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Time Is Up For E-LSA Registration

Options are available for those who missed the deadline

January 30, 2008 — The day that was looming for more than three years - January 31, 2008 - arrived Thursday, and with it the hard deadline for owners of two-place or "fat" ultralights to submit their aircraft registration (n-number) application for converting their aircraft to an experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA). Owners whose registration applications were received by the FAA by Thursday may apply for an exemption obtained by EAA last week, enabling them to schedule an airworthiness inspection through January 31, 2010.

Unfortunately, those who missed the deadline will not be able to certificate their airplanes in the E-LSA category. But there may be other options available to them, according to EAA Aviation Services.

Amateur-built option
If you built your single or two-place machine from plans (for example, a Legal Eagle) or a kit (for example, a Challenger), experimental amateur-built certification may be an option. If your aircraft qualifies for that certification, the January 31, 2008, deadline does not apply.

If you built the aircraft from a kit, you must have a bill of sale from the original kit manufacturer and a builder's log (that is, a group of photos showing you working on the aircraft or some equivalent written evidence). If you built the aircraft from plans, you don't need a bill of sale, but you still need a builder's log.

If you purchased your aircraft second-hand, you must have the original bill of sale from the kit manufacturer (if applicable), the bill of sale from any previous owners, and the original builder's log to register and certificate the aircraft as an amateur-built aircraft. For your own peace of mind, contact a DAR or FAA inspector immediately to verify whether that route is an option for you. EAA's Aviation Services staff is also available to answer questions; call 877-359-1232.

NOTE: Some ultralight owners have suggested they'll simply disassemble their machine, put it back together, take pictures, and attempt to register the aircraft as an amateur-built. That option will not work. The FAA considers that "re-building an existing aircraft," and that action does not meet amateur-built regulations.

Experimental Exhibition
If your machine does not qualify for amateur-built certification, the only other option available is the least desirable - the Experimental Exhibition Category. If this is your only option, you should investigate the category's significant flight operation restrictions. Contact EAA Aviation Services at 877-359-1232, and they can walk you through the process.

Caveat Emptor
With the passing of Thursday's deadline, EAA warns its members to be on the lookout for what may appear to be a "really good deal" in the used two-place or "fat" ultralight/light aircraft market. If you're offered a great price on such an aircraft, make certain it has an N-number and an airworthiness certificate. Always understand what you are buying, and be aware that as the buyer, you would be "under the gun" to get it certificated, and the least desirable - Experimental Exhibition - may be your only certification option.

Again, if you have any questions, contact EAA Aviation Services at 877-359-1232, or e-mail info@eaa.org.

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