Paperwork fun

Here in Canada we deal with the MDRA for the inspections and such.  I think in general it is a good organization but I didn't find them organized at all!  My inspector is great and so are all the other inspectors I've met over the years.  They appear to be people who just want to move amateur built aircraft forward and ensure those who are building them are doing so safety. 

The web site for this organization is located at:   http://www.md-ra.com/ and is a must read for anyone who is planning on building in Canada.  There are some catches though where their information isn't 100% correct.  I will try and let you know about the ones I found.

First thing you need to do is file a letter of intent.  You can do it on line (I didn't but the web site wasn't that far advanced at that time).  When I first applied for the aircraft, there was a list in Canada that told you what was 51% approved.  No worries if it isn't on the list, it just cost you money.  Strangely enough now you look on an American web site.  I would give you the link but the one on the MDRA web site doesn't work.  So there is a little story here about my fun with paperwork.  I filled the letter of intent, applied for my pre-close inspection (after about one year of working on the plane), passed the pre-close inspection and carried on.  After about 18 months of construction, I get a message from the MDRA that my plane isn't on the new list from the FAA!  Now I have to pay $600.00 to prove my plane qualifies for the 51% rule!  I can tell you I was not a happy camper at this point.  After some negotiation and name calling we settled on $180 (or close to) that will just cover the inspectors costs.  Like I said before, I really like my inspector so no problem paying him.

First inspection - Gerry Mulder is the inspector that was assigned to my plane.  Great guy, recently completed a Lancair 4P and was working on a BD4 (haven't heard if he finished it yet).  He drove around 120 km to see me and all he would let me pay for was the coffee!  Man I'm so used to these guys charging by the km that I was completely floored.  Like I said, great guy.  So no major snags on the pre close.

Fast forward about 18 months.  In October I send my application in for final inspection.  Go back to work.  Return to Canada and work to finish the plane off.  Hmm no paperwork.  Shouldn't I get something from MDRA (web site says I will, oh well you can also down load all the stuff from the web site you need).  So in January I call MDRA in Ontario and ask "where is my paperwork".  Oh we don't have any information on you.  What are you building?  Nope never seen anything on that plane (they have a file from another plane I'm building but not the F1).  So 20 minutes on the phone (good thing it's a 1-800 number) he finds my request in a pile of paper.  Sorry it's almost 430 and we are closing.  But I need a receipt from you to get my registration done.  OK he will send it e-mail in the morning.  Next day I wait until after lunch before calling.  Who are you?  What plane are you building?  Sorry we have no record of you.  This was the same guy I talked to the day before!  Hmm wonder how this is going to work?  Finally I get the receipt and run into Edmonton.  The web site lists all the things you need for it, oh and it tells you the release for the C of R is optional before the final inspection.  WRONG - YOU MUST HAVE IT BEFORE THE FINAL INSPECTION!  Unbelievable. Ok so I get this from Edmonton and while I'm there I pick up the scales from Ralf Knight with the RAA (story for later and I wish Gary from RAA was running MDRA!).

One thing I have learned so far:  If you merely mail your information into Ontario and think something is going to happen you will be wrong.  Phone, then phone again, then again, by then you should have something moving.

Paperwork all in hand, plane weighed, ran, ready for final inspection right?  Wrong.  I can't find my inspector.  After a week of calling everyone I know I finally break down and call MDRA.  Who are you, What are you building, sorry we have no information on you?  Must be a prerecording they have set up there!  So the man there tells me he will call Gerry's son and find out for me.  Two days later I find out Gerry is in Florida (lucky guy) but will be coming home the night before I leave for Libya.  Man this sucks now I have to wait until next time home to get the final done and the snags out of the way.  So the plane sits for 7 days while I fight with all the above.  Oh well did some flying and some much needed maintenance to the Playboy.

When I'm done the final I will give an update of what happens then (no idea yet).

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