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Touring Motor Gliders Association (TMGA)
edwalker

How do you get your annual condition inspection done?

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edwalker

Hi everybody,

Let me start by telling you that I’ve been totally spoiled for the last seven years. The person who does the maintenance on my Phoenix is Jim Scott of Aircore Aviation, a local legend, generally regarded as the light sport/Rotax guru of the Pacific Northwest. My hangar is less than 200 feet from his shop, and I’ve effectively been in an apprenticeship with him over the years. Eric Greenwell and I took a 2-day Rainbow Aviation light sport inspection course from him a few years ago, and he has supported both of our planes.

Jim is leaving the Pacific Northwest later this summer and retiring near his wife’s family back east. This is a well-deserved retirement, and I’m very happy for him. Nevertheless, I have to figure out what to do next for maintenance. I’m sure he’ll have some recommendations, but I already know that many A&P‘s don’t like to touch Rotax aircraft, and some who do, shouldn’t. 

I was thinking about taking the LSRM course that many of you have done, but at age 69 I don’t think it’s a good value for my remaining flying time. My light sport inspection certificate allows me to work on my own plane if it’s an E-LSA, so another option is to change it to experimental and just coordinate with an A&P on the things in which I don’t feel confident.The final option seems to be to find a good A&P who is not against my doing some of the maintenance and signing it off. 

Since all of you have struggled with this question at some point, I’m curious what you ended up deciding to do. Might make for an interesting discussion until the soaring weather improves. 😀

Ed

 

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mikeschumann

My life is too short to become a mechanic, so I have Stanton Sport Aviation, just south of Mpls do my annuals.  They are very familiar with ROTAX engines, as they are a service center for Flight Design Light Sport aircraft.  Stanton is also home to the MN Soaring Club, so they have lots of experience with glider annuals.

I would personally not recommend converting your aircraft to Experimental.  It would probably be very difficult to undo that down the road, which might limit the resale value of your A/C.

The key is to find a competent ROTAX shop in your area.  Given the popularity of those engines, that shouldn't be too difficult.  I would try to figure out who is maintaining light sport aircraft in your area, in particular Flight Design, Pipistrel, etc.  Doesn't Jim Scott know someone he could recommend?

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TeriStar

Phoenix co-owner Dave and I took the LSRM course and are getting used to doing our own maintenance and annuals.  Rotax shops near me seem to have dried up.  The 3 week course was a worth-while investment to know my airplane and learn unique details related to LSA aircraft.  However, since you don't have a desire to go that route, the ELSA idea is reasonable under current rules if you remember two things.  FIRST, you only get one chance to return your ELSA back to SLSA in the future.  SECOND, you can't go back to SLSA unless you have very detailed documentation showing the aircraft has and is compliant with the factory LSA requirements.  And you have to hope the DAR will see it that way.  But if you're never going to give up your airplane, ELSA offers some great advantages for when simple things break and you want better equipment installed without a letter of authorization.  It's too bad that all us Phoenix owners are so spread out across the county.  Heck, fly it back to Jim Lee every year and enjoy a Lake Tahoe vacation while he inspects it!  Good Luck!

 

 

 

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