Now that the FAA's Third Class Medical Reform has passed and the criteria have been expanded, any thoughts on how this might impact Zenith builds if the builder so chooses (e.g., EAB vs. the LSA limits)? Or how it might affect what your build?

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There was always an LSA "above 10,000 msl" exception for terrain clearance which I use regularly here in Oregon and Washington. Also, contrary to popular misconception, a light sport pilot could take his or her biannual flight review in an airplane like a  Cessna 150 or 172.  You just couldn't fly it without an instructor or appropriately rated PIC aboard afterwards. The FAA clearly stated this in it's BFR rules.  

Yeah, I took some editorial liberties there. But, there wasn't 'always' that altitude exception; it was one of the first NPRMs to Sport Pilot to come out when the FAA realized how unworkable it was out West. At 2K AGL, I still believe it is a silly restriction. 'Clear of Class A' should be all that's required, and Sport Pilots should get the same hypoxia syllabus that private pilots receive since even 10000' is plenty high enough to cause problems. But I don't write the rules, I only complain about them :-)

You're absolutely right about the BFR in a 172, although you have to be sure the instructor has a medical and is willing to act as PIC. And find a place that will rent a 172 without a medical--some insurance companies won't allow it. Hopefully some of these catch-22 scenarios will now go away.

Depending on the final language of the law, I am most likely going to certify my STOL 750 at the higher weight limit. As long as the new law doesn't have so many requirements that it becomes useless, it will directly benefit my flying activities once my bird is finished. My medical has expired, but it was valid until last year. I'm on CPAP now for 2 years (didn't fly since diagnosis for apnea), and have been successfully treating it. The new law has the potential to free me from all the extra work required for a renewal of my 3rd class medical (which I'd still be able to get, under the circumstances). Therefore, the ability to keep flying with private pilot privileges and less hoops through which to jump are a win in my book. I'm excited about the possibilities, but I'll reserve final judgement for when the actual specifics of the law go into effect.

Excellent points!

Impact to Zenith:  CH 850 Cruzer II.

- Pat

I'd even like to see a slightly more capable (read: true 4-place) version of the CH 640, which I plan to build when my 750 is done!

You should take a hard look at the RV-10 then.


I have looked at it, and it's an awesome plane...another league compared to the CH 640. But I think I want to scratch build the 640 at a slow pace (especially since I'll have my 750 to fly). I don't think the RV-10 is supported as a scratch-built. But yeah, it's a super nice plane.

Greg,  I have a CH-640 plans set that I don't think I will ever use. For sale or trade. I am working on a STOL CH-750. 

May I ask a few newbie questions?  I am building a STOL CH750 Edition 3 that can be flown within LSA limits or certified to 1,440lbs.  I am heavy so that extra 120lbs would come in handy.

Practically speaking, what happens if I certify the plane as LSA, and then one day take off with a passenger and a little extra gas?  Do the Feds have black helicopters with flying weight scales?  Do swat teams kick in my bedroom door that night and arrest me? 

If the answer to the above questions is Yes, then what are my risks in taking the medical, going basic med, and flying EAB?  I snore so yes I have a C-PAP.  And I have borderline blood pressure meds.  I also take the minimum prescribed dosage of Effexor anxiety medication.  (Am I sharing too much here?) Otherwise blood tests are excellent.  Should I take the risk of failing?

I went with BasicMed instead of a full 3rd class, precisely so I can certify my STOL CH750 at full goss weight. You are unlikely to be caught flying over gross weight, but the FAA can ramp check you. What that all would mean other than a paperwork check is a question for someone who has been ramp checked. However, in the event of an accident, an investigation could reveal things.

I personally feel it's better to jump through a few more hoops (3rd class or Basic Med} and be legal, than it is to risk anything. I had to ask around to find a doc that would do BasicMed. Some aren't comfortable with BasicMed, and will only issue 3rd Class (or 2nd, 1st). Your CPAP shouldn't be a problem (I also use one), but the Effexor may trip you up. As far as I know, no meds are immediate cause for failing BasicMed, but it's a different story with 3rd Class. Maybe talk to a a doc or two and see what they think about your specific medical issues as they relate to getting BasicMed or a 3rd class. If it's unlikely you'll then be able to get 3rd Class or BasicMed, then stick with LSA. At that point, you'll have to decide if you want to violate the LSA weight restriction, even though the plane can certainly handle it.  


To fly under Basic Med, you're going to have to have had at least one 3rd Class Medical performed after July 14, 2006.  The Effexor you're taking is a disqualifying medication to get a 3rd Class Medical.  The AME will not be able/allowed to issue you a medical.  Last I looked, there are only 4 specific drugs in that class of drugs you're taking that might be allowed, but those taking them have to be followed by a doctor for a number of months, reports have to be submitted, etc., or, taken off the drug, followed off for 60 days, reports submitted, etc.  In other words - it's not impossible but it's not easy!

Even if you were not taking the Effexor, the C-PAP will likely be an issue, requiring more reports, etc. to be submitted before the medical is approved.

Your best bet will be to certify the 750 as an EAB with 1320 lbs max gross wt. and fly under LSA rules with a "driver's license medical."   (Note - you must initially certify the plane at 1320 for LSA - you can never "go back" to 1320 if it is ever certified at a higher max gross wt. and still comply with LSA rules.)  That's assuming you either already have a private pilot's license with an old, expired medical or have or intend to get a Sport Pilot license. Easy to say and hard to do, but if you lost some weight, it will help your useful load, but more importantly, it will improve your health - you might even be able to get rid of that C-PAP!

As far as ignoring the regs on either the meds or max gross wt., it likely wouldn't be an issue except in the event of a serious accident where a thorough investigation is done.  Not only could there be licensure implications, but also insurance problems which could leave you or your estate facing a huge liability.




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