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  #1  
Old 04-11-2012, 10:30 PM
Walt's Avatar
Walt Walt is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Dallas/Ft Worth, TX
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Default Frequently Asked Questions - VFR/IFR Certification

Today I did a transponder check for an RV owner that had been flying without the required checks, he was under the impression that as the builder he was allowed to "certify" his own VFR/IFR tests. This is not the first time this has come up so I thought I would post this info as a "refresher". I copied this from my FAQ page on my site so it's there for your reference anytime you need it. Glad to answer any questions as well.

What are the rules for Experimental aircraft on Transponder, Altimeter, Altitude Encoder and Static System checks?
Experimental aircraft must comply with ATC transponder, automatic altitude reporting and altimeter/static system installation and certifications per 14 CFR 91.215, 91.217 and 91.413 (43-F), you must also comply with 91.411 (43-E) if you fly IFR.

I thought part 43 was not applicable to Experimental Aircraft?
Your aircraft Ops Spec requires that the aircraft be operated in accordance with Part 91 as applicable. Part 91 then directs you to Part 43 Appendix E & F for the testing requirements. So in this case, Part 43 does apply to experimental aircaft.

What inspections are required for VFR operations?
The aircraft transponder must be certified every 24 months in accordance with the requirements of CFR. 91.413. Transponder testing is accomplished in accordance with Part 43 Appendix F.

Note: For new certifications or if the encoder or altimeter has been replaced, a Data Correspondence Check must be accomplished to ensure the altitude data transmitted to ATC corresponds to within 125 feet of the altimeter normally used to maintain flight altitude per CFR 91.217.

What inspections are required for IFR operations?
In addition to the 24 month transponder certification above, the altimeter, altitude encoder and static system must be inspected and certified every 24 months in accordance with CFR 91.411. CFR. 43, Appendix E. details the test requirements.

Who can perform these inspections?
With a few exceptions, only a FAA Certified Repair Stations (CRS) with the appropriate ratings may perform the inspections required by FAR 91.411 and 91.413.

Can a builder with a repairman certificate for the aircraft he built perform his own altimeter, static or transponder certifications?
No. Although the CFR's do authorize the "manufacturer" of the aircraft to conduct the tests, the builder of an amateur-built aircraft does not meet the FAA's definition of a "manufacturer" In addition, specialized test equipment certified to NIST standards is required to perform these tests and certifications.

If I remove my transponder and re-install it do I have to repeat the 91.413 test? How about if I replace the transponder with a newer model or a repaired (yellow tagged) unit, do I have to repeat the 91.413 tests?
Removal and replacement of transponder units, subsequent to testing a system in accordance with ? 91.413, will not invalidate the test results. A repaired or replacement transponder may be installed without repeating ? 91.413 testing; however, a manufacturer?s minimum performance test will be performed before return to service. Any time the aircraft connections to a transponder have been removed and reconnected, each altitude reporting code line (in the case of the newer aircraft, the digital data bus) must be tested for integrity of connection. Integrity of connection for systems using a digital data bus to convey altitude information to a transponder may be verified by successful reporting of a single altitude. Integrity of connection for systems using Gillham code connections may be verified by performing an abbreviated correspondence test at the test points of Appendix 1, Table 1 using the installed automatic pressure altitude encoding device or through the use of an encoder substation test unit capable of simulation of the Appendix 1, Table 1 altitudes.
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Walt Aronow, DFW, TX (52F)

EXP Aircraft Services LLC
Specializing in RV Condition Inspections, Maintenance, Avionics Upgrades
Dynamic Prop Balancing, Pitot-Static Altmeter/Transponder Certification
FAA Certified Repair Station, AP/IA/FCC GROL, EAA Technical Counselor
Authorized Garmin G3X Dealer/Installer
RV7A built 2004, 2000+ hrs, New Titan IO-370, Bendix Mags
Website: ExpAircraft.com, Email: walt@expaircraft.com, Cell: 972-746-5154
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  #2  
Old 04-12-2012, 08:39 AM
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airguy airguy is offline
 
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Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 5,590
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post
Can a builder with a repairman certificate for the aircraft he built perform his own altimeter, static or transponder certifications?
No. Although the CFR's do authorize the "manufacturer" of the aircraft to conduct the tests, the builder of an amateur-built aircraft does not meet the FAA's definition of a "manufacturer" In addition, specialized test equipment certified to NIST standards is required to perform these tests and certifications.
Walt - I don't really mean to argue the point, since (almost) none of us would have the NIST-traceable equipment to do the test anyway - but I would point out that the FAA recognizes us as "manufacturer" for all other aspects, including the dataplate on the aircraft. A good case could be made there. If the Gummint-Issued dataplate says I'm the manufacturer, then I'm the manufacturer.

Yeah, yeah - I know. Just pointing out inconsistencies in the system...
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Garden City, TX VAF 2021 dues paid
N16GN flying 900 hrs and counting; IO360, SDS, WWRV200, Dynon HDX, IFD440, G5
Built an off-plan RV9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.
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  #3  
Old 04-12-2012, 09:04 AM
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Walt Walt is offline
 
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FAA Definitions (I think these make it pretty clear):

Manufacturer. A person who causes a product or part thereof to be produced. See Production Approval Holder (PAH). For FAA purposes, ?manufacturer? and ?PAH? are used interchangeably. A manufacturer is a PAH.

Production Approval Holder. A holder of a production certificate (PC), an approved production inspection system (APIS), a parts manufacturer approval (PMA), or a technical standard order (TSO) authorization who controls the design and quality of a product or part thereof.
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Walt Aronow, DFW, TX (52F)

EXP Aircraft Services LLC
Specializing in RV Condition Inspections, Maintenance, Avionics Upgrades
Dynamic Prop Balancing, Pitot-Static Altmeter/Transponder Certification
FAA Certified Repair Station, AP/IA/FCC GROL, EAA Technical Counselor
Authorized Garmin G3X Dealer/Installer
RV7A built 2004, 2000+ hrs, New Titan IO-370, Bendix Mags
Website: ExpAircraft.com, Email: walt@expaircraft.com, Cell: 972-746-5154
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  #4  
Old 04-12-2012, 09:15 AM
dfechter dfechter is offline
 
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Location: Rochester, MN
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If no avionics shop is at the airport, or within the fly area for phase I testing, what is a builder to do?:
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  #5  
Old 04-12-2012, 09:55 AM
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Auburntsts Auburntsts is offline
 
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Location: Tampa, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfechter View Post
If no avionics shop is at the airport, or within the fly area for phase I testing, what is a builder to do?:
I would think that you'd complete your Phase I (a certfied pitot/static system and transponder are not required for that as you're restricted to day VFR ops), stay out of airspace that requires a transponder, then plan a trip to the nearest shop that can perform the tests and complete the certifications. You'll then be able to operate in all airspace categories, and fly night VFR and/or IFR assuming that 91.205 requirements are met, as applicable.
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Last edited by Auburntsts : 04-12-2012 at 10:00 AM.
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  #6  
Old 04-12-2012, 10:07 AM
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Vlad Vlad is offline
 
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Good subject Walt thanks for bringing it up. I've had a discussion with a builder recently and we argued about that. Now I am armed with facts
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  #7  
Old 04-12-2012, 10:13 AM
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RV6_flyer RV6_flyer is offline
 
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Default 91.207(d) also needed

One item that the repairman / A&P of a two seat EXPERIMENTAL must also do every 12-months is inspect and test the ELT in accordance with 91.207(d). Since all inspections and maintenance must be recorded in the maintenance records according to the Operating Limitations, it also must be recorded.

This is a very common issue found on Amateur Built Aircraft. Yes you must test the G-Switch. You do not need to BANG the ELT on anything. Just swing in in the proper direction and stop quickly.
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To most people, the sky is the limit.
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  #8  
Old 04-12-2012, 10:17 AM
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Tim Fitzpatrick Tim Fitzpatrick is offline
 
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Default What if?

Walt,

The company I use to work for has all the equipment for testing the IFR aircraft that they maintain for Part 135 operations. The avionics guy brings out this certified equipment and we both do the required tests as outlined in Part 43 and the Dynon Skyview installation manual. Am I not legal? Thanks for your time
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ATP-H, C MEL/SEL, CFII Helo/SEL, ATC Spec, D-6779
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  #9  
Old 04-12-2012, 10:43 AM
SteinAir SteinAir is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Minneapolis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Fitzpatrick View Post
Walt,

The company I use to work for has all the equipment for testing the IFR aircraft that they maintain for Part 135 operations. The avionics guy brings out this certified equipment and we both do the required tests as outlined in Part 43 and the Dynon Skyview installation manual. Am I not legal? Thanks for your time
While Walt is certainly on point, this is one of the specific gray areas that in my experience over the years does indeed vary from region to region. If you do this for enough years you'll eventually see so many various interpretations from different individuals (some of them are dumber than a bag of hair) of the regs that you'll find there is rarely an absolute answer. I've actually seen a letter from an FAA ASI to a customer that told him if he had the appropriate certified equipment he could do the test. In this specific case he used the "mfgr" as stated on the data plate as his justification. I offered to rent my equipment to the customer for the same price as we charge for a pitot/static/txpdr check!

Anyway, I'm not saying either way is right or is wrong but rather this is like many things with the FAA - it's rarely an absolute and instead is open to interpretation. Heck, there is still people arguing about AD's on experimentals!

Cheers,
Stein
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  #10  
Old 04-12-2012, 02:01 PM
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deej deej is offline
 
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Location: Brunswick, ME
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Dfechter: There is no requirement for using your transponder unless you are within airspace requiring it, such as Class B or C. If you are at a smaller airport, just leave the transponder off, and fly to the place to get the check done (presuming it is also at a smaller airport). Once it has passed the test, then you can freely turn it on and use it.

If you are in airspace that requires it, you might be able to contact them to get a waiver to fly it out for the check, or some technicians will come to your plane to do the check.
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