So exactly ten years after ordering my 601xl kit I am finally ready for my airworthiness inspection-and I'm scared to death!
I have no idea what to expect. I've built the plane according to plans save for a few minor changes.
The airplane has been looked at by other builders and curious bystanders and I have heard nothing but compliments. I have used good techniques and approved hardware from reputable vendors,ut I can't help but fear that the DAR will get a good chuckle as he slaps me on the back and say "no, seriously, call me when you're done"
I'm sure there will be squawks that have to be addressed, but has anyone ever "failed" an airworthiness inspection? Conversely, has anyone ever passed without squawks?
In general, what am I in for on 12/20/14?

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I'm not sure that the DAR would have any real "discretion" regarding something like this. It would seem to me that either the DAR knows the regulation and is following it, or he doesn't know the regulation and is basing his decision on something else. But I don't think he would be allowed discretion on whether or not a wet compass is required equipment. It seems the regulations would spell this out. I know we have DARs out there reading this. How about chiming in?

I don't think it's a discretion for how the FAR's are applied, I think it's in the DAR's interpretation of how the regs are written

To really start a heated debate, ask someone to show you specifically where the required instruments are listed for day VFR in an experimental aircraft………..

And, to really alienate yourself from the local Flight School, tell them you want to become a CFI but don't want to be IFR qualified. (you don't have to be)

Bottom line, sometimes five different DARS or five different FSDOs will give you five different answers. Oklahoma always is the final answer. 

Walt Snyder

And  though off thread, here's another bar bet question, "Are landing lights required on your Zenith for night flight? 

Answer, No, only if you have a passenger…..

Walt Snyder

Discretion might not be the best word, but there have been numerous instances of both DAR's and FAA inspectors "requiring" various equipment or prohibiting modifications of plans or kit built aircraft that have absolutely no FAA regulation to back them up! One glaring example is one DAR telling a builder he could NOT remove the slats from a 750 and pass his airworthiness certification and my DAR telling me it was just fine to go ahead with my AW certification WITHOUT the slats. There's no regulation relative to this whatsoever! Go figure!

However, in the "real world," the hapless builder is usually foolish to argue the regs with their DAR or the FAA, after all, they hold all the cards!


"FAA- we're not happy until you're not happy"

"I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."

"I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

I can see the varying opinions regarding the slats. In one case you have an uninformed opinion, and in the other case, a well informed opinion, with no specific regulation to back up either. In such a situation it's easy enough to see that there could be disagreement. And there can't be a regulation to cover absolutely everything.

But in the case of the whiskey compass and whether or not it is required if one already has a magnetic direction indicator, I have to believe that is covered somewhere in the regs. And part of what we are paying the DAR to do is to correctly apply the regs. If he doesn't do that, he's not doing his job.

But like John says, they hold all the cards.

I wonder what the DARs out there who are reading this discussion have to say?

I hate to pick apart the inspection because I don't want to come across as critical or dissatisfied, I'm (obviously) happy with the outcome. Having said that, the focus seemed to be on compliance with the FAR's (transponder and Alt certification), having the paperwork in order, etc. I would almost say to not only go by the EAA certification guide but also have a copy of the FAR's (maybe a current AIM?) Planeside so any questions about applicability of a certain FAR (such as the requirement for a standby compass) can be answered on-site

My DAR was very specific in stating the compass of my Dynon Skyview was adequate and acceptable. I do not have a whiskey compass backup.

I am aware of much variety in experiences with inspections from reports here.

My inspector was very thorough in looking at the plane and its systems. In retrospect, I would have been disappointed with anything less.

We had discussed the paperwork at length ahead of time and I had my forms completed and he arrived with his forms completed. This seemed to really expedite that portion of the inspection. All we had to finish were the signatures when he was satisfied.

When I asked him about his experiences with inspecting home built aircraft, he said he only had one really bad previous experience. He indicated that after he had walked in the hanger and glanced at the plane and the surrounding area, his comment was, "This is not happening today, no way, no how".

He said after much work and modification, the plane eventually passed.

The DAR world probably has posts about home builders the same way we do about DARs.


Brad, good call on picking your battles, bottom line is you received you certificate. You do not have to have a wet compass, I have none on two other experimentals that I built and none on my 750. I had a very sharp DAR that would not hesitate to call Oklahoma to clarify any issue, and he has done so with other questions I have had related to experimentals.

For instance, I had a DAR across from my hanger do a preliminary inspection as a "favor", and he said I needed a certain type of coaxial for my radio (I could use clothes line wire if I wanted to) and I needed and ELT (I don't, not required for a single seater) I thanked him, and that further confirmed some have little idiosyncrasies that may have to do with their background, and it's best to just smile and say you'll take care of it. I lucked out with the DAR that eventually did my others. he is really a gem and a wealth of information. 

Sounds like you got a good nights sleep, and again, congratulations, and looking forward to pictures and trip reports. Thanks again for posting you experience, I'm sure it will help calm the jitters on other future builders.

Walt Snyder


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