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Hands, Mind, and Heart

What started as a handful of passionate enthusiasts has developed into a major force—and a significant component—of the aircraft industry.

Non-Builder Maintenance

I am going to buy a used homebuilt, what work can I perform myself?
FAR Part 43 specifically states that the rules of that part do not apply to experimental, amateur-built aircraft. Therefore, any work (not just maintenance) on an experimental aircraft can be performed virtually by anyone regardless of credentials. (This does not apply to the condition inspection). Let common sense be your guide as to what maintenance you conduct yourself.

What is a Condition Inspection?
A condition inspection is the equivalent of an "annual" for a type certificated aircraft. Although FAR Part 91.409(c)(1) specifically states that experimental aircraft do not require annual inspections, the operating limitations on your homebuilt will include the following (or something similar):

No person shall operate this aircraft unless within the preceding 12 calendar months it has had a condition inspection performed in accordance with the scope and detail of appendix D to part 43, or other FAA-approved programs, and found to be in a condition for safe operation. This inspection will be recorded in the aircraft maintenance records. Condition inspections shall be recorded in the aircraft maintenance records showing the following or a similarly worded statement: "I certify that this aircraft has been inspected on (insert date) in accordance with the scope and detail of appendix D to part 43 and found to be in a condition for safe operation." The entry will include the aircraft total time in service, and the name, signature, certificate number, and type of certificate held by the
person performing the inspection.

Since I don't have a Repairman Certificate, who must perform the Condition Inspection?

The inspection can be performed by any licensed A&P mechanic, an FAA Approved Repair Station, or by the original builder of the airplane provided the builder has a "Repairman Certificate" for that aircraft from the FAA. Note that unlike an annual for a type certificated aircraft, the A&P mechanic does NOT have to have his/her "Inspection Authorization". Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can include as part of the purchase that the builder will continue to perform the condition inspections.

I am having trouble finding an A&P to perform my Condition Inspection, any ideas where to find one?

The best place to find a local A&P willing to work on homebuilt aircraft is through your local EAA chapter. Many EAA chapters have A&Ps who are chapter members and will help you out. Usually, the Technical Counselor is the best person to ask. If that doesn’t work, see if someone else in the chapter owns a homebuilt he did not build and find out who he is getting to perform his condition inspection. 

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