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You're about to meet an important person.
If you're building an airplane, you're going to have to deal with one. If you've already built an airplane, you already have. What is it? It's actually a who, a Designated Airworthiness Representative or DAR. In real terms, he's the guy who inspects your amateur-built aircraft and either issues an amateurbuilt airworthiness certificate for your aircraft so you can fly off the required time or has you make changes to the aircraft or paperwork before he will issue the airworthiness certificate.
According to the FAA, there are approximately 550 people across the United States who are designated DARs. They are private citizens who provide this service because they enjoy it and are knowledgeable enough to do it. They are not employed by the FAA, though they work with the agency and within the guidelines set forth by the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) or Manufacturing Inspection District Office (MIDO) with which they work.
Before You Meet Yours
If you are about to finish your amateur-built aircraft, there are procedures you must follow prior to having an inspection completed by a DAR. These procedures are spelled out in AC 20-27D, "Certification and Operation of Amateur-Built Aircraft," which may be found on the Internet at http://www.mmac.jccbi.gov/afs/afs 600/a ma_kit.html or in the book "Reference Manual for Amateur-Built Aircraft," which is available from the FAA by calling 405/954-6904.
Once you have filled out the paperwork and--most importantly--have received the certificate of registration (the pink temporary copy will not suffice), you are ready for the inspection. You must call your local FAA FSDO and request an inspection, and you may request either an FAA inspector (they don't charge, but you may have to …