Experimenter

DEC 2014

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

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4 Vol.3 No.12 / December 2014 HOMEBUILDER'S CORNER WITH WINTER SETTLING in here in Oshkosh, fl ying will be put on the shelf and my full attention will be back on my homebuilding projects. Given the weather we experience during a Wisconsin winter, I don't think it was a coincidence that Wisconsin became a hotbed for the homebuilding movement. The weather is par- ticularly well suited to hunkering down and working on your project. The end of the year is always a good time to take stock of what you have accomplished during the year, so let's look at some of the highlights for EAA and the homebuilder in 2014. After more than a year's work with the FAA, we were able to make a historic change in the way we fl ight test aircraft. For the fi rst time ever, a homebuilder now has the option of having a second pilot onboard the aircraft during Phase 1 fl ight testing. We are hopeful that this new option will decrease the num- ber of fatal accidents that occur during that time of greatest exposure. We implore all of our members who choose to use this option to do so with responsibility by understanding and following the guidance in Advisory Circular 90-116. We want to be able to show the FAA that this additional privilege will not be taken lightly or abused. It will help us pave the way for more options in the future if we are successful. On a personal note, your EAA staf completed its Zenith CH 750 STOL project that was started back in September of 2012. I had announced in this column in January of this year that my goal was to lead this project to completion by AirVenture 2014. With a lot of hard work by a number of dif erent EAA staf , the aircraft was signed of the day prior to the start of convention. Just made it! The aircraft is now fi nished with Phase 1 fl ight testing and has become our sport pilot-eligible aircraft in the EAA Employee Flying Club. It was a great way for a number of dif erent staf here to learn about homebuilding. Probably the biggest threat we faced this year was from the FAA's proposed modifi cation of FAA Order 8130. The pro- posed update in this policy document would have seriously confused FAA inspectors in the fi eld regarding the ability to fl y homebuilts over "densely populated areas." Fortunately, we were able to make our case against this change with top FAA personnel and are confi dent that the crisis is over, but we are still waiting to see the revised draft of this document before we consider it a victory. The other major policy issue we fought on behalf of home- builders was the FAA Airports division's proposed revision of the defi nition of an "aeronautical activity." This defi nition is critical as things that fall outside of the defi nition can put FAA airport grant money at risk; something no airport wants to do. The good news is that for the fi rst time ever, fi nal assembly of a homebuilt was recognized as an aeronautical activity. The bad news is that leaves all the other construction phases of a homebuilt outside the defi nition. I really can't think of some- thing more "aeronautical" than building an aircraft, regardless of what part of the process you are working on! We are still battling on this one, and the jury is still out. Every year, our annual convention, EAA AirVenture Osh- kosh, is a highlight. You never know exactly why going into it, but it never disappoints. This year, homebuilding took center stage with the construction of the One Week Wonder, a Zenith CH 750 Cruzer, right at show center. It was a huge success. Lit- erally thousands of people participated in the construction, and many more were introduced to the opportunity to build your own aircraft. I'm hopeful that "build an aircraft" was added to lots of bucket lists because of the One Week Wonder and that this project inspires many people to build. All in all, it was a very good year for homebuilding. Thank you for being an EAA member. I hope that you and your loved ones have a very merry holiday season and a prosper- ous new year! 2014 in Review Homebuilding victories and challenges BY CHARLIE BECKER

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