Thursday, October 24, 2019
Liability in Homebuilt Aircraft :: Essays Papers
Liability in Homebuilt Aircraft Homebuilt aircraft are considered to be the fastest growing segment of aviation during the last two decades. Naturally with the increase in these aircraft will also come an increase in accidents. Accidents like the 1997 Long E-Z crash that killed John Denver have raised questions about who is legally liable: the kit manufacturer, amateur builder, or pilot? (Kolczynski, 1) Homebuilt aircraft liability litigation is expected to develop into a booming new industry in the coming future. During the 1970s and 80s production of single engine factory built aircraft has virtually come to a halt. With many product liability lawsuits, which led to large verdicts against the manufacturers of the single engine aircraft, manufacturers slowly dropped out the single engine aircraft business. With no more single engine aircraft being built used single engine aircraft have dramatically increased in price. These events have led to an increase in homebuilt aircraft that cost a fraction of the price of a previously owned Cessna, Beechcraft, or Piper. Another boost to homebuilt aircraft has been the FAA. In the role of promoting air commerce, the FAA has supported regulations and advisory circulars that encourage the development of homebuilt aircraft; for example Advisory Circular 20.27d. (Kolczynski, 2) According to this anybody can buy plans and parts and obtain a special airworthiness certificate to operate the aircraft in the experimental category if the amateur builder doe s more than 50% of the fabrication or assembly, and does solely for his own education or recreation. (Kolczynski, 2) Homebuilt aircraft are built a few different ways. Some of these aircraft are built from scratch using plans from a designer. Others are purchased in kits consisting of plans, pre-fabricated parts, and some raw materials. Once a builder acquirers a kit he/she is required to do the majority of the fabrication and assembly of the kit. During the assembly the homebuilder needs to have the aircraft inspected by a FAA approved inspector. (Kolczynski, 4) A construction log needs to be maintained with photographic documentation of the building process. After the aircraft is completed, it is required to have the marking Ã¢â¬Å"ExperimentalÃ¢â¬ on the fuselage. (Kolczynski, 4) Next, the homebuilder must submit a FAA form 8130.7 along with the progress log to the FAA for a post-construction inspection of the new aircraft. After the inspection, a special airworthiness certificate is issued with operating limitations that the airplane may be flown only within a limited geographical te st area for a certain number of hours.