Attention -Carl Gerker
The above Application package, was taxed, on July l2~2004 to the Van Nuys MIDO office and received by Mr. Carl Gerker at his request. (Copy enclosed with this communication)
In a follow up telephone call, Mr. Carl Gerker referred me to a conference / interview conducted by Mr. Wyman Shell, on or about July 19, 2004.
Mr. Shell stated a concern related to my specific request that N-69QT have (glider), in parentheses, appended to the Special Airworthiness Certificate, Section A, of that aircraft.
Mr. Shell appropriately asked what my intent was related to the glider "designation"
I stated my intent, as per my program letter; to explore the areas of soaring flight that included thermal soaring, orographic (ridge) soaring, and mountain wave soaring. This, to include measurements of minimum sink and LID ratios at various speeds. I also stated that I wished to participate at local gliding events requiring FAA Registration and Airworthiness Certification at Tehachapi, California City, LIano and Rosamond GliderPorts
These activities, to be conducted solely for my own recreation and education, as per AC 20-27-E, 4. Definitions, (a) Amateur-Built Aircraft
Mr. Shell stated concern that the Quicksilver MX N-69QT did not "Appear" to he a glider (self powered) and asked what constituted designation of this aircraft as a "glider".
I stated that the Quicksilver MX, with it's extremely light wing loading and slow speed made it very effective in it's ability to soar, engine off; for prolonged periods.
This ability is inherent in its slow speed, smaller turning radius and minimum sink properties. It allows this aircraft to center the strongest portion of the smallest thermals unlike faster "racing" glass ships. I stated that because of the Quicksilver MX design with its parasitic drag and high lift wing induced drag, the LID is compromised and that the Quicksilver is not a good candidate for cross-country soaring. But, this feature is common of most trainer type gliders. Example - Schwietzer 2-33)
Mr. Shell asked if I was
a Certificated Private Pilot.
Shell stated that he was very familiar with the Quicksilver Manufacturing
Company, and stated that he had never seen mention of soaring or gliding in
their advertising literature.
I stated that there is anecdotal evidence in the community related to soaring this and other Ultralight- Iike kit aircraft. And, that I have been soaring THIS particular vehicle, under Part 103, over the last 14 years.
Again, there is no requirement for a kit manufacturer to state a purpose or intent (aerobatics, race, high altitude, or soaring) for the purposes of Experimental Airworthiness.
As Per AC 2~27E, 7. FAA Inspection Criteria.
(a) "The Amateur-built program is designed to permit persons to build an aircraft solely for their educational or recreational purposes.
Amateur Builders are free to develop their own designs or build from existing designs. The FAA does not approve those designs nor would it be practical to develop design standards for the multitude of unique design configurations generated by designers, kit manufacturers, and amateur builders.
Upon completion of the building process' the FAA inspects the aircraft, to verify to the extent feasible, the use of acceptable workmanship methods, techniques, and Practices, and then issues as airworthiness certificate with the appropriate operating limitations,"
As per AC 21-12B c. Section 111(4) Item D. Certification.
"NOTE: The term airworthy, as stated in the FAA Order 8130.2, Airworthiness Certification of Aircraft and related Products, means (1) the aircraft conforms to It's type design and (2) the aircraft is in a condition for safe operation. In the case of an application for an aircraft in the experimental category, only the "AIRCRAFT IS IN A CONDITION FOR SAFE OPERATION" portion of the definition would apply for the purpose of this application."
In my Program letter, I requested Operating Limitations consistent with AC 20-27 E13 (a)
FAA (MIDO -FSDO) has latitude in it's issuance of Operating Limitations.But, I would expect that those limitations to conform closely to those that have been previously issued to hundreds of other Quicksilver MX Experimental kit aircraft in the amateur built or exhibition subcategory.
Mr. Shell and I also discussed the "Major portion" or "51%" issue as it relates to the Quicksilver MX(Super). It was noted that this kit was accepted and listed within the FAA listing of acceptable major portion kits dated 01/30/85 and INCLUDED in the CURRENT Revised listing dated 06/16/2004.
It was also noted that there are over 100 examples of MX series kits that have been and are currently Certificated Amateur-Built.
The primary purpose of this listing is to assist FAA Inspectors(Designees and other interested individuals by eliminating the duplication of evaluations for "major portion" determination when the aircraft is presented for airworthiness certification as an "Amateur-Built experimental"
Upon the end of our telephone conversation, July 19, 2004, Mr. Shell agreed that airworthiness, Amateur-Built, with glider designation, was appropriate and that he would relay this to Mr. Gerker and forward (FAX) my application as approved to Mr. Reitenbach -DAR to proceed with onsight inspection, with the Application approved for Purpose, Category and Designation.
I called Mr. Reitenbach-DAR to notify him that he should expect the above from, Mr. Shell. An Inspection was scheduled for the 2nd week in August 2004
After 3 weeks, on or about August 2, 2004, I contacted Mr. Reitenhach to follow up and re-confirm our inspection date. Mr. Reitenhach stated that he had not yet received any communication from Mr. Shell or Mr. Gerker.
I called Mr. Shell, at Van Nuys MIDO, and he at first informed me that he had forgotten to send or FAX the Application. He then stated that he had again discussed the application with Mr. Gerker.
Upon further conversation, Mr. Shell again stated his and Mr. Gerkers' concern that Quicksilver Manufacturing had never made reference to soaring in their advertising literature. And, based upon this, and only this, that he would have to deny my request for Airworthiness under glider designation. He again asked my intentions and qualifications. But this time he seemed less interested as I went over the previous details.
Mr. Shell also stated that they would he unable to Certify as Amateur-Built because of the "bolt together" nature of the kit. This, I believe, in further attempt to dissuade me from my goal to Obtain FAA airworthiness certification. I attempted to point out that the Quicksilver MX (super) IS listed with FAA under "major portion" "51%" as of 0l/30/85. AND, within the latest revision 06/16/2004.
AND, that hundreds of examples of this very same single and two place kits are currently registered and airworthied as Amateur Built.
Examples attached for reference. -
I stated that Exhibition/Race group 1 would he acceptable if Amateur built was in question. Mr. Shell quickly reverted back to the premise of "non-conforming" glider designation.
I attempted to discuss the relevant Advisory Circulars (20-27, 21-12B and 21-17-2 and 8130-2E) Mr. Shell stated that he would not argue regulations with me and was not amenable to discussion or guidance related to any form of registration or airworthiness for this "Ultralight".
FAA has encouraged and required registration / certification of all aircraft, including "ultralight-like" aircraft. As well, FAA encourages and requires Pilot Certification of all pilots, including those that fly "ultralight-like" aircraft. Mr. Shell appears to be attempting to circumvent this through his own personal subjective opinions as to what an aircraft ‘is’ what regulations apply, and what guidance to follow.
Mr. Shell and Mr. Gerber, representing Van Nuys MIDO and FAA, have shown contradictory policy related to the Airworthiness of many other aircraft in the Experimental (glider) designation.
Example is noted by the Airworthiness Certification of Burt Rutan's SPACESHIP ONE ~238KF) as a glider. This Experimental aircraft is 3000+lbs., has a 16-ft wingspan, and carries 3 persons. It is Registered and Airworthied as Experimental Glider. As well, this MIDO boasts of its "accomplishment" in that Certification process on its web site and newsletter. It is obvious that there is no intent to soar this aircraft (a stated FAA requirement) and that it does not meet AC 21 - I 7-2A "guidance" for Type Certification of powered gliders.
Mr. Shell stated that Rutan's airworthiness was acceptable because of the "Research/Development" Purpose. There is no stipulation within the Advisory Circulars or 8130-2E to support this "exception"
Mr. Gerber stated that the SPACESHIP ONE "glider" designation was due to the operational area above 60,OOOft. with FAA having no jurisdictional authority.
Again, this is not a stipulation, nor even true. SPACESHIP ONE has had ALL of its rocket propelled flights originate between 43,OOOft and 48,OOOft. (see attachment) while reaching speeds of MACH 1.5 in that airspace. Nor, has the aircraft (White Knight) ever demonstrated nor is capable of reaching FL6O, even without the added weight of the glider N328KF in captive carry attached
Example attached -.
Other more appropriate but "unconventional" examples include the Certification of weight-shift trikes in the Glider designation. Mr. Shell was unaware of these type aircraft.
These "Ultralight-like" aircraft may be registered and airworthied in EITHER the Experimental airplane or glider designation. They have very little or no ability to soar and do not conform to AC 21 - I 7-2A. These examples are located throughout the United States, with many within the Jurisdiction of the Western Pacific Region MIDO
Examples on attachment-
FAA has made reference to these Weight-Shift Aircraft to be Registered Experimental Glider in its latest release for Certification of Aircraft and Airmen for the Operation of Light Sport Aircraft". Example [4910-13]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Page 178 Quote
"It should be noted that persons wishing to operate weight-shift-control aircraft or powered parachutes while exercising sport pilot privileges, but not private pilot privileges, may do so under this rule."
"In addition, under current rules, a weight~shift control aircraft can be operated as an experimental powered glider, with an endorsement for seff-launching, without an airman medical certificate."
These above "current rules" (AC 2~27, 8130.2 and 21-12B and Parts 61,91,43) are related to Certification of Experimental Aircraft and pilots and do not specifically state or address Weight-Shift-Control or powered Parachutes
They are inherent in the CURRENT and existing regulatory process' related to the registration and airworthiness of Experimental aircraft, because there are NO design standards, criteria or type conformity requirements within those "current rules".
It was also discussed with Mr. Shell that there are many other "unconventional" aircraft that are currently registered and airworthied as glider (motorized) that may not agree with his personal belief as to "appropriateness" (ie; Grob 109, Europa, Xirnano, Xenos, Diamond Katana, Pipistrel, and Capronni jet powered gliders).
Canard, pusher, tractor, biplane and amphibious gliders were also noted.
Many of these gliders are primarily "Touring Motorgliders" both Standard and Special Experimental category, with the intent of long distance powered flight and only the occasional power off soaring. Their configurations are more like conventional airplanes, with side by side seating, tricycle gear, 1OOhp+ engines, and cruise speeds in excess of 130mph. The airforce cadet academy makes use of this type aircraft "motorglider".at their training facilities in Denver.
The Experimental designation is at the discretion of the builder, not the inspector or DAR, as to how the aircraft is registered and airworthied. The inspector or DAR only to confirm that the requirements are met for the Certification requested as per 20-27-E (e)
Quote- "However, the FAA may deny airworthiness certification if, upon the inspection, the aircraft does not meet the requirements for the certification requested and is not in a condition for safe operation." End quote-
What is the "Certification requested"?
Special - Experimental - Amateur Built. Is the Certification Requested
Inspection is for workmanship, placarding, Weight and Balance, Amateur built documentation requirements and among other things, issuance of appropriate operating limitations. It does NOT include assessment of the design criteria or definitions as per FAR 1.1 and AC 21-17-2.
Please see the attached FAA Power Point presentation "Basics for Certification of Amateur-Built Aircraft". This presentation is utilized for the training of new inspectors and DARs. Please note "speakers notes that accompany the slide presentations. This complete 75 slide teaching tool may be accessed at FAA AIR 220 Aviation PowerPoint Presentation Repository
Access the Speakers notes by right clicking to full screen, then right click again for the speakers notes This FAA teaching tool may be a good reference for Mr. Gerber, Mr. Shell and area DARs
My aircraft, Quicksilver MX N69QT, as configured, does not meet the more stringent requirements of AC 20-17b for type certification of powered gliders. (AND by NOT having a Certificated engine/propeller combination it actually puts it, AND ALL OTHER currently Certificated experimental powered gliders outside of the requirements of this AC)
But then again, these are not STANDARD airworthy aircraft and are not subject to THAT or any other design criteria.
8130-2 Paragraph 121(d) states, that if an aircraft "clearly" has the characteristics of a glider, then (glider), in parentheses, may be appended to the Special Airworthiness Certificate after Category/Designation ie; Experimental/(glider)
N69QT "clearly" has the characteristics of a basic glider as opposed to an airplane, by its design light wing loading, slow speed, minimum sink' high lift wing (induced drag), exposed structure (parasitic drag), pusher prop, single spark ignition, auto fuel only, oil premixed 2 cycle engine operation, 5 gallon capacity, single place configuration, with markedly limited cross country capability.
This powered Quicksilver MX design is a descendent of the original foot launched rigid wing Eppier glider. Just as are the previously mentioned Weight-shift Trikes descendents of hang gliders.
Mr. Shell expressed concern related to the safety of the public and airways as it relates to this registration and airworthiness of N 69QT, specifically as a glider.
The Quicksilver MX may he registered and airworthied in many different ways. "Glider" does not grant any greater privileges or lesser safety margins than any of the following possible registration avenues.
Clearly, and historically, this "ultralight-like" aircraft kit, the Quicksilver MX, may he currently Airworthied as an experimental AIRPLANE, with the full privileges and limitations afforded any other Experimental AIRPLANE in the Phase I and Phase 2 operating periods.
And, hundreds of these specific kit models have been and are currently airworthied as such with "boiler plate" operating limitations that conform to all other experimental AIRPLANES.
Including, but not limited to over-flight of congested areas, night operations, flight into Class B, C, D and Mode-C controlled airspace's and into the airports underlying those spaces.
Appropriately rated pilots with current medical certificates conduct these flights
Upon September 1, 2004, these same CURRENTLY registered "ultralight-like" MX AIRPLANES will now be able to be flown by Private and Recreational pilots without a medical certificate. They will also be flown by pilots with a much lesser standard of training, Sport Pilots, without a medical certificate, into and over these same airspace's and congested areas. Many of these Sport Pilots will have NO formal FAA training what-so~ever as they will be "grandfathered" into the Certification process..
As well, another new category of aircraft designation will be made available to this aircraft. Experimental Light Sport Aircraft (ELSA).
ELSA category will allow these very same kit aircraft (Quicksilver MX) to be registered and airworthied as AIRPLANE or GLIDER, but without the requirements of bill of sale, receipts, builders log, photographs, affidavits and notarized elegability
The owner of such ELSA will be able to attend a minimal 16 hour mechanics course that will allow for maintenance and Condition Inspection sign~off of this aircraft. The owner need never have torqued or safetied a nut in his life.
Currently, and to continue, my aircraft, N69QT may easily be re-configured to meet the weight requirements of a Part 103 VEHICLE.
No pilot training, no certificate and no medical are required. The VEHICLE is not required to meet any parts related to certification, inspection or Parts 43, 61, or 91.
No condition inspections, and no placarding is required.
As such, this VEHICLE may be flown into all of the above airspaces and airports with "prior authorization", just as G.A. aircraft receive radio "prior authorization". As per Part 103, It may be flown over any city, town or settlement as long as it is not over a "congested area "OF" that city, town or settlement.
There is no restriction to altitude, no transponder requirements or Oxygen requirements upward to Class A. I 8,OOO ft. A Transponder is not required in Mode~C veil.
I am only requesting a very conservative registration/airworthy process that will allow me to participate in local gliding events that are predominantly in Class E and G air spaces during clear daylight fair weather. This glider has specific design properties that make it excel in specific flight conditions related to soaring.
I do not wish to fly into or over congested areas or Class C airspace with this aircraft. I already own an AIRPLANE for cross-country travel.
But, I do not wish to have inappropriately restrictive Operating Limitations applied either. I expect the Standard Operational Limitations that are usual and customary.
I Wish to comply with FAA's mandate for all aircraft to be registered and their pilots Certificated.
My intention is to soar with this aircraft, designated as a glider, powered, self launch for the purpose of my own recreation and education and competition.
If forced to Register and Airworthy as an AIRPLANE (Experimental, AB, Exhibition, or ELSA), I would then take full advantage of that particular aircraft Certification and my Private Pilot privileges.
lf my airworthiness application for glider) is denied, I would expect the Inspector (not the DAR) to provide to me a letter stating the reason(s) for denying the airworthiness certificate, with SPECIFIC reference to the particular and specific AC's, FARs, and Orders used in that determination as Referenced in section 2I.I93~ and order 8130.2
Due to the previous confused "guidance" provided to Mr. Reitenbach DAR, his lack of experience related to Glider Certification along with the tube and sail type construction of this particular aircraft, I am now requesting that an FAA inspector perform the Airworthy Certification process.
Other DARs in the area are also not appropriate to this category/designation or construction type.
The Amateur-Built determination appears to be quite subjective to the individual inspector related to his interpretation of "adequate" construction logbook entries, enough pictures and receipts.
Because of this, I request that if my documentation is "judged" inadequate, the more restrictive and limited category, Exhibition, Group I, Racing, with the applicable Operating Limitations be instituted at that time of inspection.
A Program letter is ready to be to be supplied to the district FSDO.
The intent is to participate in and practice for glider competitions throughout various parts of the country. I request "guidance" to this change as it relates to the FAA Registration portion of this Airworthy Certification.
Thank you for your expeditious processing of my Application for Airworthiness, whatever designation is finally agreed upon.
Faxed letter and attachments
Gardner, AFS-820 National Program Manager Sport and Recreational Aviation
Marion Blakely, Administrator Department of Transportation
Original with attachments and enclosures mailed to Van Nuys MIDO, CIO Wyman Shell 08-25-2004