United States - aircraft licensing options

In the U.S. the only viable licensing option we have been able to identify is compliance with the amateur built rules. In theory the aircraft could be licensed by using a one time STC or via the 337 processes. We have been unable to find an inspector willing to do this. The amateur built process is as follows

You currently cannot take a certified aircraft & license it as an amateur built aircraft. You can however build an amateur built aircraft using mostly certified aircraft components. This is only practical if the airframe is going to be refurbished. The process begins by removing the Manufacturers nameplate & ensuring the aircraft has been removed from the registry. You must then simply comply with the "51%" rule checklist. The only confusing part is that the 51% checklist has nothing to do with 51% of the work being done. It is simply a scorecard. You the owner must complete 51% of the items on the FAA approved checklist. There have been several Cessna 185 & 206 "replicas" built & licensed as amateur built aircraft. These aircraft are eligible for export to Canada & are permitted to cross the border. You may also import a Canadian amateur built aircraft into the U.S. It is important to note you cannot call the aircraft a Seabee. It must be called something else, e.g. A Robinson V-8 powered Bee. The name Seabee refers to a certified aircraft. If you call the FAA & tell them you are going to build an amateur built Seabee you will be turned down. If you call the FAA & tell them you are going to build a Robinson V-8 powered Bee (or any other name of you're choice) - an all aluminium, V-8 powered amphibian using modified Seabee components - they will inform you that you must comply with the 51% rule and instruct you to complete a 51% evaluation sheet. If your project meets the 51% criteria, it will be eligible for registration as an amateur built aircraft. The checklist is found on the FAA web site

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