Experimental LSA Certificate

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Includes: Highlander, Escapade, Summit and SuperSTOL.

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Experimental LSA Certificate

Postby Lynng » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:51 pm

I was speaking with one of our builders out there today and realized that we have some information gaps regarding the certification of LSA's.  I have been doing some research and would like to share what I have discovered.  First, I know of NO kit manufacturer that has completed the compliance procedure for certifing a kit aircraft to meet the E-LSA cerificate requirement.  Not even Rans the largest manufacturer of kits is meeting this catagory nor do they have plans to  Second,  the Light Sport Aircraft catagory is just that, a catagory of aircraft.  Any aircraft meeting this catagory can be flown by a pilot with a Sport Pilot licsence or greater.  To meet the LSA catagory the aircraft must have a max gross weight of 1320 lbs or less for LAND and 1420 or less for SEA.  Have a single engine power plant that must be reciprocating.  Fixed gear for land with exemption for sea. Fixed or ground adjustable prop. 2 seats or less.  The rule says nothing about normal asperation so turbo is OK.  Now, if you build any Just Aircraft or experimental aircraft that meets this catagory you will certify your aircraft Experimental AB and as long as you do not change the design, you will be flying an aircraft that meets the Light Sport Aircraft Catagory.  If this is still unclear please follow up with me so I can explain it more thoroughly.
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Postby b1x4nqb » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:28 pm


As I understand it your aircraft is S-LSA, correct?  Scuba, how did you register yours?  I thought you were going E-LSA?  Stede, if I heard you correct you already registered yours ELSA?  When you go to have the DAR, will he/she pass it as an E-LSA or tell you , you have to go Ex/Ab ?  Will the FAA allow you to re-register it as Ex/Ab if you already registered it E-LSA?  It may be confusing because some are originally going S-LSA on this list and mixing it with E-LSA??

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Postby stede52 » Tue Feb 19, 2008 12:46 am

yes, mine is registered as an E-LSA and was done prior to the deadline. I also have a letter in hand from the EAA/FAA which gives me until 2010 to complete my E-LSA airworthiness certification. With that letter in hand the DAR will pass my Highlander as a E-LSA. I don't know anything about changing registrations, thats a question for the FAA. As I understand only a factory built plane can be registered as a S-LSA, if an individual is building a plane from a kit that individual can only registered it as an E-LSA or Ex/Ab. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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Postby Tazz » Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:59 am

I would like to add a few comments. The original posting by "lynng" is (I believe) mostly correct. I would take some exception to the comment on "not changing the design". If the kit is being registared as an ExAB you may make changes to the design as you see fit. If you are building it as a ExAB and want to fly it as a LSA you can still make changes to the desing as long as you do change its performance characteristics where it would not meet the LSA regulations (ie, stall speed, max speed, inflight adjustable propeller etc. etc.). Or if you do change the design where it no longer meets the LSA regulations you still have a ExAB certification, but will now need a regular pilots license (private or highter) to fly it, not the sport pilot license for the LSA catagory.

A certificable ELSA kit allows for NO changes to the factory kit during construction. The kit must be built "to the letter" as outlined in the factory assembly instructions.

If you have had a kit and registared it as ELSA prior to January 31 to take advantage of the ultralight conversion loop hole it should be good as a ELSA. If you have not registared a kit yet the only option is the ExAB. I feel Just has been misleading in this area. I asked twice before purchasing my kit if it was ELSA compliant and was told "yes" it was. Now I find Just has not completed the documentation required by the FAA needed to certify kits as ELSA. Troy said they are "looking into" this. The only option available at this point for an unregistared kit is the ExAB one.
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Postby Tazz » Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:07 am

Error in my last posting. In the fourth line down it should read:

.."changes to the design as long as you do NOT change its performance characteristics where it would not meet the LSA"..

Sorry about that...............shouldn't try typing until I have had my morning coffee.
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Postby scubarider2 » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:22 pm

I registered and got my DAR to agree to ELSA.  The ONLY way I got this was to get it done before the fat ultralight conversion.  JA has NOT done the necessary paperwork to have their kits ELSA.   Now I hear ALL AB kits are being suspended until further notice.  See the EAA statement, due to the debate over the 51% rule.  This is really going to mess some people up!  The ONLY way you are going to get the Escapade/Highlander as an ELSA is to have already registered it as such and awaiting DAR.  If you have not done that then you are out of luck.  You will not get it done unless JA comes through with the appropriate paperwork.  Now you are going to have a time getting it done EAB.  Sorry guys....   :cry:  :x
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Postby rgmullins » Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:45 pm

All the FAA has stopped doing is acting on requests by manufacturers to certify their kits are 51%. This was always optional. All that would do is eliminate a possible burden on a purchaser if a DAR questioned the 51% build. If you have the pictures and build logs you shouldn't have any problems with these kits. They are after the companies that offered "factory help" and could offer a completed airplane in a few weeks.
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Postby billy5823 » Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:38 pm

ok, so what is the proper steps from kit purchase to flying?  thanks billy
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Postby alan » Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:33 pm


This is what I did:

While building the kit I acquired the Homebuilt Certification Package (it might have a slightly different name) from EAA. It's about $20. The package has all the forms necessary to certify your project as an Amatuer Built Aircraft. The EAA package makes the process quite easy and also includes a sheet of stick on labels for your panel, a Stainless Steel data plate (required), and the EXPERIMENTAL sticker for the passenger entrance.

Tryed to pick an appropriate N number but couldn't find one that wasn't being used.

This is a link to see if any number is being used:


Applied for a random number (or the number of your choice).

When less than six months from completion, filled in the rest of the paperwork and sent it off. I waited until I had the assigned N number for the rest of the forms.

Called a Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR) as the FAA takes forever. The FAA inspection is free but the DAR charges for it; I paid $350 but each is free to charge whatever he wants.

I would highly recommend you join a local EAA chapter and invite the members to come by frequently to inspect your work. These free inspections will make the official one painless.

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