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Experimental/Amateur-Built Flight Testing
So, kit or scratch build, you’re finally nearing the completion of your amateur-built aircraft, the culmination of hundreds of hours of meticulous, methodical, sometimes monotonous, but rewarding work! Whether you built at a frenetic pace or in fits and spurts as your schedule would allow, you are nearing that critical, First Flight! Well, my friend, there are many things to consider.
NTSB data show that the first 50 hours of flight time on a newly constructed E/AB aircraft are particularly dangerous. Aircraft modifications show a similar spike in accidents shortly after those modifications are completed. But, accident investigation of these events frequently show that a robust flight test program conducted by a competent test pilot would reduce the number of fatal crashes.
In this program by Sam Heiter - FAASTeam Program Manager, we will discuss some of the best practices for developing flight test programs including qualifications and selection of test pilots.
Also we will cover AC 90‐116, passed in Sept. 2016, which introduces the Additional Pilot Program (APP), a program designed to improve safety by allowing homebuilders to have a qualified additional pilot on board to assist with fight tests.