The short answer is every 24 calendar months. For more detailed information reference §91.411 (a)(1) regarding the altimeter system and altitude reporting tests. Reference §91.413 (a) regarding ATC transponder tests and inspections.
A VFR test and inspection is a test of the radio portion of the transponder. The encoder is not required to be tested. This is commonly referred to as a "transponder test" or "§91.413 test" referring to the portion of the regulations covering the test.
A IFR test and inspection requires testing of the altimeter, static system, encoder and transponder. This test and inspection is often referred to as a "pitot-static and transponder test" or "§91.411 and §91.413 test" referring to the portions of the regulations covering these tests.
The detailed requirements for each of these tests and inspections required by §91.411 and §91.413 can be found in part 43 appendix E and F.
Yes. However, very few aircraft are exempt from these tests. The aircraft would not have been originally certificated with an engine-driven electrical system or would not have subsequently been certified with such a system installed.
No. While the regulations provide for the "manufacturer" to perform these tests/inspections, the builder of an experimental amateur built aircraft does not meet the definition of a manufacturer. The FAA defines a manufacturer as a Production Approval Holder (PAH).
Sandy Valley Avionics is authorized by the FAA to perform the tests/inspections and make minor adjustments. We are not authorized to perform repairs on the altimeter or radio itself. We can assist you if a component does not pass and requires maintenance. Minor repair will be done at a rate of $60/hour.
The eCFR website is an excellent source for the aviation regulations. In the center drop down menu select "Title 14 - Aeronautics and Space" and click "Go". Then select the part of the regulations you would like to view. Common parts we work with in general aviation are parts 43 and 91.
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