Condition inspection Long-EZ, Varieze and other Burt Rutan Aircraft

Long-EZ or Varieze condition inspection

by Tim LoDolce

Q: For those of you who did not build your EZ, how are you getting the annual condition inspections done? A: Good question for the forum Mike as many EZ/Experimental owners but non-builders need help in this regard. As you stated, since you are not the builder of the EZ you are seeking to purchase you will not be permitted to sign off the annual condition inspection. However, the LongEz that your building will give you that privilege when you receive your certification from the FAA. Be sure to apply for the Experimental Amateur-Built Aircraft Repairman's Certificate at the same time you fill out the forms for the aircraft inspection. More on that later.

You asked where to find an A&P or IA to sign off your annual condition inspection on the experimental that you have not personally built? There are several easy ways to find a qualified inspector (who holds the proper license). First thing to do is visit your local FBO's (Fixed Base Operators). These guys usually will have a staff of mechanics that can sign off your condition inspection and will do the work if you educate them with the process on your particular experimental aircraft. The EAA has an Experimental Checklist for the annual condition inspection available to all members as well as some of the people on this forum who have in the past forwarded an attachment for anyone to copy. It will be very specific to the EZ's which is probably the better way to go.

Getting to know one or two of these guys buy purchasing a few parts from them in advance goes a long way to creating customer loyalty. If you need a case of oil or some hardware items pay the few extra bucks and purchase these items through them. That shows them that you appreciate them and their business. By doing this you get to know them and they get to know you and what your flying or building. Later that pays off big time when you need some advice for all types of questions.

I believe you'll find many of the FBO's or A&P's are not afraid of "experimental's" and will do work and condition inspections as a natural course of business, while others may be a bit shy about it because they don't know the "aircraft manufacturer" or perhaps they just too busy. In any event with enough persistence and personally developing a customer relationship with a good A&P/FBO I'm positive you will find the right person for you.

Another source for inspection help is your local chapter of the EAA. There are usually a couple good mechanics that hold an A&P or IA license within each chapter. If not talk to you local EAA Technical Counselor who should be able to point you in the right direction. That's what grass roots EAA'ers do for each other a an excellent reason for joining a chapter. That old adage of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" goes a long way in this arena.

Getting back to making sure you acquire your Experimental Aircraft Repairman's Certificate at the time you have your LongEZ inspected for airworthiness. Your local FSDO (District Inspection Office) is the best bet and can issue you both certificates at the same time. However, if a DAR inspects your aircraft - he/she does not have the authority to issue the repairman's certificate - only an FAA FSDO Airworthiness Inspector does - so a visit to the FSDO is in order. Visit any time and when you get there ask for the "duty" Airworthiness Inspector. Each FSDO office is suppose to have at least one inspector in the office at all times (less lunch and coffee/donut breaks) to take care of the walk-in business.

You'll need to take:
1. Your repairman's application,
2. Your aircraft registration,
3. Your aircraft airworthiness form,
4. The aircraft operating limitations,
5. Your builders log, and
6. A photo ID (e.g., drivers license, etc.).

Note: if they ask to keep the documents - let them make copies - don't let them keep the originals. (You can't fly without the originals.)

The Experimental Amateur-Built Aircraft Repairman's Certificate can be issued on the spot - there is no requirement to take any FAA tests to receive it. The FAA Inspector will probably talk to you about your airplane, inspecting your aircraft per FAR 43 Appendix D, etc. Print it out and read it before you go.

Tim LoDolce
EAA TechCounslr/FltAdvsr

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