Resolves Vague Use Of Generic Checklists By Builders
The FAA put amateur builders into a state of regulatory limbo
starting in 2008, when it announced it was rewriting its guidelines
for inspectors evaluating new builds for compliance with its "Major
Portion Requirement," better known informally as "The 51% Rule."
New rules for homebuilt airplanes followed fairly quickly (by FAA
standards), but inspectors evaluating rotorcraft, weight-shift
aircraft and powered parachutes were instructed to use the old,
vague, generic fabrication and assembly task checklist for these
classes until new checklists were created for them, too.
That created a huge grey area, and resulted in a gamble for
builders going before their individual inspectors and FSDOs. The
choices were to either build from a kit grandfathered on the FAA's
old 51% List, or hope you didn't spend years and thousands of
dollars building an aircraft which would be denied an airworthiness
certificate based on a local interpretation.
That vagueness appears to finally be resolved. Tom Milton, a PRA
Director and FAA Designated Airworthiness Inspector, announced
today that the FAA has issued new guidelines to inspectors which
are to be used to evaluate whether new amateur-built rotorcraft
being submitted for inspection meet the requirement that a major
portion of fabrication and assemble tasks have been performed by
amateurs. (Also known as "The 51% Rule.")
Milton, posting on a rotorcraft forum says, in part:
"It looks like the long awaited gyro checklist has arrived without
a wimper. Greg Gremminger, myself and others...were asked to make a
prototype checklist for gyros and we did. I believe we left off
some time ago with the hint that it might be approved by October
2011. It looks like it has been approved..."
Regarding the uncertainty which has plagued builders about local
interpretation, Milton suggests, "this is a nearly bullet proof
method of assuring 51% compliance. The checklist, along with
pictures and dates would be hard to top for a Builder's Log."
The FAA's new checklist document were posted October 21, but
apparently, the FAA did not notify DARs at the time. They will be
expected to begin using the new checklist immediately, which means
builders will need to use it, too, to make sure they qualify for an
EAB airworthiness certificate.
Find the FAA document using the FMI link below, and scroll to the
bottom to find links to the new checklists for Helicopters,
Gyrocopters (sic), Weight Shift and Powered Parachute, in
downloadable PDF form.