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Major Portion Evaluation 51 Percent

By Ian Brown, Editor – Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159

Amateur-built aircraft in Canada must consist of a “major portion” built by the amateur or someone under his/her direction. Obviously certain components could never be constructed by an amateur, but the spirit of the rule is to ensure that “amateur-built” isn’t being used as a means to sidestep certified aircraft regulations. We are fortunate this month to have a nice summary of the regulations by General Manager Al Mahon, Minister’s Delegate – Recreational Aviation (MD-RA). One major difference between Canadian and U.S. regulations is that Canadians have the possibility of having unlimited “professional assistance” in constructing their aircraft.

The following is an explanation of Major Portion / 51 percent requirements for Canada.

There are three areas where a Major Portion evaluation (51 percent) is required:a) when a commercial kit manufacturer seeks Major Portion criteria approval so as to be listed on our Canadian list of kits eligible in Canadab) when a manufacturer’s kit isn’t listed on the Transport Canada or FAA list of eligible Major Portion kitsc) when commercially manufactured components or components of a previously certified aircraft are to be used in the assembly and construction of an amateur-built aircraft.

Many new amateur-built kits are making their way into Canada from all corners of the world. Canadian distributors of amateur-built kits are requesting Major Portion evaluation on their product that will apply exclusively to sales to Canadians. A total of 12 aircraft are presently on the list with more in the evaluation process. Transport Canada will release the official list in 2012, but it’s available from the MD-RA office.

From time to time, we encounter a kit that isn’t found on the FAA or Transport Canada list of meeting Major Portion eligibility. When this situation is encountered, a Major Portion / 51 percent evaluation is required.

A popular construction method in Canada is the incorporation of premanufactured aircraft assemblies and/or commercially built parts into the aircraft build. Staff Instruction (SI) 549-001 (IP 549-001 French) was introduced by Transport Canada in October of 2008 to clearly define the limits of a builder regarding this process.

The practice of simply rebuilding or repairing a once certified aircraft so as to qualify it as an amateur-built was eliminated by this SI. The document clearly explains the latitudes a builder has in this circumstance.

The SI defines the limits and requirements of using once certified aircraft components, stressing that the builder must complete 50 percent or more of the aircraft using newly fabricated and assembled materials. Once that threshold is reached, the precertified or commercially manufactured materials may be used, but there’s no credit given for fabrication or assembly of these materials in the calculation of builder input.

Professional assistance in the construction of an amateur-built is unique to Canadian builders. Professional assistance requires the builder to be in control of all aspects of the construction and be present at all inspections required by the Minister.

In Canada the maximum level of professional assistance permitted isn’t limited or defined by the 51 percent evaluation, as it is under FAA rules.
Taking into account this difference in rules, note that FAA may question the use of professional assistance on a Canadian amateur-built on export to the United States, when applying for U.S. Special Certificate of Airworthiness, Experimental, Amateur-Built.

Allan Mahon
MD-RA Inspection Service d’inspection
Website: www.MD-RA.com


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