Opportunity Knocking: DARs needed to inspect and certificate light-sport aircraft

With the advent of the light-sport aircraft rule becoming effective on Sept. 1, 2004 the FAA is scrambling to certificate approximately 14,000 existing "Fat Ultralights" flying around out there in the vapors.

The National Examiner Board will review the package and determine whether or not you are eligible. If you are found to be eligible, you would be notified of what function code you meet, the classes of aircraft you would be permitted to certificate, and the geographic area you can serve as a DAR. You would then be added to the DAR pool. If you are not eligible, you will be notified by letter within 30 days. If you feel this determination was not fair you can appeal to NEB for a second review of your package.

Now here is where the "need" requirement comes in. It is up to the FAA regional office and FSDO/MIDO manager to determine if a "need" exists for a DAR. Once this "need" is determined the regional office requests a list of qualified DAR applicants from the NEB pool of qualified applicants. An evaluation committee (EC) with at least two representatives from the FSDO/MIDO is formed to review the NEB applicants' packages. An individual is then selected to be a DAR by the EC and he in turn is then notified that he has the job by the FSDO/MIDO.

But, the pain is not over yet! You have to go to DAR school! Despite being selected as a DAR you cannot certificate an aircraft until you have completed your initial DAR training in OKC. Lets face it, before you can be a representative of the Administrator, you have to learn the secret FAA handshake and get your very own regulatory decoder ring. With travel, the DAR school is a week long course. There will be a charge for the FAA school but the actual cost has not been decided on, but I have heard it will be somewhere around $250. In addition you will have to pay your own travel to and from OKC and living expenses while there. Once school is satisfactorily completed then with the FSDO/MIDO's blessing you can go to work.

Now if I may, can I offer you a couple of words of advice. As a DAR you will generate at least two paper trails. First, you have the FAA paperwork which you will learn all about in school in OKC.

The other paperwork is your contract agreement with your customer. It is vital that you put everything in writing and the contract is signed by both you and your customer. The contract should identify the owner, the class, make and model of aircraft, registration number, serial numbers for aircraft and engine, the work to be performed and should list the certification fee and any other additional travel costs you incur. Make sure that the contract addresses any additional costs. For example, if the aircraft fails your inspection, and you have to re-inspect it, say a week's time after the owner corrects the problem areas, those additional costs in time and travel should be identified in the contract.

I recommend that you take photographs of every aircraft you certificate; especially the engine/propeller installation, instrumentation, data plates, and N number locations and put them in your just-in-case file.

After reading this article and your interest is peeked, then I recommend that you visit the FAA Aircraft Certifications web site and do a little more exploring about becoming a DAR. The web site address is http://www.faa.gov/certification/aircraft. Who knows where this job opportunity will lead. AMT

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