what's left and there's a lot of them.

I have been running my own FBO since 1996. I am a one man operation doing both maintenance and flight training. I have been working on SLSA since 2007. I strive to be a good mechanic, and hope my customers see me as such.

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