Certification of Amateur-Built Aircraft -
Druine D.31 Turbulent VH-ULI

In the mid 1950s, inspired by developments in the USA, there was increasing interest in Australia by individuals wishing to construct their own aircraft. DCA took a cautious approach to the issue of amateur-building of aircraft and in 1955, following considerable negotiation with the Ultra Light Aircraft Association of Australia (which later became the Sport Aircraft Association of Australia), standards for amateur-built aircraft were promulgated in Air Navigation Order (ANO) 100.18 'Ultra Light Category'. Initially, amateur built aircraft were limited to 1200 lb maximum weight, 75 hp maximum power and a maximum landing speed of 45 mph. These limits were later greatly expanded.

Airworthiness standards for amateur built aircraft were in time incorporated into Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 101.28, with airworthiness administration and procedures remaining in a re-named CAO 100.18. CAO 101.28 essentially required first-of-type approval based on a safe history of operation a number of examples of the type overseas, or as an alternative full engineering design justification. Builders were approved and construction inspected and signed off at significant stages. Initially this was done by Departmental surveyors, but later the SAAA was empowered to sign off aircraft and issue Certificates of Airworthiness.

Typical of the early generation of amateur-built aircraft is this Druine D.31 Turbulent, VH-ULI, built to French-designed plans by Keith Jarvis of Adelaide. The photo was taken outside the Aero Club hangar at Parafield Aerodrome in November 1963 after its first flight. It was the first amateur-built aircraft constructed under ANO 100.18 to fly in South Australia. Keith was an air traffic controller at Adelaide (West Beach) Airport who over the years built a total of 13 aircraft, including several gliders.

The introduction of an Experimental category covering the flourishing amateur-built aircraft movement in the early 2000s effectively made CAO 101.28 redundant.

(Photo: CAHS collection)

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