You essentially convert it to Experimental Exhibition, not Experimental Amateur-Built. That means more restrictions, depending on the FSDO. For instance, your operating limitations may prohibit passengers, or require permission for every flight over a given distance.
It is said that the FAA can be sensitive to people trying to put type-certificated aircraft into Experimental category for recreational use. Important advice below is that you should get permission from the FSDO before starting work on the airplane.
Even if you do this (and they likely won't like you converting say a Cherokee or a Cessna 172 to experimental), they will place certain restrictions on use, such as only flying within a 25 mile radius, and every year you may have to submit a "Program Letter" with a list of all the fly-ins and shows you are going to go to (since it is experimental-exhibition category, so you need to exhibit it!)
All that is to say, you probably will have a hard time converting a certificated plane to experimental and using it like it seems you intend to from your question.
Here is the relevant section from FAA Order 8130.2H.
Section 10. Certification and Operation of Aircraft Under the
Experimental Purpose of Exhibition or Air Racing
- General. Under the provisions of § 21.191(d), exhibition aircraft are defined as aircraft that exhibit the aircraft’s flight
capabilities, performance, or unusual characteristics at air shows,
fly-ins, and aviation events; for motion picture, television, and
similar productions; and for the maintenance of exhibition flight
proficiency, including (for persons exhibiting aircraft) flying to and
from such events and productions. Under the provisions of § 21.191(e),
air racing aircraft are defined as aircraft that participate in air
races, including (for such participants) practicing for such air races
and flying to and from racing events.
a. Exhibition. A certificate for
experimental exhibition must only be issued when an aircraft is to be
used for valid exhibition purposes. Included in those purposes are
organized air shows, organized fly-in activities, organized
exhibitions, youth education events, organized aerobatic competition,
fly-ins or meets, and movie or television productions. The duration of
an airworthiness certificate for exhibition may be unlimited.
Here is an example of how to do it I found on a old page from the Robinson V8 Seabee Company website. (I found the page in the internet cache, so it is likely this method isn't foolproof)
Submit bill of sale for project Aircraft as "bought for salvage Parts" to the FAA. Add a separate letter of salvage in order to remove it from the FAA registry as Salvaged. This de-registers this A/C and is an important first step.
Obtain written permission from your local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) inspector in order to remove the data tag from the salvaged project aircraft. This step represents a great opportunity to develop a positive relationship with the FSDO inspector with whom you'll be working to complete the process. Be straightforward and explain that you require his help in order to certify your project in accordance with 14 CFR § 21.193, under a Special Airworthiness Certificate for the purposes of operating an aircraft in the experimental exhibition group 2 - Piston Engine Aircraft category, for the purposes of:
Demonstrating flight proficiency; Demonstrating the superior engine
reliability of modern V8 engines; and Participating in exhibition of
the aircraft at airshows and public event in order to educate the
public about the unique and interesting characteristics of this
It is important to understand that the FAA FSDO inspectors are busy folks, and that they will appreciate the fact that you've done your homework. Maintain professionalism and don't expect an answer on the spot, as these inspectors have a number of strict procedures and guidelines within which they must work to accomplish the goal of certifying your aircraft. They deal with a great variety of aircraft and requests and may require some time to get up to speed on your specific request and understand the nature of your Robinson V8 aircraft.
Reserve a new N number on the FAA web site.
When your new N-number is confirmed by the FAA, simply submit forms 8050-88 and 8050-1 for the new N number as:
Manufacturer (preferably your new LLC Company or yourself). It cannot
be the old manufacturer of the salvaged parts. Model (Example:
Military Seabee OA-15) or whatever you want to call it. It cannot be
the old model of the salvaged parts.
These forms need to be sent to the FAA Oklahoma City Registration Branch.
When your project is completed and ready for airworthiness inspection and operating limitations, issue a program letter to your FSDO inspector. With FAA application for airworthiness form 8130.6. They will take it from there.
Here is an example of program letter:
Program Letter Nxxxx
Date: May xx, 20xx
To: Mr. FAA Inspector
Federal Aviation Administration
XXXXX Flight Standards District Office
1234 Maple Lane
anytown, state zipcode
In accordance with 14 CFR § 21.193, I request a Special Airworthiness
Certificate for my aircraft Nxxxx for the purpose of operating an
experimental exhibition, group 2 - Piston Engine Aircraft. 1) For
purposes of demonstrating flight proficency. 2) To demonstrate the
superior engine reliability of modern V8 Engines. 3) To participate
in exhibition of the aircraft at airshows and public events to educate
the public about the unique and interesting characteristics of this
The aircraft description is as follows:
Manufacturer: Your LLC Registration
Model: Your model
Serial No.: xxxxx Engine Make/Model: Robinson LSV
No. of Engines: 01 Propeller Make/Model: xxxxx
Number of Seats: Four
The aircraft will be available for inspection at it’s base airport:
(your airport and hangar location).
The aircraft will be weighed prior to flight to determine weight and
balance data. The marking requirements of Part 45 will be complied
with prior to flight, including permanent attachment of a fireproof
identification (data) plate, permanent application of appropriate
The following placards will be displayed in the cockpit in full view
of all occupants:
The word “EXPERIMENTAL" displayed near the entrance to the cabin or
cockpit; minimum 2 inches, maximum 6 inches in height.
"Passenger Warning – This Aircraft Does Not Comply With Federal Safety
Regulations For Standard Aircraft" .
Instruments and system controls will be adequately marked, identified,
and function properly prior to flight.
The power plant /propeller will be ground-run to sufficiently
determine they are operating properly for flight.
The Aircraft will be maintained under an Annual condition inspection
that meets the scope and detail of 14CFR part 43, Appendix D.
I request that airworthiness certification operating limitations be
issued permitting me to operate the aircraft in phase one within 50
Nautical mile radius of (Your Base Airport) with the exception of all
A,B,C and restricted airspace and avoiding flight over populated
areas. Ten hours of phase one flight tests will be conducted to
demonstrate control ability, engine reliability and establish the
flight envelope. After Phase 1 flight test completion, I plan to
operate the aircraft under Phase two operating limitations under
VFR/day and VFR/night conditions under a group 2 Experimental
Exhibition airworthiness certification within the continental U.S.