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Homebuilt / ultralight / permit (non ICAO CofA) and IFR - how?

To file a difference you would have to be an ICAO signatory, EASA is not!

Out of interest, how many differences are there between ICAO and what EASA has mandated… If each NAA has to file a difference doesn’t that lead to excessive workloads and delays in getting things through?

To be honest I am surprised that we don’t have a sub-ICAO IFR category like the US. Given the attitude sometimes that is displayed that if they can do it, then we can do it…

I am interested in this subject in two ways:

One is how could IFR in non-CofA aircraft be implemented. Evidently it can be done, in some classes of Norwegian and possibly Swedish registered aircraft. Whether they are able to fly IFR (or fly at all, without a permit for each flight or for a period of time) outside of their own countries is another matter.

The other is whether it can be done in the Lancair Evolution. If that was possible, it would revolutionise things. This aircraft is claimed to have been designed to Part 23 but it is extremely unlikely that anybody will spend the money getting it certified.

Last Edited by Peter at 23 Apr 06:25
Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

As I understand it the LAA have and continue to invest a lot of time and effort into getting IFR for permit a/c. Why would they do that if there was no mechanism for its subsequent use?

Forever learning
EGTB

I agree, but what keeps happening in this business is that GA rep X meets with Y (where Y is a new broom at the CAA) and Y spins a good yarn. And a year later it’s business as usual, with no changes.

The list of topics on which progress was “near” (and posted all over the forums) is as long as your arm. In most cases it is longer than how long any Y lasted in the job, so you have to start again.

That’s why I am trying to understand how changes could be brought in. There are obvious technical issues which “must” disquality a lot of LAA types from flight in IMC, for example. If these technical issues cannot be solved, then politics alone (which must play a huge part in the subject here) won’t achieve much.

Last Edited by Peter at 23 Apr 07:22
Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

There are obvious technical issues which “must” disquality a lot of LAA types from flight in IMC, for example.

All experimentals are supervised to some degree during the build process and initial flight testing. A competent person signs off on the airplane and that person is able to say whether the experimental is suitable for aerobatics or IFR.

All it would require is a change in the AIP to allow experimentals to be operated under IFR. Most European countries allow entry of ECAC experimentals but limit it to VFR day operations. Non ECAC experimentals usually need a specific overfly/entry permission for each flight but that does not appear to be actively enforced throughout Europe.

The liberal system in the US has lead to Vans becoming the largest manufacturer of GA aircraft. A similar effect could be achieved here. I’d be the first to switch to an experimental if it allowed me to fly IFR

RVs are all-metal though, aren’t they? No problem there – just got to sort out the avionics requirements.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

RVs are all-metal though, aren’t they? No problem there – just got to sort out the avionics requirements.

Yes but that is just one aspect of build quality and type. Not all experimentals are suitable for inverted flight, a competent person has to determine if the lubrication suitable is suitable. There is no reason why it would be exceptionally difficult to create an experimental that is safe for IFR. I have never heard of a high accident rate with experimentals under IFR in the US.

Quite often when I see some details about a certified aircraft, I get the strong feeling of being more competent myself

With just a permit to fly, I don’t see how you ever would be allowed to fly outside your own country. Experimentals are annex II. EASA will not now and not ever touch annex II. They are not part of EASA regulations.

Ultralights have the same problem, but since they are, well ultra light, VFR day only etc, and those basics are the same all over Europe, you are allowed to cross borders. You have to file an application for every country though.

There is nothing preventing permit to fly to also include IFR – in theory, but then you would need a set of new regulations all over to be able to cross borders, and lots of problems to even get the equipment approved.

Experimentals have to have a c of a. Then the whole problem becomes a no issue. American homebuilts registered as experimentals do indeed have Special C of A. They are not Permit to Fly – aircraft. Every single individual has its own C of A with restrictions imposed by the FAA.

It is important to understand the difference between experimental class aircraft and certified class aircraft. Certified aircraft receives C of A based on certification, ex class aircraft receives C of A based on examination and test flying of each individual. This is how it’s done in the US, Sweden, Norway (after a “break” of 6 years), and many other places.

Norway and Sweden has always been tied to the EAA. This has recently been enforced rather drastically, where anyone wanting to build or own an experimental, cannot do so without being a member also of the main organization, not just the local Norwegian branch.

The UK have the LAA, which seems to be different, much stricter somehow, but I don’t know much about it.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

With just a permit to fly, I don’t see how you ever would be allowed to fly outside your own country. Experimentals are annex II. EASA will not now and not ever touch annex II. They are not part of EASA regulations.

All ECAC members allow experimentals of other ECAC members to enter their airspace without prior permission. This permission is contained in the AIP and in most cases is limited to VFR/daytime.

There is nothing preventing permit to fly to also include IFR – in theory, but then you would need a set of new regulations all over to be able to cross borders, and lots of problems to even get the equipment approved.

No, all you need is an AIP change that removes the “VFR/daytime” restriction. Avionics requirements are already laid out in law in all states. Already today there are major differences (e.g. Germany requires a DME for all aircraft in its airspace even when not required for the approach).

The real difference between C of A aircraft and homebuilts doesn’t lie in the design standards. It lies in the fact that homebuilds, by definition, are not constructed in approved and regulated production facilities. So there can be no assumption that a particular aircraft has been built in accordance with the design standard (and thus each individual example of the type must be test flown and data recorded to show that it really does fly as expected).

With just a permit to fly, I don’t see how you ever would be allowed to fly outside your own country.

This has been happening for many years, and I have done it myself. It’s based on mutual acceptance and respect for other countries’ design approval and flight testing standards. This can either be by membership of groups such as ECAC (as #15) or simply by mutual acceptance between two individual states.

The design standards for ‘homebuilds’ can be rigorous. For example, in the UK the standard for microlights (ultralights) is the BCAR (British Civil Airworthiness Regulations) Section S. This gives a voluminous set of standards any new UK design must meet before being given type acceptance as a microlight. It’s no longer a question of putting a lawnmower engine on a kite and hoping for the best

TJ
Cambridge EGSC
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