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Jim Ragain

Experimental Category

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I have just started looking into taking my 2011 CTLS experimental, so that I can some day fly ifr in it. During my first conversation with the local DAR, he asked me which experimental category I would want to register it in.  To anyone who has done this before, which category should I specify?  Thanks.

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Thanks Ed.  This was a case of the blind leading the blind.  The DAR has obviously not done this before, and I did not understand what he was talking about.

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4 hours ago, Jim Ragain said:

I have just started looking into taking my 2011 CTLS experimental, so that I can some day fly ifr in it. During my first conversation with the local DAR, he asked me which experimental category I would want to register it in.  To anyone who has done this before, which category should I specify?  Thanks.

It is most definitely allowed, so long as the DAR lists it in the operating limitations.  I went though this about a year ago.  As for the operating category, you want "Experimental, Operating a Light Sport Aircraft".  Shoot me a PM if you need more information.  I can get you some information from my operating limitations (which when issued, become a part of the new airworthiness certificate).

Additionally, I would go to this site and go ahead and request the records for your aircraft (https://aircraft.faa.gov/e.gov/ND/). My DAR needed to see some stuff that were not in my records, including the paper work where the aircraft was originally "certified".

Overall, the process was pretty simple. , but I was using a DAR who had done this quite a few times.

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Yes, the ability to fly an E-LSA IFR, or at night, depends on the Operating Limitations given when the conversion is made. 

The relevant part of mine:

50249908966_8abda4c606_z.jpg

I know the structure is odd, but the end result is that night and IFR are allowed if properly equipped.

My Sky Arrow is equipped for night flight, but lacks at the very least an approved form of navigational capability - all I have is a Garmin 496 backed up with my iPhone or iPad running WingXPro. But granted that some LSA’s do have adequate equipment to operate IFR.

As an aside, Professor Shuch recently did an EAA webinar covering S-LSA to E-LSA conversions, coincidentally using my Sky Arrow as a test case. I’ll post a link below once I dig it up - you don’t need to be an EAA member to watch it.

Note: That reference to Phase 1 testing does not apply to a typical S-LSA to E-LSA conversion. It would only apply after a Major Modification to the aircraft.

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I received the attached set of operating limitations today from the local DAR who described them as "what my operating limitations would look like" after the conversion to ELSA.  I do not see the language that would allow IFR flight once the aircraft is properly equipped.  Would anyone who has done this conversion please review these and/or provide me with a copy of their new operating limitations?  Thanks.ELSA Airworthiness Limitations[1].docx

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Well, that’s a lot different than mine.

But, remember these are Limitations. By implication, anything not listed as a limitation would be allowed, consistent with FAR’s. 

A good person to ask would be Mike Huffman of Sport Aviation Specialties. He did my conversion and supplied my Operating Limitations and would be aware if there’s been a substantial change to the boilerplate Limitations since mine was done in 2009. 

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The boilerplate operating limitations can be found in Table D-1 of appendix D-1 FAA Order 8130.2J dated 2017.  You may want to review that appendix in it's entirety to see if there are entries you want.  It is different from the operating limitations approved for my ELSA some years ago.

This appendix aims to address many different types of aircraft, from a F-104 to a lawn chair with balloons.  Not all paragraphs are appropriate for an S-LSA to E-LSA conversion.

Note that if you want to change ELSA operating limitations once done, it must be done by your local FSDO.  It can't be done by a DAR.  In my experience, since I was not modifying the aircraft, I did not have to refly Phase one.

https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/FAA_Order_8130.2J.pdf

Note that the number in parenthesis in your document equates to the paragraph number in the referenced table.  Your 15 is copied from the FAA 27.

Why do you have 12?  I don't think you have any fatigue life recording systems.

15.  What Airplane Operating Instructions do they mean - Flight Design?  Can this be modified?  By whom?  Maybe you are OK with the FD AOI.

16.  You have no externally mounted equipment or pylons.  Why is this in there?  I'd ask about it if it were me.  Maybe it is no harm, but it seems unnecessary.  (Maybe someone wants you prevent you using your GoPro?)

FAA 50 seems to address IFR, but I am not an expert on this. 

I would be leery of using a new DAR for this  change if you want to fly  IFR.  You might want to contact Carol or Brian Carpenter of Rainbow Aviation.  They did my FD, but I did have to have it modified by the Des Moines FSDO later.  Also Bill Kyle of Charles City, IA has experience.  He did my glider.

Again, the operating limitations in the Table are new in 2017 and we old-timers have different verbiage.  And again, if your DAR messes up, the FSDO must correct it.  You'll want to do it right the first time. 

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Has anybody considered the devaluation of a FD-CT that was turned into an E-LSA?

Experimental can't be used in a flight school setting. That must limit the usefulness and the resale value. Shouldn't it?

I'm trying to figure the asking price of a 2005 CT-SW. Owner died and I volunteered to help the estate sell it. It was converted into E-LSA in 2017 because some mechanic wouldn't sign off an annual and insisted the Rotax engine needed an overhaul because it's over 5 years old (!)

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I converted my SW to ELSA and was the best thing I did. There is no downside to it at all as long as the proper maintenance is being done by a competent mechanic. I have been able to make it a much better aircraft with better avionics, engine and propeller changes. And one very significant aerodynamic change.

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In order for an owner of an SLSA to perform certain tasks, including signing off inspections, they must be either an AP or have successfully completed the 3 week course which cost $4K 13 years ago. These ratings allow you to work on/sign off inspections on any SLSA/ELSA aircraft. Even weight shift, powered parachutes, etc if you have the proper ad ons which drives the cost beyond $4K. I wanted to do all work/inspections on my SLSA and maybe some others, so I got my LSRM-A. I did one annual condition inspect for another owner who promptly wrecked his CT and tried to claim he ran off the back country runway into a pile of rocks because the brakes pulled him to the left and off the runway. Too many witnesses and a video showed his claim was bogus.

If you convert your plane to ELSA, then you only need a 2 day course which allows you to do maintenance, inspections, and modifications on your owned aircraft only. Why wouldn't this option increase the value of an ELSA? Especially and older CT that will probably not be going to a flight school? In my mind it certainly wouldn't decrease the value.

That's just my opinion but I'm sticking to it!😊

 

 

 

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People are very skeptical on ELSA aircraft depending on who does the maintenance. 

A 2 day course for someone who has no mechanical aptitude is an accident looking for a place to happen, I know some like that,  there are a lot of them out there. I know someone who was upset that the FAA would not give him authorization to do all the maintenance on his experimental category T28, he had zero experience doing anything on airplanes. Not even a 120 hr course will help these individuals. If you go ELSA only to do your own maintenance after a 2 day course it's probably not a good idea. I went ELSA to get away from the beurocracy involved with the manufacturer.

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I think an ELSA with good documented maintenance will have as much value as an SLSA, even more to the right customer.  If the airplane has many obvious "hacks" and one-line condition inspection log entries, then all bets are off. 

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I don’t see being a ELSA as being a big issue for a 2005 CTSW. It is not likely going to be used in a flight school anyway.

As for the LSRI course. It has nothing to do with being able to do maintenance or modifications, it only allows for inspection of the aircraft for the condition inspection. Anyone can do maintenance or modifications.

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11 hours ago, BugBuster (BB) said:

Just conversation, FD USA indicated going back to SLSA was a doable process. Anybody ever done that? 

I don't know of anybody who has done that.  I think it would be difficult, you have to convince the manufacturer and the DAR that the airplane conforms in all ways to a factory airplane. 

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You can go back to S-LSA, but you absolutely must keep thorough documentation. I have not met anyone personally, but I know people have talked about the process and been successful about it. Basically, the manufacturer has to attest (again) that it is, in its current state, compliant with acceptable standards (like the ASTM) before a DAR can sign the airworthiness certificate.

The caveat, though, is will it be under the same ASTM version the year it was built, or will it be required to be under the new ASTM rules, which could be an ugly issue if there's a major change?

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I can't imagine why anyone would want to go back to SLSA from ELSA. I'm sure the manufacturer would consider it a waste of time and I would guess they would make it expensive for you. I have never found any downside to going to ELSA, it wouldn't affect the value on a 10 or 15 year old plane unless the owner made bizarre permanent changes.

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Here is a recent big one for staying S-LSA:

 

You need a Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) to receive flight training in an experimental aircraft from a CFI.  Rent a certified plane to get your BFR?

 

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On 7/25/2021 at 3:45 PM, Madhatter said:

I converted my SW to ELSA and was the best thing I did. There is no downside to it at all as long as the proper maintenance is being done by a competent mechanic. I have been able to make it a much better aircraft with better avionics, engine and propeller changes. And one very significant aerodynamic change.

Care to share?  I know our planes have a greater gross weight in their homeland, but are reduced to come in under the LSA rules.  I imagine that would stay the same as it is under the experimental LSA category.  
 

1.  Any way to take it to the experimental category without any LSA limitations?
2.  What mods?  I can imagine a constant speed prop, fuel injection, maybe a big bore kit, reflex the flaps to -12, raise the redline and the arbitrary 120 knot limit for starters.  Could make a heck of a capable plane, say 140 knot cruiser?  
 

Just some thoughts.

 

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