CASA opens up options

DESIGNING and manufacturing an aircraft is not as difficult as it once was, at least if cash is no problem, with those who are able now having the choice to buy a kit off the shelf or designing and manufacturing their own plane.

Both of these routes provide significant cost savings when compared with buying a mass-produced aircraft.

Three years ago the Civil Aviation Safety Authority introduced more flexible certification measures which made it easier to build an aircraft and get it registered.

Under the definitions outlined in CASA’s advisory circular ‘Amateur-built experimental aircraft – certification’, an amateur-built aircraft is an aircraft, “the major portion of which has been fabricated and assembled by a person or persons who undertook the construction project solely for their own education or recreation”.

“CASA permits amateur builders the freedom to select their own design. CASA does not formally approve these designs since it is not practicable to develop design standards for the multitude of unique design configurations generated by kit manufacturers and amateur builders,” the circular says.

Instead, CASA gives certification subject to varying conditions depending on the type of aircraft. CASA’s role is simply to determine whether the aircraft is airworthy.

For the conditions to be met the aircraft must be registered and marked properly.

The aircraft needs to meet the major portion rule, it must have been correctly weighted and the engine and flight controls, as well as the pitot static system, must operate properly.

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