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FAQ

Answers to your questions about homebuilt aircraft 

Questions

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Building your aircraft

Do I need to belong to SAANZ to build my own aircraft?
Does my aircraft have to meet the 51% rule?
May I design and build my own Amateur Built aircraft?
May I build a kitset aircraft under Amateur Built requirements? 
May I get another person to build Amateur Built aircraft for me?
May I maintain and repair an Amateur Built aircraft? 
May I modify an Amateur Built aircraft? 
Can I reserve unallocated registration letters for the aircraft I am building? 

 

Responsibilities, testing and airworthiness

Who is responsible for the workmanship and ultimate safety of the aircraft during building, modification and operation?
Does CAA inspect the aircraft at any stages before the initial flight?
May I test fly my own aircraft?
How long does an Amateur Built aircraft have to be tested before it can carry passengers?
How long does an airworthiness certificate last? 


Flying your aircraft

What sort of license is required to fly an Amateur Built aircraft in NZ?
Can I carry passengers in an Amateur Built aircraft?
May I charge passengers for a ride?
May I count my flight time in Amateur Built aircraft for other licenses?
May I learn to fly in an Amateur Built aircraft? 
Do I have to be rated on the aircraft?
What about single-seaters - do I have to be rated on these?
Are there any restrictions on where an Amateur Built aircraft may be flown? 

 

 

Answers 

Building your aircraft

Do I need to belong to SAANZ to build my own aircraft?

There is no requirement to join SAA or any other organisation unless your aircraft is a glider or microlight.
If you are building a glider or microlight, licensing and safety is overseen by the national governing bodies, of which you are required to be a member.

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Does my aircraft have to meet the 51% rule?

Yes if it is to be registered as a Special Category - Amateur Built aircraft.
No if it is to be registered as a microlight.

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May I design and build my own amateur built aircraft?

Yes. You would be expected to follow current aeronautical practice and use current design standards as the basis for your design.

You will also be required to supply proof of testing structures to substantiate your design for critical primary structures. This can be done by static load testing before final inspection.

Consultation with an aeronautical engineer on these points is strongly recommended.

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May I build a kitset aircraft under Special Category -Amateur Built requirements?

Yes, providing that you can prove to the CAA that you will be constructing a minimum of 51% of the aircraft.
The kitset manufacturer should be able to give you written assurance that their kit is a 51% kit. You should seek that assurance prior to commitment to purchase.

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May I get another person to build an amateur built aircraft for me?

No. You may get assistance from other persons but you must prove to the CAA, at time of final inspection, that you have completed a minimum of 51% of the construction. The main purpose of the 'Amateur Built' is for the education and recreation of the builder.

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May I maintain and repair an amateur built aircraft?

Yes, only if you are the builder and have sat and passed the exams for a CAA Maintenance Approval. If you are not the original builder you must obtain the services of a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. They must be rated on your aircraft and engine types.

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May I modify an amateur built aircraft?

Yes. However modifications which alter the primary structure, components or the aerodynamics must be notified to the CAA. The CAA will decide if flight testing is required to prove the safety of the modifications.

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Can I reserve unallocated registration letters for the aircraft I am building?

Yes. You may reserve a particular group of registration letters for your aircraft upon payment of the $40.00 registration application fee. This registration reservation will be held for a period of two years. At this point it is renewable upon payment of another registration application fee.

You should wait to make your application for the aircraft to enter the New Zealand register until 3-4 weeks prior to the CAA pre-flight inspection.

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Responsibilities and airworthiness

Who is responsible for the workmanship and ultimate safety of the aircraft during building, modification and operation?

The builder/owner is solely responsible for the workmanship, ultimate soundness, safety and serviceability of the aircraft.

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Does CAA inspect the aircraft at any stages before the initial flight?

Yes. Final inspection is carried out by the CAA. The depth of inspection depends on the quality of construction and details of records and photographs.

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May I test fly my own aircraft?

Yes, providing you meet the basic licensing and experience criteria laid down in FAA AC 90-89 Amateur Built Flight Testing Handbook.

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How long does an amateur built aircraft have to be tested before it can carry passengers?

For aircraft with certified engines and propellers, 25 hours minimum.
For aircraft with uncertified engines and/or propellers, 40 hours minimum.

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How long does an airworthiness certificate last?

Airworthiness certificates for amateur-built aircraft are non-terminating.

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Flying your aircraft

What sort of license is required to fly an amateur built aircraft in New Zealand?

A CAA Private Pilot License or higher. See Civil Aviation Rule Part 61 for details.

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Can I carry passengers in an amateur built aircraft?

Yes, if the aircraft has the seating and has successfully completed the experimental flight testing phase.

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May I charge passengers for a ride?

No. Amateur Built aircraft may only be used for private Sport and Recreational purposes and not for hire or reward.

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May I count my flight time in amateur built aircraft for other licenses?

Yes. Civil Aviation Rule Part 61 gives full details of what flight time can be counted.

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May I learn to fly in an amateur built aircraft?

Yes, if experimental flight testing is complete, your instructor agrees and certain aircraft requirements are met. See Civil Aviation Rule part 61 for details.

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Do I have to be rated on the aircraft?

Yes, you do have to be rated on the type of aircraft that you wish to fly

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What about single seaters - do I have to be rated on these?

Yes.

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Are there any restrictions on where an amateur built aircraft may be flown?

During the experimental flying phase under a Special Category - Experimental Airworthiness Certificate (issued for showing compliance with the Rule), it must remain in the designated flight test area.

Once cleared for a Special Category – Amateur Built Airworthiness Certificate (for operating an Amateur Built Aircraft) it may be flown for aerobatics, dual instruction, night or instrument flying providing the aircraft has been cleared by the CAA in the final Operating Limitations.

Aircraft used for instrument flying must be correctly equipped and maintained to the current IFR standards. Amateur Built aircraft shall not be operated over congested areas except with the written permission of the Director of Civil Aviation.

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Get in touch with Sport Aircraft Association NZ Inc

Adrienne Fillery
Administrator
Phone (09) 4050553

E-mail admin@saa.org.nz, or visit
www.saa.org.nz