Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Talk about airplanes! At last count, there are 39 (and growing) FAA certificated S-LSA (special light sport aircraft). These are factory-built ready to fly airplanes. If you can't afford a factory-built LSA, consider buying an E-LSA kit (experimental LSA - up to 99% complete).

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Warmi
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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby Warmi » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:35 pm

http://www.midwestskysports.com/2017/11 ... connector/

New Rotax Plugs run for something like $20.

I think the change is related to liability issues - nobody was buying NGK Rotax branded plugs ( which were more expensive ) so NGK was potentially liable for selling "aviation" grade plugs while not having any financial benefits.
So, my understanding is that they said "NO" to Rotax .... but ultimately you can still use NGK plugs since these are the same plugs ..
Flying Sting S4 ( N184WA ) out of Illinois

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby 3Dreaming » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:17 pm

Warmi wrote:http://www.midwestskysports.com/2017/11/15/rotax-spark-plug-connector/

New Rotax Plugs run for something like $20.

I think the change is related to liability issues - nobody was buying NGK Rotax branded plugs ( which were more expensive ) so NGK was potentially liable for selling "aviation" grade plugs while not having any financial benefits.
So, my understanding is that they said "NO" to Rotax .... but ultimately you can still use NGK plugs since these are the same plugs ..


New engines are being delivered with these plugs. On older engines you can still run the NGK plugs, at least until you have to replace a spark plug boot. If you have to replace the boot you also have to switch plugs, and you have to do the complete engine. At least that is my understanding.

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby ShawnM » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:43 pm

MrMorden wrote:$65 for plugs on a Rotax 912? I hope that include labor, the NGK plugs are less than $5 each!


More like $2 and change at my local auto parts store for the NGK.

I'll keep running the NGK as long as I possibly can. I can replace ALL my plugs for less than $20 :mrgreen:

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby MrMorden » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:32 am

3Dreaming wrote: If you have to replace the boot you also have to switch plugs, and you have to do the complete engine. At least that is my understanding.


Unless your airplane is ELSA. :)
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2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

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ShawnM
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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby ShawnM » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:24 am

MrMorden wrote:
3Dreaming wrote: If you have to replace the boot you also have to switch plugs, and you have to do the complete engine. At least that is my understanding.


Unless your airplane is ELSA. :)


Yeah, what he said !!! :mrgreen:

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby MrMorden » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:16 am

ShawnM wrote:
MrMorden wrote:
3Dreaming wrote: If you have to replace the boot you also have to switch plugs, and you have to do the complete engine. At least that is my understanding.


Unless your airplane is ELSA. :)


Yeah, what he said !!! :mrgreen:


Though as a caveat, if you have any hope of any *extended* support on your Rotax engine, you'd want to follow the Rotax recommendations. I know some with excellent logbooks and strict maintenance have gotten Rotax to fix or replace engines outside the normal warranty period when they have failed in abnormal ways. If you start going against Rotax recommendations, that kind of support gets very unlikely.

In my case, I see no reason other than NGK's fear of liability for the switch, so I'll continue using the "old" NGK plugs and boots. But I do understand I am rolling the dice on any extended Rotax support related to the ignition system (and possibly the rest of the engine too).
Andy Walker
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Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby Warmi » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:26 am

Wouldn't there be some risk related to potential insurance claims ?

in case of some mishap ( engine out etc ) , I could imagine an insurance company coming back with "sorry but we won't pay cause you weren't following Rotax recommendations " etc ...
Flying Sting S4 ( N184WA ) out of Illinois

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby 3Dreaming » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:37 am

I went back and did a little checking. You can't mix the new plugs with the old plugs, they need to be sets of 8. You can't mix new boots with old boots, they have to be a matching set also. What I did find is that you don't have to switch boots because of the plugs. You can have old boots with the new plugs, or new boots with the old style plugs.

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby MrMorden » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:24 pm

Warmi wrote:Wouldn't there be some risk related to potential insurance claims ?

in case of some mishap ( engine out etc ) , I could imagine an insurance company coming back with "sorry but we won't pay cause you weren't following Rotax recommendations " etc ...


Certainly not in the case of an E-LSA. There are no airworthiness requirements for experimental aircraft other than to be "in a condition for safe operation." I can't imagine that anybody could reasonably make the argument that using the same parts that Rotax has used for decades with high reliability, and were changed for non-technical/safety reasons, somehow constitutes a condition that is "unsafe".

For S-LSA, you have to follow manufacturer maintenance procedures. Those are set by the manufacturer of the *airplane*, not the engine. If the manufacturer is silent on the matter, you can use whatever parts you want, but if they are specified by the manufacturer then you are stuck. The S-LSA rules are gray enough I'd probably do what Rotax says, though. Especially if the airplane maker has boilerplate language saying something like "engine maintenance should be performed as specified by the engine manufacturer."
Andy Walker
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2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby drseti » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:34 pm

According to my reading of the new Service Instruction, changing to the Bosch sparkplugs is in no way mandated (or even necessarily recommended) for engines currently using NGK plugs. The SI merely advises that the factory has made the change, and that the new plugs and boots are available. There appears to be no Rotax mandate or request that plugs or boots be changed in the field, so shops and individual owners are free to continue using the NGKs for as long as they remain available in the supply pipeline.
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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby MrMorden » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:38 pm

drseti wrote:According to my reading of the new Service Instruction, changing to the Bosch sparkplugs is in no way mandated (or even necessarily recommended) for engines currently using NGK plugs. The SI merely advises that the factory has made the change, and that the new plugs and boots are available. There appears to be no Rotax mandate or request that plugs or boots be changed in the field, so shops and individual owners are free to continue using the NGKs for as long as they remain available in the supply pipeline.


Even better, thanks Paul!
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby Warmi » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:27 pm

MrMorden wrote:
Warmi wrote:Wouldn't there be some risk related to potential insurance claims ?

in case of some mishap ( engine out etc ) , I could imagine an insurance company coming back with "sorry but we won't pay cause you weren't following Rotax recommendations " etc ...


Certainly not in the case of an E-LSA. There are no airworthiness requirements for experimental aircraft other than to be "in a condition for safe operation." I can't imagine that anybody could reasonably make the argument that using the same parts that Rotax has used for decades with high reliability, and were changed for non-technical/safety reasons, somehow constitutes a condition that is "unsafe".

For S-LSA, you have to follow manufacturer maintenance procedures. Those are set by the manufacturer of the *airplane*, not the engine. If the manufacturer is silent on the matter, you can use whatever parts you want, but if they are specified by the manufacturer then you are stuck. The S-LSA rules are gray enough I'd probably do what Rotax says, though. Especially if the airplane maker has boilerplate language saying something like "engine maintenance should be performed as specified by the engine manufacturer."


I hear you ... i this case it is very unlikely but , on a purely theoretical level, I am wondering how does being “ in a condition for safe operations “ holds up when dealing with insurance lawyers. I mean, this is so open for interpretation it makes me wonder if it is not easier to actually work within well defined airworthiness frameworks where compliance with x and y is either there or not. Who defines what it means to be compliant here ? You as the owner or the insurance lawyers ?
Asking all these questions cause I am considering getting going E-LSA myself ...
Flying Sting S4 ( N184WA ) out of Illinois

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby TimTaylor » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:02 pm

$120 per hour plus tax for plane and $40 per hour for instructor, in flight or ground school, sounds reasonable.
Commercial Pilot Airplane Single & Multiengine Land; Instrument Airplane; Sport Endorsement Airplane Single Engine Sea; Flight Instructor Airplane Single And Multiengine; Ground Instructor Advanced Instrument

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby TimTaylor » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:03 pm

Wrong thread. Sorry.
Commercial Pilot Airplane Single & Multiengine Land; Instrument Airplane; Sport Endorsement Airplane Single Engine Sea; Flight Instructor Airplane Single And Multiengine; Ground Instructor Advanced Instrument

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Re: Annual Expense in Owning an ELSA (Good News & Bad News)

Postby MrMorden » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:15 pm

Warmi wrote:
MrMorden wrote:
Warmi wrote:Wouldn't there be some risk related to potential insurance claims ?

in case of some mishap ( engine out etc ) , I could imagine an insurance company coming back with "sorry but we won't pay cause you weren't following Rotax recommendations " etc ...


Certainly not in the case of an E-LSA. There are no airworthiness requirements for experimental aircraft other than to be "in a condition for safe operation." I can't imagine that anybody could reasonably make the argument that using the same parts that Rotax has used for decades with high reliability, and were changed for non-technical/safety reasons, somehow constitutes a condition that is "unsafe".

For S-LSA, you have to follow manufacturer maintenance procedures. Those are set by the manufacturer of the *airplane*, not the engine. If the manufacturer is silent on the matter, you can use whatever parts you want, but if they are specified by the manufacturer then you are stuck. The S-LSA rules are gray enough I'd probably do what Rotax says, though. Especially if the airplane maker has boilerplate language saying something like "engine maintenance should be performed as specified by the engine manufacturer."


I hear you ... i this case it is very unlikely but , on a purely theoretical level, I am wondering how does being “ in a condition for safe operations “ holds up when dealing with insurance lawyers. I mean, this is so open for interpretation it makes me wonder if it is not easier to actually work within well defined airworthiness frameworks where compliance with x and y is either there or not. Who defines what it means to be compliant here ? You as the owner or the insurance lawyers ?
Asking all these questions cause I am considering getting going E-LSA myself ...


The condition for safe operation is set by having the airplane inspected annually, either by your mechanic or by yourself if you take the 16 hour course as I have. The FAA has designated me as competent to determine safe operating condition, by virtue of my repairman certificate for my airplane.

If the insurance company wants to argue that with the FAA, they can. Likewise if they want to try to deny a claim then can do that too. But the burden of proof will be on them, to show that I somehow don’t have the knowledge to set safe operating condition. “He didn’t follow the engine maker’s recommendation” is insufficient on an experimental; once again, I am designated to determine that condition, and if I want to use the plugs from a 1948 Studebaker and sign that off, I can do that as long as the change is documented in the logbook.

Experimemtals are just that, experiments. The insurance company’s job is to price premiums accordingly, they can’t go back after the fact and claim they had no idea the airplane might deviate from factory recommendations — that aspect is inherent in the experimental airworthiness certificate. The passenger warning placard on the panel states exactly that in Every. Single. One.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA


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