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Rebuilding/repairing crashed aircraft

Posted by eladiogomez38 on 02.08.17 at 11:26 AM

I have been offered an opportunity to rebuild a crashed Cessna 206. This is a first for me, so I am not well informed on the legalities of such a project. Would anyone have any advice or information on what the process/regulations are or where I can find them? Thank You

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n14ky on Wed, 02/08/2017 - 13:35

I've worked in shops where we purchased salvage and returned them to service, and also at shops where we did insurance repairs. Repairing a crashed aircraft is no different than repairing any other damage, just more of it!

A couple things up front, do you have an Airworthiness Certificate, and has the owner registered it?

You can do Cessna wings without a jig, but it is a lot easier with a jig. Depending on the damage, a fuselage jig makes the work easier also. If you buy skins, pay the extra and buy them WITHOUT PD holes. It always seems like the save the factory rejects for the parts supply!

Basic regulations are Part 43. Document the repairs, do what you say, and say what you do. Document all hidden damage inspections. If you use salvage parts, get make, model, serial, and registration number of the aircraft they were removed from. You, as the installer are the one that makes the airworthiness determination on parts you install. Use the Cessna Parts Manual for the specific model you are working on, and verify the part you are installing fits the serial number range that matches the serial number of the airplane you are working on.

If you aren't going to make it like new, don't even start. Don't make patches or skin laps in places they weren't originally. Make sure you use the same fasteners that were removed, don't substitute cherries for solids unless specifically authorized in the manual. If you need to do repairs that aren't in the structures part of the manual or in AC43.13-1b, get a DER approved repair.

Last but not least, given you are asking, I am assuming you aren't an IA. Before you start, get with who ever will be signing block 7 on the 337 and find out what guidance he/she has, and at what points he/she wants to come inspect the progress.

Something else, semantics, you will not be rebuilding it, you will be repairing it. In FAA terms, only manufacturers rebuild things, mechanics repair things!

n14ky on Wed, 02/08/2017 - 13:47

Just for round numbers, with a crew of guys that were well versed in sheet metal repairs, I would count the number of damaged skins and multiply buy 30, then add about 20% and that would be close to the man hours to put an airplane back together less paint. If you don't already have a shear, brake, layout tables, a couple 5 gallon pails of clecos (one for each size), rivet guns, sets, a couple hundred pounds of bucking bars including knob bars about 4 feet long . . . , figure at least $10k to $20k just in tools.

Don't forget that riveting is a team effort, so you will need a helper, you can't do this alone. (not verified) on Sat, 02/11/2017 - 02:41

N14ky is totally correct in what he said. Many years ago I used to repair CE-172s only that were damaged. There is an up front investment in tooling and people. I don't do this type of work any more and sold most of my tooling off.

If you don't have a DER you can work with now you need to find one before you purchase and cut any metal. Same goes for the IA who will be putting they name on the 337 they have to be knowledgeable of the process and what is involved.

If you don't have insurance now you need to talk with an agent about an umbrella policy and may want to look at starting a LLC to protest your assets.

Lastly, make sure the aircraft has it original data plate without it you have a beer can. Only the manufacture can reissue on and that is a process you will have to run through your local FSDO.

I ran my little business for many years and made a lot of $$$, but the risk and insurance became to much for me. Just know what you are getting into before jumping in with both feet. Good Luck

eladiogomez38 on Tue, 02/14/2017 - 08:18

Wow... Thank you guys for all this great information. It's definitely an intimidating project to jump into. I will be sure to take your advice as I move forward.