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Certificating the SparrowHawk



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 6th 04, 07:24 PM
Finbar
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Default Certificating the SparrowHawk

Operating the SparrowHawk under Part 103 has never made any sense to
me, for several reasons: there are operating restrictions (prior
permission required to fly into an airport with a control tower,
etc.); there's a common "that's not a real airplane" response you get
from airports and tow operators; and from the manufacturer's point of
view it seems unwise to develop a high-wing-loading, high-performance
sailplane and essentially advertise "no license required." (License
or not, you need training to fly something like that.)

I understand you can buy one and apply for an Experimental
airworthiness certificate for it under the Exhibition and Racing
category. Perhaps that's even the "manufacturer's recommended
procedure." I think that's what I'd do.

This, however, creates a new consideration: now we have the prospect
of a US company producing manufactured sailplanes with the explicit
intention that they should be certificated as Experimental. I don't
think this was ever something the FAA had intended. I seem to recall
that they got a bit unhappy about imported gliders being certificated
this way instead of going through a proper certification program.
Anyone got any insight into that? Is it something they would try to
stop? Or would it be fine with them these days?

I actually think it would make a lot of sense in general to allow
manufactured aircraft to be certificated one at a time using the
Amateur-build Experimental flight testing program. This would allow
manufacturers to get sales started without having to go through the
cost of full certification. If the model was successful, a flight
test program could then be done by the manufacturer, allowing them to
get a Normal category type certificate, and all later units would be
sold with type certification rather than as Experimental. Not only
would this help US manufacturers, it could help improve the safety of
the current Amateur-built Experimental market by allowing people to
buy a manufactured version of the same aircraft (instead of being
required to build it themselves). As the buyer, I'd probably want the
factory to do the test flight program...! (Although if they had a
good reputation and a proven design, who'd worry?)

Just some thoughts.
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  #3  
Old May 7th 04, 04:27 AM
Stan
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Posts: n/a
Default

I like what you have to say--but,

After 50 years of dealing with the CAA and then the FAA I personally
like Part 103. Further, after spending time with the hang glider and
powered ultralight bunch I am very pleasantly surprised at the level
of aeronautical knowledge and skill, concern for safety and
professionalism I encountered.

Certainly they have some renegades but the majority are great people
who enjoy all the things that most dedicated aviators enjoy.

Not everyone flying under Part 103 is an outlaw just as not every
skipper of a 747 is God's gift to aviation.

I hope this doesn't come across as harsh or argumentative. I have
lived for the joy of flight for more than a half century now and it is
distressing to see how this can get bogged down in details. Yes, of
course I am aware of the world we are living in. I'm not living in
the past. Just, please, everyone look for ways to enjoy, not regulate
us out of the air. If I'm first, you're next.

Stan
  #4  
Old May 7th 04, 08:06 PM
Ben
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Posts: n/a
Default

The Concept 70s -somewhere in the number of 16 to 18 of them- were
manufactured in the USA during the 70's and are operating under
Experimental - Exhibition and Racing.

Ben Jeffrey


"Finbar" wrote in message
om...
Operating the SparrowHawk under Part 103 has never made any sense to
me, for several reasons: there are operating restrictions (prior
permission required to fly into an airport with a control tower,
etc.); there's a common "that's not a real airplane" response you get
from airports and tow operators; and from the manufacturer's point of
view it seems unwise to develop a high-wing-loading, high-performance
sailplane and essentially advertise "no license required." (License
or not, you need training to fly something like that.)

I understand you can buy one and apply for an Experimental
airworthiness certificate for it under the Exhibition and Racing
category. Perhaps that's even the "manufacturer's recommended
procedure." I think that's what I'd do.

This, however, creates a new consideration: now we have the prospect
of a US company producing manufactured sailplanes with the explicit
intention that they should be certificated as Experimental. I don't
think this was ever something the FAA had intended. I seem to recall
that they got a bit unhappy about imported gliders being certificated
this way instead of going through a proper certification program.
Anyone got any insight into that? Is it something they would try to
stop? Or would it be fine with them these days?

I actually think it would make a lot of sense in general to allow
manufactured aircraft to be certificated one at a time using the
Amateur-build Experimental flight testing program. This would allow
manufacturers to get sales started without having to go through the
cost of full certification. If the model was successful, a flight
test program could then be done by the manufacturer, allowing them to
get a Normal category type certificate, and all later units would be
sold with type certification rather than as Experimental. Not only
would this help US manufacturers, it could help improve the safety of
the current Amateur-built Experimental market by allowing people to
buy a manufactured version of the same aircraft (instead of being
required to build it themselves). As the buyer, I'd probably want the
factory to do the test flight program...! (Although if they had a
good reputation and a proven design, who'd worry?)

Just some thoughts.



  #6  
Old May 8th 04, 08:42 AM
Mark James Boyd
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Posts: n/a
Default

Finbar wrote:
Operating the SparrowHawk under Part 103 has never made any sense to
me, for several reasons: there are operating restrictions (prior
permission required to fly into an airport with a control tower,
etc.); there's a common "that's not a real airplane" response you get
from airports and tow operators; and from the manufacturer's point of
view it seems unwise to develop a high-wing-loading, high-performance
sailplane and essentially advertise "no license required." (License
or not, you need training to fly something like that.)


I'd think the public airport thing isn't that big of a deal:
towered ones generally have no tows, untowered ones have
ultralight policies (which at worst say "with airport manager
permission" in my experience).

Since in CA at least half of the tow operators are
at private fields, that's still a very viable option.

As far as "that's not a real airplane/glider," two mintues of that and
then five hours of flying later makes up for it, I suppose...

As far as no license required, I'm surprised at this myself.
I haven't seen the manual, and would be very surprised if
it didn't at least mention "pilot should have
experience equivalent to glider solo training and
launch endorsements for appropriate launch." I suppose a
single seat ultralight is just that. There's quite a bit
of precedent for pilots being allowed to kill themselves solo if they wish...
On aerotow seems a bit more involved...as a tow pilot myself
I'd want to see some evidence of aerotow experience before towing
someone...

This, however, creates a new consideration: now we have the prospect
of a US company producing manufactured sailplanes with the explicit
intention that they should be certificated as Experimental. I don't
think this was ever something the FAA had intended.


I still think sport aircraft would be a way to go if this passes...
this glider seems ideal for it (ok a little typo change for Vne down
8 knots, but otherwise it seems like a winner for this new
airworthiness class).
--

------------+
Mark Boyd
Avenal, California, USA
 




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