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LSA and VLA (merged)

Peter wrote:

I’ve read loads of pretty horrible and unusual homebuilt (in Europe, “experimental” is basically homebuilt) accident reports e.g. in-flight fires due to a fuel hose made of the wrong material

Do you have any further details (registration, AAIB report etc.?) My search has so far brought up a lot of Boeings and Airbuses catching fire, but no homebuilts!

I note that LAS for instance sells some clear tubing as fuel pipe for permit aircraft (and that stuff won’t go anywhere near my aircraft!) – I’d be curious to see what material it was made from and what the fuel type was and how long the aircraft had been in use. I’ve had my own problems with avgas rotting flexible fuel lines from the inside out that were supposedly reinforced (although the fuel line in question – aft of the firewall – had probably been there for a while).

Last Edited by alioth at 26 Apr 13:55
Andreas IOM

One I recall had a rigid aluminium fuel pipe which cracked under vibration, came off, and the fuel caught fire. Maybe 5 years ago? Fatal.

I know about the clear tubing. That is evident in a variety of homebuilt kits. Lancairs use it for example (as of about a year ago) for brake hoses at least. A Kitfox I saw was full of it. The fittings are also really sh1tty. Given that even a Rotax 912 costs some five digits, I cannot understand why safety-critical stuff like this is so cheap and crappy. We did this here before quite a few times and RVs seemed to use the proper stuff.

Back to LSA, what would be the motivation behind Rotax wanting a VMC-only limitation? I do not believe product liability is anywhere near as big as is often claimed, but if you take out IFR you remove all kinds of other issues and not just flying into terrain. You make yourself un-suable for just about any loss of control incident.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

One I recall had a rigid aluminium fuel pipe which cracked under vibration, came off, and the fuel caught fire

That’s interesting – quite a few certified aircraft have firewall-forward rigid alu fuel lines (my old Cessna 140 being one example). I don’t recall though if it was rigid all the way to the carburettor, but it does stick in my mind as we had an AD to comply with that involved this rigid fuel line (basically, installing a metal shield around the pipe).

Andreas IOM

Peter wrote:

what would be the motivation behind Rotax wanting a VMC-only limitation?

Where exactly is that stated?

EDLE

europaxs wrote:

Where exactly is that stated?

I don’t think it is stated anywhere, it’s only an assumption by that Bob? But, all European non certified engines have a written warning in their manual saying that the engine is not a certified aircraft engine and must not be used in any condition or circumstance where you are not able to land safely in the event of an engine failure, or something like that. This pretty much rules out IFR. Legally this means nothing, and no certification will help you in a SEP in IMC and the engine stops in any case. It does one thing, it makes it impossible for an aircraft manufacturer to “certify” the use of that engine for IFR.

mh wrote:

Not necessarily. If you fly a proven design, yes, but if an aircraft leaves you in an uncontrollable situation, or one where you need too much workload to control the aircraft while tangling other problems, it might as well be a design flaw. Just claiming that loss of control is always just a pilot error is too lazy and might disguise deeper problems with the design. The Smaragd/Peregrine comes to mind…

Theoretically I agree, but you should read the report I linked to instead of flying off into totally unrelated and peculiar things. It’s about pilots used to flying certified aircraft of the C-172 performance/handling class then suddenly with no training or preparation whatsoever jumps into their RV or Lancair or a Rutan canard. The exact same airplane that have been flown for years by one or two or three previous owners with no problems. That is what this is about. That is what causes the larger number of accidents in experimental aircraft.

it makes it impossible for an aircraft manufacturer to “certify” the use of that engine for IFR.

How does that impact e.g. the UK LAA IFR project? That’s not LSA, I know…

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

That is a very good question. There are several Rotax-powered aircraft on the list. Same goes for many Rotax-powered N-reg. Experimentals which are also operated under IFR.

EDLE

Doesn’t Rotax also make certified versions of their engines (the 912A#, F#, S#)?

tmo
EPKP - Kraków, Poland

They do indeed, I was wondering why nobody mentioned them.

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium
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