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10 Things You Need to Know About Homebuilt Aircraft PDF Print E-mail
Written by Aviator   
Monday, 11 January 2016 22:56

10 Things You Need to Know About Homebuilt Aircraft

If you have done enough research on buying new planes, then chances are you may have come across some information about homebuilt aircraft. Not every plane comes fully assembled from a manufacturing and assembly plant that has been certified by the FAA. Some planes can be built at home—even your own home. But before you plunk down your money, here are some things you need to know beforehand:

  1. Homebuilt planes are generally not as expensive as their brand new commercial counterparts, but they will still cost you a lot of money. Spending a hundred grand is not unheard of.

  2. If you want to build your own plane, it may take you literally years to completely finish the assembly. This is especially true if you build it in your spare time.

  3. If you want to build an aircraft on your own, you can choose among a lot of options, and that includes new technology. Just take care of yourself please. Aside from the usual dangers, there’s also the risk from chemical resins and paint systems. So wear protective clothing, and make sure you have an exhaust fan in your shop.

  4. If you buy a homebuilt aircraft fully assembled, then you don’t get a repairman certificate, since you didn’t build the plane yourself. You may want to negotiate with the person or company who built the plane and see if you can convince them to continue taking care of your plane.

  5. Homebuilt aircraft has the same maintenance and testing requirements as other planes. They need licensed pilots to fly, and they can’t be used for commercial purposes.

  6. The number of homebuilt aircraft has increased considerably through the years. It has doubled since 1994. Total hours flown have increased by more than 120%. Nowadays homebuilt aircraft comprise about 10% of all general aviation, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

  7. Accident rates for homebuilt aircraft are steadily dropping. In 2009 there were 67 fatal aviation accidents involving homebuilt aircraft. In 2012, the figure was down to 50. According to statistics, it’s about as dangerous as riding a motorcycle.

  8. General aviation aircraft are involved in five times more fatal aviation accidents than homebuilt planes.

  9. The accidents involving homebuilt planes were not usually caused by structural failures. According to the NTSB, mechanical failure and pilot error were the most common key factors.

  10. You can insure a homebuilt aircraft, although each insurance company may have different requirements. These requirements tend to be above and beyond the requirements of the Federal Aviation Regulations.

So if you are trying to get a new plane, you should consider whether a homebuilt plane can satisfy your needs. Better yet, see if you can build one yourself. If you think buying a new aircraft is fun, then you haven’t yet experienced the joy and the exhilarating feeling of accomplishment that comes with flying in the air on something that you built with your own two hands.