Minimum Instrument and Equipment Requirements

    Minimum Instrument and Equipment Requirements
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    Minimum Instrument and Equipment Requirements for Powered Amateur-Built Experimental Aircraft. By Owen C. Baker with appreciation to Richard E. Koehler.

    Introduction: The table below is intended to give the builder of amateur built experimental aircraft a ready reference for the instrument and equipment requirements for his aircraft. The builder should note that some items required by the FAR’s are described in the FAR’s as needing to be approved, but since there are no certification standards established for amateur built experimental aircraft no formal individual item approval, such as meeting a TSO (Technical Standard Order) or FAR Part 23, is required. However certain items must interface properly with ATC (Air Traffic Control), other aircraft, or other entities external to the aircraft. Transponders, communication radios, exterior lighting and ELT’s (Emergency Locator Transmitters) are examples of such equipment.


    Therefore, the builder can expect that the initial airworthiness inspection of his aircraft will require evidence that this type of equipment in the aircraft is acceptable to the FAA. The Special Airworthiness Certificate issued for each amateur built experimental aircraft includes specific Operating Limitations. Per FAA Order 8130.2F the Operating Limitations state: “After completion of Phase I flight testing, unless appropriately equipped for night and/or instrument flight in accordance with 91.205, this aircraft is to be operated under VFR, day only.” The FAR’s, FAA Order 8130.2F, and current FAA policy have been used in constructing the below amateur built experimental aircraft configuration requirements table.

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    Omar Filipovic
    Omar Filipovic is president of the Glasair Aircraft Owners Association as well as the chief tinkerer and content editor for this website. He is also the web editor for Kitplanes Magazine. Omar is building a GlaStar in Portland, Oregon.