Winchester 73 wrote:
I can't thank you guys enough for suffering my questions. Some of which might sound dumb to you seasoned veterans. Anyway I know that the FAA considers 51% a home built. Is there any regulation prohibiting me hiring help? My brother in-law is a 28 year old laid off mechanical engineer. He's a good kid. I know I could have him come stay with me and my wife for a few months and not say anything but I want to know if it's against the rules. The only way I could make him work steady is by paying him and he would be working on the plane alone most of the time. I figure at 40 hours a week I could keep him off unemployment while his resumes are marinating and I could have my plane built and make my wife love me more
He's a good kid. Doesn't drink or smoke and he's a damn good operator in a machine shop. My worry is my lack of sleep. I simply can't bend a rule without going mad. It's an affliction. So my question is am I allowed to hire help to build the plane or must it be done alone or father and son style? Thanks folks
One choice is to buy a plane completed. That is the ultimate paid commercial help. You can do that but you cannot then be the builder.
The following assumes you want to be listed as the builder and then you can get the repairman certificate.
The required builders log is not necessarily comprised of hours but a documentation of tasks you completed and when. Meeting the major portion rule (over 50%) is measured against a breakdown of each of those tasks. Percentages are assigned by the FAA to each component's required task of construction such as in the wing or fuselage. Your participation is required in completing each task listed, but does not necessarily correlate to the majority of the total hours of the build time on the entire plane... and your build partner might be there as much as you but only one of you can be listed as the builder.
Example: The majority of the total hours on many amateur built planes is spent in construction and assembly of the wings. Yet many kits that are FAA approved will have all the ribs pre constructed and wing assembly is all that is left. In the fast build kits (kits considered about 40% completed when received) all that may be required of the builder to complete each wing is to install control cables, lines, tanks, necessary wiring and install and close the remaining wing skins. The ribs, spars and strut attach points are already in place and riveted. And it is ok to have help. No one is expected to be able to run a rivet gun by themselves on the inside of a wing skin and hold the bucking bar at the same time on the other side of the wing. Most times it is not even possible.
Take a look at a fast build Tundra kit and you will see a typical 40% completed FAA approved kit. 40% of the total hours it takes to build the plane from scratch can easily take more time than completing the 40% of the TASKS involved to build the kit to that same point and the hours will vary with the experience and speed of each builder. So, the tasks involved refer to the process of the build not the time spent doing it.
40% Fast build kit Tundra. Click photo to enlarge. http://www.dreamaircraft.com/dreamaircr ... at=0&pos=0
That 40% fast build kit has been 100% assembled by paid factory help and you are allowed to come to the factory and pay them to assist you in completing the major portion of the tasks involved. I had a paid partner instructing me through out my factory build. Our hours may actually be equal on the remaining 60% as he was there throughout. Supervision saved me a lot of do overs and organized the work ahead of me saving me gopher time for materials and tools. This cut the hours involved on the whole project. My required contribution is in the actual build time only. Not in setting up work space, gathering parts or duplication of hours because of mistakes, these are not required tasks but eat up a lot of hours in any build.
A paid partner is just as acceptable as having a paid A/P oversee your own work on many jobs performed on your certified plane.
Sign that dude up to help on your plane, pay him, but remember only one of you can be listed as builder. That should be you. Make sure you are involved in each TASK, not necessarily in each hour. Hope you sleep better now.
Here is a Q&A discussion on the subject from EAA. http://www.eaa.org/govt/ab_qa.asp
I spent more time this morning editing what I wrote last night than I did actually writing it. The hours involved were greater than the finished task suggest?