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Final Kit Plane Certification
and Inspection

Final Inspection

I found that the prep for the final kit plane certification was more difficult than the the inspection itself.  You have to fill out several forms, calculate weight and balance, prepare your airplane, and make arrangements for the actual inspection.


All of these documents need to be completed, and ready for the inspector, in order to complete your final kit plane certification.  The 8130-12 is the only one that you can't completely finish yourself, because that one needs to be notarized.

FAA Form 8130-6

FAA Form 8130-6

This form was pretty straightforward.  Again, it is important to make sure all the information on each form matches all the other forms.  There are several boxes you should check.  I’ve marked them with the little red circles in the picture.  Download an FAA 8130-6 here(Adobe pdf file).

FAA Form 8130-12

FAA Form 8130-12

Don’t forget to get this one notarized.  Download an FAA 8130-12 here Adobe pdf file).

Program Letter

Program Letter to Accompany Application for Experimental Light-Sport Airworthiness Certificate

You can ask for whatever Phase I flight test area you want.  I asked for a 25NM circle around the airport, and had no trouble.  I have also heard guys specify the corners of the area they want, using airports for the corners.  Download a Program Letter here.  (Adobe pdf file).

Picture or 3-view drawing - You have to have either a picture of your airplane, or the three view drawings, on hand for this kit plane certification.  Ask your inspector which he prefers.

Weight and Balance – see my article on how to do the Weight and Balance calculations.  

Condition Inspection – You can use whatever inspection checklist you want.  I looked on line and found several checklists from other RV-8 builders.  

Aircraft Maintenance Records

Usually this is an airframe logbook and an engine/prop logbook.  The following entry is required in the airframe logbook for your final kit plane certification:

“I certify this aircraft has been inspected in accordance with the scope and detail of Appendix D to Part 43 and has been found to be in a condition for safe operation.”

Prepare Your Aircraft

The inspector will be looking specifically for each of these items to be correct before he'll sign off on your kit plane certification.


Most of us can get away with using the 3” letters.  You only have to use the 12” letters if your cruising speed will be above 180 Knots CAS.  There are very specific requirements for the lettering.  According to FAR 45.29, “Characters must be two-thirds as wide as they are high, except the number "1", which must be one-sixth as wide as it is high, and the letters "M" and "W" which may be as wide as they are high. Characters must be formed by solid lines one-sixth as thick as the character is high… The space between each character may not be less than one-fourth of the character width.”


According to FAR 4.23, “the operator shall also display on that aircraft near each entrance to the cabin or cockpit, in letters not less than 2 inches nor more than 6 inches in height, the words "limited," "restricted," "experimental," or "provisional airworthiness," as the case may be.”

Label the Fuel Tanks

You should mark the tanks with capacity and min fuel grade.

Passenger Warning

You have to use these exact words, and they must be in full view of all occupants.

“Passenger Warning – This aircraft is amateur-built and does not
comply with federal safety regulations for standard aircraft.”

Data Plate

FAR 45-11 and 45-13 require a “fireproof plate with [builder’s name, model designation and serial number] marked on it by etching, stamping, engraving, or other approved method of fireproof marking. The identification plate for aircraft must be secured in such a manner that it will not likely be defaced or removed during normal service, or lost or destroyed in an accident… The aircraft identification plate must be secured to the aircraft fuselage exterior so that it is legible to a person on the ground, and must be either adjacent to and aft of the rear-most entrance door or on the fuselage surface near the tail surfaces.” 

Make sure this data matches exactly the data on your FAA form 8130-6.

Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)

All fixed wing airplanes with more than one seat have to have an ELT installed.

Paperwork in the plane

This paperwork must be in the aircraft at all times -- not just for the inspection, but the entire time you are operating the aircraft.  It's like the requirement to keep registration and proof of insurance in your car.  You can have these documents in any safe location within the aircraft.  I have mine in a document protector behind the seat.

  • FAA Form 8050-3, Aircraft Registration Certificate – The FAA will send you this after assigning you an N-number.
  • Complete weight and balance paperwork – Talk to your inspector to find out exactly what calculations he wants you to make.

Cockpit Markings

All controls, switches and knobs need labels.  For example:

  • Ignition – On/Off
  • Fuel selector – Left/Right/Off
  • Airspeed indicator – White, red and green marks

Other Prep

  • Open all inspection panels/fairings
  • Re-check all the flight controls and ensure everything works properly
  • Have your builder log and photos ready for review

My Inspection

As I said before, the preparation was a lot harder than the actual kit plane certification inspection.  My DAR showed up and gave the airplane the once over from 10 feet.  He walked all the way around and I think looked at the big picture.  Then he moved closer and looked at the workmanship of the airframe itself.  He ran his hand over a few of the rivet lines, then leaned into the cockpit and looked back into the tail.  I think he was looking at the back sides of the rivets and probably at the edge distance too.

Then he moved every control surface to check full range of motion and no binding.  He spent a few more minutes looking into the cockpit.  I let him look without bothering him, but I think he probably looked all the controls over.

I have an alternative engine installed, so he didn’t spend a lot of time looking the engine over.  He did give it a look though to make sure there wasn’t anything glaringly wrong.

He found four things that I needed to fix.

1. I had assumed the aileron pins wouldn’t slip outboard because the bracket was in the way.  But they had, so I needed to crimp the outside edge of the hinge. 

2.One nut on a brake line had a little leak, a quarter turn fixed it on the spot.

3.The elevator control rod was bending at the bellcrank when I went full left and down.  This took a little time fine adjusting the angle of the rod end.

4.The flap pushrods were not binding, but had no slack and couldn’t wiggle at all when the flaps were extended.  It turned out that the weldment was pinching the rod end when I tightened the bolt.  A couple of washers between the rod ends and the weldment fixed the problem.

The inspector looked through my build pictures
The inspector and I go through the paperwork

He took some time to look through all the pictures of the build, and glanced at my log book.  Then we went in the office and did the final kit plane certification paperwork.

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