I have a factory built CH-650. Of course, AMD is no longer in business. The FAA directs installation of ADS-B to be approved by the manufacturer so my airplane is an 'orphan.' I would like to install ADS-B but I'm in limbo.

One solution has been suggested. I could drive smoke paperwork to redesignate my aircraft from S-SLA to E-SLA or experimental light sport. That would free me to upgrade my avionics as I see fit.

Has anyone done this? What are the pros and cons? Would this change the value of my aircraft? What are some caveats I should be aware of?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Jay Meinen

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A S-LSA can be rented or used for paid flight instruction. The immediate effect would be you could no longer do those two things by switching to experimental. I would think most owners are unconcerned about that but it could possibly affect resale value - the potential buyer is now considering purchasing an "experimental" rather a "factory" aircraft. Again, pretty inconsequential if you plan to keep the plane long-term - the savings and ease of doing your own modifications, maintenance, and annuals (you have to take a 16 hr. course if you didn't build the plane and want to do your own annual inspections) will likely more than make up for any theoretical loss of value. Once a S-LSA is converted to E-LSA, you can't ever switch it back.

I've also heard of some screwy insurance problems - in at least one instance an insurance company "would no longer provide full hull coverage because it was now an experimental." I say all that means is find a knowledgeable broker and a good insurance company! My broker/insurance (I use an independent aviation broker who shops the entire market and gets me rates better than the "alphabet"-associated brokers with AOPA, EAA, etc) has never had a problem getting me great rates for the full stated value of my experimental.



I shouldn't type late at night. I didn't catch an autocorrect error... At least it didn't correct to something embarrassing... ;-)

I am not planning to do any flight instruction or selling the airplane anytime soon. I was wondering about the resale value. Of course if I'm keeping the aircraft, that's a moot point.

I had not considered the insurance aspect of such a move. That's one reason that I love forums such as this. Getting others' opinions can be invaluable. I also have an insurance broker who seeks out the best rate. I'll drop him an email and see what he has to say about such a move.

Thanks for the reply.

I shouldn't type late at night. I didn't catch an autocorrect error... At least it didn't correct to something embarrassing... ;-)

That's OK, Jay ... I have "conversations" with my plane all the time - usually when I scratch my head on something while mucking around inside the belly hatch.  Needless to say, I won't repeat them here!   ;>)


There have been some discussions of doing this over on sportpilottalk.com message board.  I think you can search their message threads without being a member if you are disinclined to do that.  I know that a couple of people there have done this conversion but don't remember if they had any issues after the fact.  



Here's the link for the specific topic "Downgrade SLSA to ELSA", but note that this thread ranges from 2009 to 2013, so some of the information may be outdated.


Thanks, I'll check it out.

Thank you, I'll have a look.

It's my understanding that Zenair supports the S-LSA aircraft that were built by AMD. Contact Matt at Zenair for details: 705-526-2871

I'll give him a call. Thanks!


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