Why is Owner Maintenance frowned upon but not Amateur Built?

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orange4
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Why is Owner Maintenance frowned upon but not Amateur Built?

Post by orange4 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:32 am

I suppose they both are to some extent but...

In terms of maintenance it's the same rodeo but one was a certified craft to start with so isn't that better in some ways?
Or is the comparison merely between the resale value of the certified versus Owner Maintenance aircraft?

I have had many people say: "Get a Amateur Built, then you can do your own maintenance. Certified aircraft are too expensive to maintain. But don't get an Owner Maintenance plane. Scary!"

Why are Amateur built not just as "scary" as an Owner Maintenance aircraft? You have to trust both the build and the maintenance for Amateur.
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Schooner69A
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Re: Why is Owner Maintenance frowned upon but not Amateur Built?

Post by Schooner69A » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:00 pm

Both amateur built aircraft and owner maintenance aircraft can be satisfying to own. However, one of the main drawbacks for the latter is that you cannot use any experimental equipment on them... Radios, EFIS, EMS, auto-pilot, electrical equipment, etc. For instance, I recently installed a cockpit controlled rudder trim on my RV; that would be impossible on an owner maintenance aircraft.

As for the "scary" part, it may have to do with the fact that, although owners can do their own maintenance, many potential buyers are unsure that the work is up to snuff. Other than that, I'm mystified also...
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Posthumane
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Re: Why is Owner Maintenance frowned upon but not Amateur Built?

Post by Posthumane » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:17 pm

I've never really heard of one having more of a stigma than the other. I find many people tend to be afraid of both amateur built and owner maintenance aircraft, because they don't really know the qualifications of the people that are building and maintaining them. I think the original buildiner of an experimental aircraft can be trusted to know his plane quite well, but I suppose the same can't be said for someone buying it second hand.

There are, however, a couple of reasons why OM planes would be valued lower than AB aircraft. First is technology - AB planes can be (though aren't necessarily) using leading edge technology, especially for things like avionics due to the lack of requirement for certificaiton. OM planes are still limited in what can be installed in them. Another is flexibility. With an OM airplane you're still required to conform to the type certificate, whereas with AB you can pretty much do whatever you want as long as it works. The third kicker, and the reason I don't convert my plane to OM, is that OM planes can't be flown to the United States. There is a bilateral agreement which covers certification exemption for experimental/amateur-built planes but there is none for owner maintenance.
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ahramin
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Re: Why is Owner Maintenance frowned upon but not Amateur Built?

Post by ahramin » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:26 pm

Here's a perspective that could explain a different outlook on the two:

An amateur built aircraft is one that someone has taken a great deal of time and money building because they wanted the best performing plane possible for their desired mission, and has since been maintained by the manufacturer.

An owner built aircraft is one that was last owned by someone so cheap that they were willing to give up resale value and the ability to fly it outside Canada in order to save a few bucks in annual costs.
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AirFrame
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Re: Why is Owner Maintenance frowned upon but not Amateur Built?

Post by AirFrame » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:23 am

Schooner69A wrote:Both amateur built aircraft and owner maintenance aircraft can be satisfying to own. However, one of the main drawbacks for the latter is that you cannot use any experimental equipment on them... Radios, EFIS, EMS, auto-pilot, electrical equipment, etc. For instance, I recently installed a cockpit controlled rudder trim on my RV; that would be impossible on an owner maintenance aircraft.
Well, you've just written one of the reasons the category (O-M) is given the side-eye right now... Many O-M owners have put aircraft into the category specifically to put experimental equipment on them. Engine swaps, propellor swaps, full panel replacement, etc. have all been done to O-M aircraft "because i'm the mechanic now I get to decide what to do..."
orange4 wrote:I have had many people say: "Get a Amateur Built, then you can do your own maintenance. Certified aircraft are too expensive to maintain. But don't get an Owner Maintenance plane. Scary!"
If the discussion is about maintenance costs, an Amateur-Built airplane will be cheaper than Certified because you're not paying a mechanic or a shop to maintain it for you... You provide your own labour. The AME union was against O-M at least partly for this reason. Assuming you're doing all the maintenance an aircraft requires, Amateur-Built shouldn't be any different than O-M.
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AirFrame
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Re: Why is Owner Maintenance frowned upon but not Amateur Built?

Post by AirFrame » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:27 am

ahramin wrote:An owner built aircraft is one that was last owned by someone so cheap that they were willing to give up resale value and the ability to fly it outside Canada in order to save a few hundred dollars in annual costs.
There, I fixed that for you. That's one possibility. Another is that the owner has enough experience to maintain it him/her self and doesn't need or want to fly to the US. Why give hundreds to a shop every year when on a small, simple aircraft you can learn to do it yourself?
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Re: Why is Owner Maintenance frowned upon but not Amateur Built?

Post by Schooner69A » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:39 am

"Many O-M owners have put aircraft into the category specifically to put experimental equipment on them."


Airframe: and you've highlighted a problem for folks that do this... Their C of A has probably been invalidated and with it, their insurance (if any).

J
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Re: Why is Owner Maintenance frowned upon but not Amateur Built?

Post by AirFrame » Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:28 pm

Schooner69A wrote:Airframe: and you've highlighted a problem for folks that do this... Their C of A has probably been invalidated and with it, their insurance (if any).
No argument here. Maybe I should have said "a few" have done this, as I've heard of a few since the category was introduced. Maybe it's not "many". Still, what's most important is things that affect the safety of the aircraft. Changing your steam gauges and Edo-Aire boat anchors for a 10" Dynon and modern digital radio and transponder, while not allowed, isn't going to kill anyone. And before anyone points out that hooking it up all wrong could result in incorrect readings, electrical shorts, etc... Yes, that's all possible, but the same is true for an older amateur-built aircraft, and they aren't falling out of the sky due to minor modernization upgrades.

Even Amateur-built owners can change engines and props, make structural mods, etc. provided they report them to Transport Canada and include any relevant data to show the change is safe (aside: even though it's allowed, many A-B owners have changed propellers and even engines *without* reporting it to TC... How many of those have invalid C of A's?). The same consideration should be available to O-M owners given they're maintained the same way. I suspect that *in time* it will be allowed, but it may take years before there's a critical mass of data supporting a relaxing of regulations.
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Re: Why is Owner Maintenance frowned upon but not Amateur Built?

Post by orange4 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:16 am

Thanks everyone. Lots to chew on.
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Re: Why is Owner Maintenance frowned upon but not Amateur Built?

Post by edmanster » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:32 am

Im not going to group AB vs OM mechanics. Im sure there are AB & OM mechanics more capable than Licensed ones. But 25 years ago in Central Alberta I dealt with a Owner-Mech that was beyond scary. He owned a Stinson with a Franklin engine. He was learner pilot - and also a Heavy Equipment Contractor - "so there was nothing he did not know about machines !" My introduction began when he asked me if the 'full-down' on the Left flap being about 3" lower than on the right side was a concern. His foot was getting tired excessively pressing on the rudder during landings. While taking a second look at the flaps - noted a fuel leak. Somebody had managed to drive a 2 inch wood screw thru the wing cover plate into the fuel tank. During one of his landings - he bent his L gear - so he just 'bailer-wired' it back in place. On another landing he nearly 'nosed-over; so he removed the prop & just straightened it out. BTW - the engine was at idle when it struck - so not an issue - he claimed. The Generator has a rubber star-shaped coupler inside the accessory casing that had disintegrated with age. He just removed the bigger chunks thru the oil drain hole. He did not require radios at this airport was his reply - thus who needs a generator. One morning he & his wife were in such a rush to get the airplane out the hanger - that they smashed the outbd 4 feet of the wing into the hanger door post. Within 2 days they pop riveted a new leading edge & wrapped new fabric around the wing & doped it - but failed to note that the fabric is formed concave at the trailing edge - so as to allow for the aileron a gap & freedom of control movement. In this case - the control wheel was seriously binding when rotated left or right. No problem - it will work itself in with use - he said. ... Within in a few months he crashed in BC. Thankfully nobody got killed.
.. Moral of the story - just because you may be a whiz as a Heavy Equipment mechanic - may not make you an aircraft mechanic !
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