ELSA Training Aircraft January 2010 Deadline

For the past four years, we have been using our Experimental Light-Sport Quicksilver Sport II as a flight trainer. Under the light sport rule, we can continue to do this until until January 31, 2010.

Providing that your aircraft has been issued the proper operating limitations by the FAA, your E-LSA aircraft may have the same option, whether you are using it as a trainer or not. One of the easiest ways to tell if your ELSA can be used for hire is to look at the airworthiness certificate. Half way down on the right side under serial number and model is the word “expiry”. Usually this box will say “unlimited”. When an E-LSA was given the operating limitations for flight training, the date “January 31, 2010” was listed in the box. E-LSA that did not receive the operating limitations for flight training will have the word “unlimited.” If your airworthiness certificate reads “unlimited” then you do not have to worry about the January 31, 2010 deadline.

With the flight training limitations, you, as an instructor, are allowed to rent the aircraft to students to whom you are providing flight instruction to until January 31, 2010. Rental of the aircraft for other than flight training purposes is not allowed. However, all E-LSA which are issued the operating limitations for flight training have an airworthiness certificate that expires. (By the way, there are no plans to extend the limitation on using ELSA aircraft for hire for training purposes. This provision expires on 31 January 2010.) These training aircraft must be maintained in accordance with regulations as they apply to E-LSA. Its annual condition inspection may be conducted by an LSA repairman with an inspection rating, an LSA repairman with a maintenance rating, an airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic, or a certified repair station. The 100 inspection, only require if the aircraft is used for hire, must be performed by an LSA repairman with a maintenance rating, an airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic, or a certified repair station.

Additionally, before the 2010 deadline all ELSA with the operating limitations to be used for hire must have their operating limitations and airworthiness certificate amended. This can not be done after the deadline because there is no way to amend an expired certificate. After the deadline the only aircraft that will be used for flight instruction for hire will be type certificated aircraft or Special Light Sport Aircraft (SLSA). A person may always take flight instruction in an experimental aircraft that he/she owns. There is no restriction on flight instruction in an experimental aircraft. The restriction comes when using the aircraft FOR HIRE to instruct others. This would not affect flying your own aircraft. The only thing you'll need to do is find an instructor who is willing to give you instruction in your own experimental aircraft, and then find a pilot examiner who is willing to give you your practical test in the aircraft.

Urgent: If you have an E-LSA aircraft approved for flight training or towing until Jan 2010 your airworthiness certificate will expire Jan 31, 2010. You must get a new airworthiness certificate from your FSDO BEFORE JAN 31, 2010 or your aircraft will never be able to fly legally again.

There are several important points to be aware of concerning the January 31, 2010 deadline;
1. All ELSA trainers must have the operating limitations and airworthiness certificates amended before the January 31, 2010 deadline. They will then be able to be flown for personal use.
2. After the deadline we will no longer be able to use ELSA for flight training However- they can still be used for towing. If an ELSA is used for towing for hire it will still require a 100 inspection.
3. Only the FAA inspectors can amend an airworthiness certificate- not Designated Airworthiness Representatives (DARS). DARS are only authorized to issue original/recurrent special airworthiness certificates.

In the case of our Quicksilver Sport II, we will not wait until the last minute. The key to completing the process is to get started early and allow plenty of time for work to be done and administrative processes. We recommend that you start the process as soon as August 2009.

►We recommend that you take several steps right away so you meet the deadline:
First, you will need to contact your Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) or MIDO. Tell them you'll be mailing (or by fax if they'll allow it) them a letter requesting amended operating limitations, and an unlimited airworthiness certificate. Along with copies (DO NOT mail your originals – just in case they get lost in the mail) of your current airworthiness certificate, aircraft registration and operating limitations. Let them know you'll bring in the original documents for exchange when the new ones are ready - you can't fly your aircraft without the original documents in the aircraft so hang onto them as long as you can. This is a paperwork issue that should only take them 30 minutes to complete. Don't let them refer you to a DAR for the paperwork conversion because a DAR does not have the authority to do this - only a FAA FSDO or MIDO Safety Inspector can do the paperwork. There is no cost for the service.

The basic steps to amending your ELSA trainer’s operating limitations and airworthiness certificate are as follows:

  • Contact your FSDO or MIDO Office by using the FAA FSDO locator (just google “FSDO”) or MIDO locator and then call to talk with an inspector. (All visits to FSDOs or MIDOs are by appointment only.)
  • Write a letter of request (see sample below)
  • Complete FAA Form 8130-6 (just google FAA Form 8130-6)
  • Fax or mail copies of your operating limitations, registration and airworthiness.
  • Make an appointment to exchange your aircraft paperwork

This is what your letter should look like:

Name and address of your local FSDO or MIDO

Dear Sirs,

Attached is a completed FAA Form 8130-6, Application for Airworthiness Certificate. In accordance with FAA Order 8130.2F, this application is being submitted to amend my current experimental operating limitations to remove the flight training limitation. My aircraft, N_____, currently has ___ hours on it and I am operating in Phase II. I've enclosed a copy of the current airworthiness certificate, aircraft registration and operating limitations for my aircraft, N_______, for your reference use.

Sincerely, your name, address, and phone number.

We wish you the best and hope your experience goes smoothly. If you have any comments or questions, contact us at [email protected]

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