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Categories and Ratings for Experimentals

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On the other web-based forum, some of us Hatfields and McCoys got into prolonged discussions about whether or not it was legal for single engine land pilots to fly experimental multi-engine and experimental seaplanes. The answer is, "Yes you can", as long as you're not carrying passengers.


To keep this list up to speed, I'm cross posting.


As of April 21, 2005, the FAA has closed this loophole when flying with a passenger. Read: http://eaa.org/communications/eaane...509_rating.html.


This new rule requires a person (with a recreational pilot certificate or higher) to hold the appropriate aircraft category and class rating when carrying a passenger in an aircraft that holds an experimental airworthiness certificate. This new policy does not apply to pilots flying experimental aircraft who do not carry passengers.


So if you want to fly your Defiant solo (or solo in any other experimental twin-jobber), go right ahead, you DON'T need a multi-engine rating. If you want to fly an experimental seaplane, you DON'T need a seaplane rating as long as you're solo.


But if you want to take your friend along in a Defiant, you must have a multi-engine rating. If your friend wants to fly in your nice Glastar equipped with floats, you now need a seaplane rating.


Why close this loophole? I quote from the FAA Notice:


"The new subparagraph was issued because the FAA determined there had been an unacceptable trend in the numbers of accidents of experimental aircraft with passengers aboard. The FAA believes some of these accidents occurred because of the inexperience of the pilots in the specific category and class of aircraft. As the FAA stated in the final rule, “ . . . For [flight operations in an experimental aircraft] without a passenger, the FAA will continue to address on a case-by-case basis the specific requirements for category and class ratings through the operating limitations issued for each experimental aircraft.”


The Notice (N 8700.42) provides a “grandfather” clause allowing current pilots without the required ratings a limited window of opportunity (through August 31, 2005) to obtain them.




"Category" is the broad classification of aircraft -- airplane; rotorcraft; glider; and lighter-than-air; and when used with respect to the certification of aircraft, means a grouping of aircraft based upon intended use or operating limitations. Examples include: transport, normal, utility, acrobatic, limited, restricted, and provisional.


"Class" means a classification of aircraft within a category having similar operating and/or propulsion characteristics. Examples include: single engine; multiengine; land; water; gyroplane; helicopter; airship; and free balloon; and when used with respect to the certification of aircraft, means a broad grouping of aircraft having similar characteristics of propulsion, flight, or landing. Examples include: airplane; rotorcraft; glider; balloon; landplane; and seaplane.

Wayne Hicks

Cozy IV Plans #678


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So for all the Defiant builders, they'll have to add additional time on top of the 5,000 hours to build to acquire a multi-engine rating. What's involved with that? I can't imagine anyone who'd be satisfied with building a Defiant and then NOT being able to take someone up.


Any other opinions on this? Some might be screaming conspiracy, but with Sport Pilot opening things up I don't see the FAA in this position. It's one thing I'm impressed with after 9/11 -- Americans continue to be allowed to fly without hardly any new restrictions.

Jon Matcho :busy:
Builder & Canard Zone Admin
Now:  Rebuilding Quickie Tri-Q200 N479E
Next:  Resume building a Cozy Mark IV

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So for all the Defiant builders, they'll have to add additional time on top of the 5,000 hours to build to acquire a multi-engine rating. What's involved with that?

Once you have a PP-SEL, you can get a multi rating in a day or two, for $1500 bucks or less. Hardly a stopper.
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  • 17 years later...

Can anyone shed some light on this FAR and associated logbook endorsement posted below? Newby here just getting started in the Canard world. Is this saying that I could get an additional class added to my cert if I had 5 hours in my Varieze between September 1, 2004 and August 31, 2005?? What is significant about those dates? Google doesn't provide any answers. 

FAR 61.63 Additional aircraft ratings (other than for ratings at the airline transport pilot certification level).

a. General. For an additional aircraft rating on a pilot certificate, other than for an airline transport pilot certificate, a person must meet the requirements of this section appropriate to the additional aircraft rating sought.

(h) Aircraft category and class rating for the operation of aircraft with an experimental certificate. A person holding a recreational, private, or commercial pilot certificate may apply for a category and class rating limited to a specific make and model of experimental aircraft, provided -

(1) The person logged 5 hours flight time while acting as pilot in command in the same category, class, make, and model of aircraft.

(2) The person received a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor who determined the pilot's proficiency to act as pilot in command of the same category, class, make, and model of aircraft.

(3) The flight time specified under paragraph (h)(1) of this section was logged between September 1, 2004 and August 31, 2005.

Endorsement: Experimental aircraft onlyadditional aircraft category or class rating (other than ATP): § 61.63(h). I certify that (First name, MI, Last name), (grade of pilot certificate), (certificate number), as required by § 61.63(h) is proficient to act as PIC in a (category, class, make, and model) of experimental aircraft and has logged at least 5 hours flight time logged between September 1, 2004, and August 31, 2005, while acting as PIC in (name the aircraft category/class rating and make and model) that has been issued an experimental certificate.

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Since a Varieze is a Airplane, Single Engine Land aircraft, the only category or class for which time logged between 9/1/2004 and 8/31/2005 would be useful for an endorsement would be for ASEL. And assumedly, if you already have a Pilot's certificate and logbook endorsements that states ASEL, this doesn't get you anything.

No idea why those dates are in there - probably some transition period for a change in the rules at the time.

If you have an ASEL certificate in the USA, you're legal to fly a VE, LE, COZY, Berkut, E-Racer, whatever. If the plane has >200HP, you'll need a High Power endorsement. In the USA, you never need a Complex endorsement, since none of these planes have flaps.

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