Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
You said the plane has been looked at by other builders, and builders being what they are I'm sure have pointed out any obvious items of concern, so it sounds like a case of normal jitters. Anyone from EAA looked at it? Tons of experience with DARs and regulations in that group.
I've had two inspected, and in both it was correct paperwork that was his main concern. DARs are all different, some can go to extremes with what they would like to inspect and see, but bottom line, it's EXPERIMENTAL, and you have a 601xl kit, and I can't see how you can really go wrong if you've used good techniques as you've described. Mine did a 5 minute check for anything obvious, made sure required placards were in place, and then we spent about 45 minutes going thru paperwork and sharing stories. Most enjoy the building of an aircraft as much as you, and it's not that they're trying to find anything wrong and bust you, they are genuinely interested in what you have built.
Take advantage of his knowledge and ask questions to gain insight on the local FSDO and FAA, and you'll make an invaluable friend. I still call mine up (he retired about a year ago) and ask him questions if I run into something I need answers on, and get an official FAA answer, and also real world answer.
Probably the most I've ever had jitters was on my check ride, because it meant so much to me. I'd guess you're feeling the same for the same reason. At the same time, the most I ever learned about flying in one session was on my check ride, and I bet your DAR inspection will prove to be the same.
Good luck, let us know!
Sounds like you shouldn't have any issues. Like Walt said in his reply, my DAR was much more concerned about the paperwork than he was the actual airplane. My one squawk was the batteries that I had installed in the ELT. The manual states the ELT is only certified to use Delco batteries. I had installed Everyready. The DAR let me run up to the local Homedepot and buy the "correct" batteries and install them. He would not leave until I proved to him the ELT had Delco batteries.
You might check Steve Freeman's page. He did have to have the DAR come back for a second time.
I received my Airworthiness ticket 3 weeks ago after 6 years of building.
I had not built a plane before and had not even been around aviation except for 35 years of dreams of building and reading EAA magazines.
Like you, I built largely according to plans. I threw some parts in the scrap pile in the corner and redid things till I was satisfied I could not do better. Eventually, it all riveted or bolted together.
My inspection , was by FAA suggested DAR ( not an EAA volunteer, but the only DAR in my area) and was very enjoyable in spite of my initial nervousness also. Charles spent 90 minutes looking in the cockpit, under, around and inside the bottom inspection hatch of my 650 asking questions and checking systems and their functionality.
After he was satisfied with that part of the inspection, we spent another 45 minutes going over paper work and assigned a flyoff area. He then signed things off and we parted ways.
I can only say that my experience was fun and enjoyable as well as informative.
My squawk was 2 safety wire installs needing modification and Charles laid on his back under N650SJ to tie one of them to show me what he would like to see in a safety wire.
I can only hope your experience will be as enjoyable.
Make sure your paperwork is all good.I followed the EAA publication work book on preparing for the inspection and was fortunate to have a buddy who built a nearly identical 650 share copies of his paper work with me.
This made the DAR happy when both the plane and paper work were in good condition.
Best of luck,
My first inspection went smooth with a couple of recommendations, but nothing that made the cert fail. On My second inspection (different Plane), the inspector said "yup, its a plane".
I was very fortunate ... my DAR insisted on doing most of the paperwork himself ! As has been demonstrated, getting the paperwork through the bureaucratic FAA is the hardest part of airworthiness certification and my DAR wanted to be sure the paperwork was perfect!
It always pays to have a "pre-inspection chat" with the DAR to get an idea of what to expect - that's when he said to let him do the paperwork (as much as he could do, anyway) and saved me from needlessly shuffling paper!
True story ... the DAR's wife came with him - she's a pilot, too. While her husband was inspecting the plane, we talked and she learned I was a retired OB/GYN, mostly doing surgery the last few years before retirement. She then walked around the plane and inspected some, too, and then walked up to her husband and said, "If I needed it, I'd let him operate on me!" ... Airworthiness granted! ;>)
Brad, saw your other post and congratulations! Could you share your DAR experience so others could get an idea?
Again, congrats, and thanks..
My experience pretty much echoed what others have written. The DAR did take a look at the plane but I think he was (rightfully) more concerned with making sure all of the documentation was correct and submitted properly to the feds. He also had me submit "draft" copies of the application for airworthiness then transposed my information onto the submitted forms.
Breaking the process down into two sections, Aircraft and paperwork; the aircraft portion went pretty smooth. I I tried to anticipate what areas he would want to see and made sure they were readily accessible. I pulled the spinner off the prop to show the crush plate and safety wires were correctly installed. I pulled the spar access panels to show that the bolts were insterted correctly. The inspection panels off the plane, etc.
I did get three squawks though; I didn't have a wet compass in the plane (I have the Dynon D-180) I didn't have the fuel fillers placarded with tank quantity and grade and I had placed "experimental" on the Pax side of the plane, which meant that it was not visible to the pilot as well as the Pax (My assumption being that I knew that the plane was experimental). He did express concern for the hingless ailerons and he seemed to pay close attention to the mass-balance on them as well. He commented that everything in the cockpit was marked and labelled. He looked under the removed cowl but did not ask me to start the engine. he checked that the dataplate was secured and the tailwheel springs were properly installed.
in regards to the paperwork end of it; I bough the EAA homebuilt aircraft certification packet which is available through EAA and Spruce then I bought a large three ring binder and a handful of page dividers. I made sure that all of my supporting documentation was in the proper order (IE: there is a section in the certification workbook that calls out that you have to perform an AD check with the feds. I had a corresponding section in the binder with those results. The next section in the book is to make sure that all manufacturer's updates were addressed so this was the next section in the binder and so on.) once all of that information was together I put that binder, my builder's log, construction photos, engine/airframe logs laid out on a card table for him to look at. One thing that he mentioned was he wanted the transponder certified prior to the inspection. I did and thankfully I scanned a copy of it in my laptop. he mentioned that he would have liked to see the altimeter certified as well as the transponder even if only the Xponder is required.
I reccomend that you decide on your DAR and contact him/her early on. I knew my DAR for almost 8 months prior to the inspection, ( but in that time I was able to find out what he wanted to see on the plane, I was able to submit all of my paperwork, etc)
Sorry if this was a bit long winded but if anyone has specific questions, please feel free to contact me
Great news, Brad. So, is he making you install a wet compass despite the D180?? This topic has gone round and round the forums so inquiring minds will want to know. I also have a D180, but already had a compass and cut a hole for it. I am pretty sure my FAA inspector would have let the D180 stand alone as he is not as narrow minded as others.
The DAR discretion seems to vary wildly! I had a wet compass installed but had not swung/corrected it ... my DAR didn't mention it at all.