EAA's Technical Counselors program, originally developed in 1965 as the Designee Program, is aimed at providing experienced builders to help you make the right choices during construction. With nearly 1,100 technical counselors available, and the majority of them associated with a chapter, there is probably a technical counselor right in your area!
What is a technical counselor?
A volunteer aviation education counselor who, when asked to do so by an amateur/custom aircraft builder, shares his knowledge, expertise and experience in order to assist the builder with the project.
What are the qualifications for a technical counselor?
First, one must be an EAA member. We have other qualifications, which are listed below. Renowned homebuilder Tony Bingelis put it well when he said, "Possibly one of the best qualifications for a technical counselor is his ability to listen." This is very true, but a counselor must also:
- Have built an amateur-built aircraft or ultralight, or
- Have restored an antique/classic aircraft, or
- Be an A&P, IA, DAR, DER or aerospace engineer (U.S. ratings, other countries equivalents of these ratings are also acceptable), with hands-on experience with any amateur-built aircraft, warbird, or vintage aircraft.
Why does EAA have a technical counselors program?
To ensure that a well-constructed, airworthy aircraft is presented to the FAA for final approval and to encourage the self-help nature of our organization as well as to pass on aviation knowledge to promote safety. We also strive to maintain the excellent reputation that the amateur-built program has earned. The Technical Counselor program has been a very effective way of doing this.
Who is the typical technical counselor?
The average age of a technical counselor is 57 years old, the oldest being 80 and youngest, 27. On the average, a technical counselor visits various aircraft approximately twelve to thirteen times per year, presents an occasional technical program in their local chapter, and on occasion, sends technical information to EAA Headquarters for possible publication. About 62% of the technical counselors are aircraft builders, having completed 1.9 aircraft each. About 70% have completely restored an aircraft and over 95% have either built an aircraft, completely restored an aircraft or hold A&P licenses.
How many technical counselors are A&P mechanics?
About 50% are A&P mechanics.
Does the technical counselor sign logbooks?
The technical counselor must not sign off any logbook or document indicating an official inspection or judgment of airworthiness. To do so may abridge the authority of the Federal Aviation Administration.
My FAA office wants my technical counselor to sign my builder’s logbook.
A technical counselor must not sign logbooks. If they are an A&P, IA, DAR, etc., they may sign logbooks in that capacity, but not in an official capacity as an EAA technical counselor. The Advisory Circular 20-27D is explicit in this regard; the builder signs their own log.
Can a technical counselor approve design changes?
It is not the policy of EAA and its technical counselors to design or redesign aircraft, components or parts thereof. This is outside the guidelines of the EAA Technical Counselors program. Any design changes or changes from the original drawings of the designer are outside the parameter of the program, and would be between the builder and the designer. A technical counselor should recommend good aeronautical construction practices.
I want to modify an aircraft. Can the technical counselor help?
No. Their function is to ensure compliance with the plans. Any modifications to plans must be by agreement between builder and designer only.
Can a technical counselor work on or test-fly an airplane that they visit?
If a technical counselor works on an aircraft that they visit or test fly the aircraft, either for free or for a fee, they are acting on their own behalf, and not in their capacity as an EAA technical counselor.
My skill is in a special area, can I be a technical counselor?
All technical counselors are expected to have a good grasp of basic aircraft mechanics. In addition, an individual may have expertise in a specific area over and above that which would be considered average for his qualifications. Passing on these special talents would be beneficial to builders working on that type of aircraft. These talents will be noted on technical counselor information sent out to builders.
Does a technical counselor charge for their services?
There shall be no fees charged for an EAA technical counselor’s educational help in assisting a builder by visiting his project. Any remuneration for travel or lodging between an EAA technical counselor and a builder desiring their recommendations is between the builder and the technical counselor.
Can a technical counselor combine their volunteer work as a technical counselor and their work for pay as an A&P?
No. The technical counselor is a non-paid volunteer, as described.
Are there any benefits to being an EAA technical counselor?
One of the benefits is receiving the technical counselor newsletter which is filled with technical tips and information and is issued six times per year. However, the main benefit is derived from the passing on of knowledge on aircraft building and safety practices so that others can complete an airworthy project.
Is the EAA technical counselor protected by insurance?
The EAA technical counselor is insured for any legal liability presented against them while operating only within the policies of EAA and its efforts to ensure safety in aviation.
What activities must an EAA technical counselor perform to maintain his active status?
Visit three aircraft per year, or provide three chapter programs per year, or send three articles, with or without photographs, to EAA Headquarters for consideration for publication per year, or any combination of three of the above. They may also work as a volunteer at AirVenture or other EAA regional fly-ins in a technical counselor capacity at the Homebuilders Corner, workshops, etc. They must document this activity every other year on a revalidation form, which is sent out to all technical counselors. This form must be returned to EAA Headquarters to maintain their status in the program.