I’m at a point where I need to decide if I’m going to go EAB or E-LSA. For those who may not be familiar with the acronyms, those represent Experimental Amateur Built and Experimental-Light Sport Aircraft, respectively. Long story, short: EAB is the traditional Experimental category and I can follow the plans as closely or loosely as I see fit. (In other words, I can make modifications.) I would be the Builder and I could do my own annual inspections, or an A&P could do so. I can never rent the aircraft or otherwise receive any compensation for flight time (that includes cost sharing), although I could be paid as an individual since I hold a commercial license.
If I stick to the plans (to the letter) then the plane will be an E-LSA and is essentially a “factory” plane of Van’s which I happened to assemble. I’m still not completely sure of the rules re: who can do annual maintenance, etc., but I know that you aren’t restricted to just hiring an A&P.
The EAB must be prominently labeled “Experimental”, not so for the E-LSA. Might scare potential passengers.
It’s been discussed on VAF that it will be easier to sell as an ELSA vs. EAB, but there’s absolutely no data to support the claim. (to be fair, there’s no data on resell values of either certification of RV-12’s to date, so there’s no data to the contrary, either.)
Those are the facts, but they don’t address the emotion. I’m currently leaning toward EAB as a matter of personal pride, and a desire to implement a couple of mods. The mods aren’t big, but big enough to make a legal distinction. I’d like to put in angle-of-attack and a 2nd landing light. I’m not sure about the split bulkhead, but it sounds like a good idea so far. There’s also an issue with the dorsal skin being too flexible in the vicinity of the AHARS computer and it may need a stiffener of some sort. These are the things that make the EAA a fun place to play, and being registered EAB would be part of that tradition.
More to follow, but I think I’m going to go EAB unless I learn something else in the next week or so.