Twisted-Wrench LLC   Aircraft Maintenance Special Projects
Who Can Perform Maintenance, Alterations, and Inspections on
Experimental Amateur Built or E-LSA

This from Joe Norris, EAA Staff

There is no restriction to who performs maintenance, repair, or modification on an
experimental amateur built aircraft or E-LSA.

The path to enlightenment on this issue lies in the verbiage found in FAR 43.1(b), which
"(b) This part does not apply to any aircraft for which the FAA has issued an
experimental certificate, unless the FAA has previously issued a different kind of
airworthiness certificate for that aircraft."

Since both amateur built and ELSA aircraft have never held a different type of
airworthiness certificate, 43.1(b) applies.

That means that the entirety of Part 43 does not apply to these aircraft.

This being the case, there is no restriction on who performs maintenance or returns the
aircraft to service. Maintenance, repair, and even modifications can be performed by
anyone regardless of whether or not they hold an FAA certificate of any kind.

The only time a certificate is necessary is when performing the condition inspection
each year. This requirement is found in the operating limitations of the aircraft rather
than in the regulations themselves.

The operating limitations will require that the person performing the condition
inspection hold either the repairman certificate for that individual aircraft, or an A&P

The A&P is not required to hold an inspection authorization (IA) in order to perform the
condition inspection on an experimental aircraft.
What NASA needed!
What Aircraft Records are Required?
Joe Norris is correct about Part 43 not being applicable but Part 91 is applicable,
including Subpart E, (the 400s).  

Even though you are not required to comply with Part 43, there are elements and
concepts there that are valid in terms of asset management and liability risk

When you see references to Part 43 in Part 91, you should consider how to incorporate
the concepts represented.

The concepts in Part 43 that don't work with E-AB and E-LSA deal with "Current
Manufacturer's Maintenance Data", who can perform maintenance and alterations, and
the requirements to record Major Repairs and Major Alterations with the FAA.

You still must have:
  • Airworthiness Certificate
  • Registration Certificate
  • W&B records ( should include an Equipment List as the conformity report for
    the W&B),
  • International operations still required a FCC Radio Station License
  • IFR operations still required records of the 30 day VOR accuracy checks
  • The Operating Limitations for the aircraft
  • A Compass Corrections Card if required by your Operating Limitations
  • A record or your annual Condition Inspection
  • Records of discrepacies (Optional) and their resolution
  • Shall have any inoperative instrument or item of equipment, permitted to be
    inoperative by Sec. 91.213(d)(2) of this part, repaired, replaced, removed, or
    inspected at the next required inspection; and  when listed discrepancies
    include inoperative instruments or equipment, shall ensure that a placard
    has been installed as required by Sec. 43.11 of this chapter.
  • Records of compliance (as applicable) for 91.411 Altimeter Checks and
    91.413 Transponder Checks
  • ELT maintenance Records

No person may operate any aircraft that has undergone maintenance, preventive
maintenance, rebuilding, or alteration unless  it has been approved for return to
service by
a person authorized under Sec. 43.7(for E-AB & E-LSA, should read "by
the person performing the work)
of this chapter; and the maintenance record
entry required by
Sec. 43.9 or Sec. 43.11 (Valid Concepts), as applicable, of this
chapter has been made.

No person may carry any person (other than crew members) in an aircraft that
has been maintained, rebuilt, or altered in a manner that may have appreciably
changed its flight characteristics or substantially affected its operation in flight
until an appropriately rated pilot with at least a private pilot certificate flies the
aircraft, makes an operational check of the maintenance performed or alteration
made, and logs the flight in the aircraft records. (This will likely be addressed in
the Operational Limitations and will put you back in Phase 1)

Records of the maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alteration and records
of the annual condition inspection,  for each aircraft (including the airframe) and
each engine, propeller, rotor, and appliance of an aircraft.
• The records must include:
  • A description (or reference to data acceptable to the Administrator) of the
    work performed; and
  • The date of completion of the work performed; and
  • The signature, and certificate number of the person approving the aircraft
    for return to service.

Records containing the following information:
•        The total time in service of the airframe, each engine, each propeller, and
each rotor.
•        The current status of life-limited parts of each airframe, engine, propeller,
rotor, and appliance.
•        The time since last overhaul of all items installed on the aircraft which are
required to be overhauled on a specified time basis.
•        The current inspection status of the aircraft, including the time since the
last inspection required by the inspection program under which the aircraft and
its appliances are maintained.
The current status of applicable airworthiness directives (AD) and safety
directives including, for each, the method of compliance, the AD or safety
directive number and revision date. If the AD or safety directive involves
recurring action, the time and date when the  next action is required.
Information on Experimental Altimeter and Transponder checks
from Walt Aronow
Click Here
Airworthiness Directives from AC 39-7
Non-TC’d aircraft  (e.g., amateur-built aircraft, experimental exhibition) are
aircraft for which the FAA has not issued a TC under part 21.

The AD applicability statement will identify if the AD applies to non-TC’d
aircraft or engines, propellers, and appliances installed thereon.

The following are examples of applicability statements for ADs related to
non-TC’d aircraft:

(1) “This AD applies to Honeywell International Inc. Auxiliary Power Unit
(APU) models GTCP36-150(R) and GTCP36-150(RR). These APUs are
installed on, but not limited to, Fokker Services B.V. Model F.28 Mark 0100
and F.28 Mark 0070 airplanes, and Mustang Aeronautics, Inc. Model Mustang
II experimental airplanes. This AD applies to any aircraft with the listed APU
models installed.” This statement makes the AD applicable to the listed
auxiliary power unit (APU) models installed on TC’d aircraft, as well as non-
TC’d aircraft.

(2) “This AD applies to Lycoming Engines Models AEIO-360-A1A and IO-360-
This AD applies to any aircraft with the listed engine models installed.” This
statement makes the AD applicable to the listed engine models installed on
TC’d and non-TC’d aircraft.