New to LAA, rules & regs etc

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New to LAA, rules & regs etc

Postby Rob Michie » Tue May 27, 2014 6:43 pm

Hello all,
My name is Rob and I've just recently joined the LAA.
Not sure if this is the correct section in the forum, so please feel free to move it or point me that direction!

I'm looking into purchasing a Cassutt Racer for the purposes of Air Racing. This will be the first aircraft I have ever owned and also the first time in using an aircraft that falls under the LAA rules.

My choices so far have come down to a couple of aircraft in the UK, France or the USA. As with most people my budget is not endless so value for money is key especially with the idea of racing!
I'm forming a team currently with a friend of mine and our current goal is Reno air races in 2015 competing in the F1 class and the Jet class.

With this in mind many of the aircraft that I have found in the USA are very attractive value for money wise especially as most have been raced there already. Prices seem to range from $30-50'000 for a complete race ready aircraft. In comparison the Cassutts I've seen so far in Europe are about £13-21'000 which is the same kind of money but they are largely stock.
My big question though is how difficult it would be to import a US registered aircraft into the UK and re-register/certify it here to allow us to fly it and work on it here prior to transport to the US next year to race? (and hopefully compete in the European series at a later date).

Whilst many European Cassutts are in very nice condition they tend not to be on the same customised level as the racers I have looked at so far.
If we bought a stock Cassutt, realistically how expensive and difficult would it be to certify a different wing, tail plane assembly etc?

Thanks in advance for your replies, I have sooooo many questions and still so few answers! :shock: :mrgreen:
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Re: New to LAA, rules & regs etc

Postby Brian Hope » Wed May 28, 2014 8:49 am

Hi Rob, the first thing to say is that the airworthiness regimes for homebuilt aircraft are very different not only between the US and Europe, but also between the EU States. For the homebuilt aircraft buyer or builder that can make life rather complicated.
Here in the UK we have a more regulated regime than some and an aircraft has to be an approved design to operate here. The Cassutt is approved, a good start, but that approval will be based on a ‘standard’ specification which will be stated in the type’s TADS, its Type Acceptance Data Sheet, which outlines the spec of the approved aircraft. There may not be a formal TADS for the Cassutt at the moment as it is a developing system, but the Engineering Department will be able to provide the necessary information.
Inevitably builders will want to modify their aircraft, and those modifications will need to be approved before they are carried out. For instance, I recall that somebody here in the UK did build a composite wing for the Cassutt some years ago, when F1 air racing was still active here. That wing will have had to have gone through the modification approval process, though that does not necessarily mean drawings are available for somebody else to build it should they choose to do so. There may well be other approved modifications for the type, you will have to do some research with LAA Engineering to find out.
Buying an aircraft for the US or anywhere outside of the UK can be problematic. For instance a highly modified racing Cassutt will undoubtedly be very different from the ‘standard’ UK approved Cassutt and you may well have to prove the integrity of the modifications. If, as is likely, the modifications do not have a comprehensive design dossier supporting them, UK approval could entail a lot of work on your part. If you are considering an import do your homework and do consult with the Engineering department. It may well be you’d be better off buying a good UK example and improving on that bit by bit as racing experience is gained.
There are a number of Technical Leaflets on the LAA website about building, modifying etc., LAA Permit to Fly aircraft which outline the requirements. These, I hope, will clear up some of your queries.
Good luck with the project, it sounds like it will be a lot of fun.
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Re: New to LAA, rules & regs etc

Postby Rob Michie » Thu May 29, 2014 2:44 pm

Thanks very much for you reply.
I thought there may be an issue with US imports but wasn't aware of an issue with European
imports. One particular aircraft I have been looking at is located in France so this could be an issue.

Is the engineering email (engineering@laa.uk.com) the best way to contact them?

Thanks!
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Re: New to LAA, rules & regs etc

Postby Ian Melville » Thu May 29, 2014 6:17 pm

No, Phone is still best.
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Re: New to LAA, rules & regs etc

Postby Nigel Kerr » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:27 pm

Hi Ian, I noticed that you suggested that the telephone is the best way to contact LAA engineering - is that still the case?

For most people it's a tad easier to fire off an en email and mull over a response at leisure than to script a call then transcribe a contemporaneous note - or is it better to simply write in the first place by snail mail.

Or is it even better to drop into LAA engineering after telephoning for an appointment?
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Re: New to LAA, rules & regs etc

Postby John Dean » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:53 pm

If you are at the Rally this weekend I am sure someone from Engineering will be there and you could ask them how they prefer to be contacted.
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Re: New to LAA, rules & regs etc

Postby 4535jacks » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:20 pm

I would hope that in two years, he has established contact!!
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Re: New to LAA, rules & regs etc

Postby Ian Melville » Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:30 am

Gary, it is a different person asking if the situation is still the same as it was over two years ago, so John's response is perfectly valid.

For the record email response has improved. You now get an acknowledgement in short order, After that it is still a bit variable in timescale due to Engineering workload. I understand that this is something that Steve Slater has in his sights to resolve.
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Re: New to LAA, rules & regs etc

Postby 4535jacks » Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:13 am

My mistake, I thought someone was accidentally replying to a 2 year thread!
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Re: New to LAA, rules & regs etc

Postby Nigel Kerr » Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:26 pm

As far as threads are concerned I think it is a basic courtesy for the originator to come back and underscore the thread with the result.

My query was based on a concern that if you telephoned the LAA with a query and had a response that was later found to be incorrect it would be difficult to ascertain if the question was inaccurately posed, was misunderstood or incorrectly answered. At least if you had a response by email you have a paper trail to follow in order to enlighten yourself.

(I'm not talking about someone getting the go ahead over the phone to put a Merlin engine in a Vans, just much simpler things.)
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Re: New to LAA, rules & regs etc

Postby Ian Melville » Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:31 am

Quite agree Nigel, and one of those things that irks me. I have poor hearing on the telephone, and prefer written communication so there is no misunderstanding when talking technical.
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