Experimenter

FEB 2015

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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30 Vol.4 No.2 / Februar y 2015 ULTRALIGHT WORLD fore able to provide ongoing parts and other support. You will learn that there are very few powered parachute manufacturers still open for business. A new powered parachute, while carrying a healthy price tag, will usually come with warranties on all components, in- cluding the airframe, the engine, electronics, and the canopy. You will learn in your investigation that new aircraft that are being sold by reputable manufacturers are all usually in about the same price range. All powered parachute manufac- turers that sell legal light-sport powered parachutes use the same engines, the same electronics, and the same canopies. The differences are usually found in design differences of the airframe. Purchasing new should only be done when you know that the manufacturer is approved by the FAA to build and dis- tribute legal light-sport aircraft. While years ago there were nearly 40 powered parachute manufacturers, today there are only about half a dozen that have invested in and earned the approval of the FAA. Another slightly more complex decision is to purchase an experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA) or a special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA). Essentially the aircraft are the same, and this is a question of FAA certifi cation method. The primary dif erence in these categories is that the S-LSA is fully assembled, prepared, test fl own, and certifi cated by the FAA before it leaves the factory. That typically comes with a higher cost associated with it due to assembly and paperwork required by the FAA. S-LSA are required to conduct sport pi- lot training, so if you are an instructor or have any intention of instructing, this is the direction you need to go. If you are an individual owner, you can legally be trained in your E-LSA, if it is equipped with fully functioning dual controls. If you own an S-LSA, the maintenance requirements are more stringent and expensive as all repairs and serious maintenance must be done by a certifi cated repairman. If you own an E-LSA pow- ered parachute, you the owner are allowed to do all mainte- nance and even repairs. ARE YOU A BUILDER, OR DO YOU MAINLY JUST WANT TO FLY? If you enjoy the prospect of building your own powered para- chute from an FAA-approved kit, you can save thousands of dollars. But if you decide to build from a kit, you need to fi nd out from the manufacturer how complicated it will be, what skills and what tools are required, and what the average build time is. Then you need to be realistic about your ability and patience to build from a kit. There is quite a variety in the kits offered by various manufacturers. These "kits" can range from nearly fully assembled E-LSA kits to nothing assembled amateur-built eligible kits. If you lean toward building from a kit, be sure that you spend considerable time researching this option and asking the right questions of the company you are looking to purchase from. WHAT OTHER EXPENSES ARE INVOLVED IN OWNING A POWERED PARACHUTE? There are a lot of very cool products out there to supplement your fl ying experience, and many owners spend literally thou- sands, customizing and equipping their aircraft and themselves. But there are a few basics that are defi nite considerations. These include:

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