I don’t disagree but I think the homebuilt scene is a great example of the ambiguity which led me to start this thread.
The whole position there is hugely ambiguous and the customers want it to be thus because it is to their advantage all the way. In the homebuilt scene you want no supervision (except what you choose to help you build it, or to help you keep it running), no accountability, no need for traceability (because traceability costs more money), no airworthiness requirements, no supervision of mods, etc.
Well, until they crash and then they or their estate will be looking to sue somebody up the supply chain
I think the problem with certified aircraft is that for it to work in a “normal consumer fashion” way you have to:
You can also be filthy rich of course, but that’s beside the point. A normal PPL pilot are none of those things. In addition, if you are not ready to get your hands dirty, you are also not very likely to have enough knowledge to question the jobs done by a certified maintenance organisation. Certification puts the consumer in a huge disadvantage, at least the consumer who treats the plane in the same way he treats a consumer car.
The problem with homebuilt aircraft is you can purchase stuff that will work (according to the producer), but ends up being trash when put to the test in a real aircraft. On the other hand, you can also “safe” it to the max. Get only traceable hardware and materials, use certified avionics and engines, use standard techniques and solutions, if you think that increases the possibilities for not falling down from the sky. Most people end up being somewhere between those extremes. Some like to “safe it”, not because of safety, but mostly because they want an aircraft that is as problem free as possible, and this also increases second hand value. Some like to experiment a bit, not necessarily because “new is better”, but mostly because it’s fun and “because they can”.
Still, consumer vise I don’t see any difference legally. It is the owner’s responsibility to keep the aircraft airworthy, no matter if it’s certified or not. Keeping the aircraft airworthy has nothing to do with consumer rights, it’s a legal requirement by the authorities. It’s just that airworthiness has different practical implications for the average PPL aircraft owner if he owns a certified aircraft or a non certified aircraft.
The UK LAA Permit aircraft have an annual inspection, mods must be approved, new builds must be inspected and approved during construction. First flights of homebuilds must have an approved pilot.
Yet moving a factory-built Jodel DR1050 from a CAA C of A to the LAA Permit system 10 years ago has saved us thousands of £ each year.