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Tell us about your experience with your local DAR, we don't have to have names, but it might be nice if you have a knowledgeable supportive one that understands what EAB means (Experimental Amateur Built). Please share, I still don't have a clear answer, and I talked to 2 of them, at the expense of the gas in mileage.
What did it take to get your Airworthiness?
My guy was "only" $500 and I figured that for driving 2 hrs each way, spending 90 minutes out in the 90%+ humidity (I think the "feels like" temp was 95F), that was money well earned.
I would pay $1000 to have that kind of DAR.
If you get your Airworthiness without a hassle and ametuers did 51% of the build, that's what I believe is right.
He also stated it the way I understand it, they aren't there to say its safe to fly, you could of built it out of who knows what and didn't use any standard materials. In our case we bought a kit, that if you decide to follow Zeniths recommendations there is some guarantee it will have certain flight chatacteristics, used approved materials, in a proven airframe. 2 DARs I talked I think get confused thinking since I bought a kit the EAB rules don't apply. Zenith is not liable even if you build it perfectly to their recommendations. The FAA is not liable even if you do or you don't follow Zenith's recommendations and guidelines. You should be able to do all the mods you want, its EAB. But if you deviate from Zeniths recommendations you are adding a level of risk only because those mods may not of been proven by Zenith or other builders/flyers, but its not grounds to not get your Airworthiness under EAB of the special Airworthiness category for educational and recreational purpose that we nearly all build under. Using a certain rated bolt is a safer bet, its not required, you can us a bolt from Ace hardware, but I wouldn't recommend it. All opinions based on my reading the regs.
When I called Zenith asking about mods, they said go ahead its not their business what I do with my EAB build. They will answer questions on how Zenith would build one, because they stick with their proven design. They just sold me a bunch of predrilled aluminum and parts, that when assembled per plans, will fly and look a lot their factory planes. But building per plans is optional. Guys this is not canan, it's one crazy guys opinion.
Chime in or Like if this is your understanding...
Or make corrections.
Wow - that's a real eye-opener about some of those fees!
I didn't even entertain the idea using my local FAA FSDO rather than a DAR! The first time I called the FSDO during the build of my STOL 750, the FAA bureaucrat on the other end of the line said, "You know there's an AD out on that plane, don't you?" Of course, I knew 2 things: (1) There is no such thing as an AD on an experimental airplane, and (2) There certainly wasn't an "AD" on the STOL 750! (I think he was thinking of the 601 Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin). He then said, "Yeah, you'll have to completely rebuild that wing!" At that point I immediately decided two things: (1) Just agree with him to get him off the phone - you can't argue with the FAA! - and, (2) find a DAR that was knowledgeable about EAB!
At the time of my build 6 years ago, the DAR charged about $350 and that included 2 hours of travel one-way. He did a thorough inspection and all the paperwork, so I felt it was a bargain! :>)
For even more laughs from your friendly FAA, see this: "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the FSDO!" ;>)