The information gathered here is from the official websites. Be your
own judge on the quality of the information gathered. Caveat Emptor!
We cannot be held responsible for the information presented. In some
cases, it is more than possible that the performance data is
New ready-built aircraft that while being officially microlights but
are really sophisticated cruising aircraft are also included.
choosing a homebuilt
quick facts about
what are experimental / homebuild aircraft?
Amateur-Built (also known as homebuilt
or custom built) aircraft are built by individuals and licensed by the
country's civil aviation authority as “Experimental.” The Experimental
designation has been in existence for more than five decades. It defines
aircraft that are used for non-commercial, recreational purposes such as
education or personal use. In general, if individuals build at least 51
percent of an aircraft, it can be registered in the
Amateur-Built/Homebuilt Category. They are available in kits (where some
of the airplane is already fabricated), or plans (where the builder
manufactures all the parts and assembles them). These airplanes are also
commonly known as “homebuilts.” Currently, more than 23,000
amateur-built/homebuilt aircraft are licensed in the USA alone. They
represent proven aircraft designs that have been flown safely for many
who builds aircraft?
People from all walks of life,
including astronauts, airline pilots, military jet pilots, machinists,
welders, professional people and others.
why to people build aircraft?
A variety of reasons - a personal
challenge; education; performance; or to invest “sweat equity” into the
cost of an airplane. Costs range from under $5,000 to more than $100,000
based on desired performance characteristics and optional engine and
avionics packages. By comparison, a new factory-built Cessna 172 costs
more than $150,000. Many amateur-built/homebuilt aircraft utilize
composite materials that help create airplanes that are lighter, faster
and more fuel efficient than similar production aircraft.
how long does it take to build one?
An average amateur-built/homebuilt
aircraft will take between 1,000 and 3,000 hours to complete. Some
individuals build their airplane in less than a year; others may take a
decade or more.
how are these aircraft regulated?
All Amateur-Built/Homebuilt airplanes
must be registered with the civil aviation licensing authority. These
airplanes must be inspected by Designated Inspector before an
Airworthiness Certificate can be issued. This is a fairly rigorous
process. The builder(s) must provide logs of when, where and how
construction took place, along with supporting documents and
photographs. If the aircraft passes this inspection, a pilot must fly a
series of test flights in specific non-populated areas to make sure all
components are operating properly. Only after that test time is flown
may passengers be flown in the aircraft.
In addition, an amateur-built airplane
is subject to major condition inspections every 12 months, the same as
small production aircraft.
does a person have to be a licensed pilot to fly
Yes. Pilots of Amateur-Built/Homebuilt
aircraft must earn and maintain the same pilot training and ratings as
those who fly production aircraft (such as Cessnas, Pipers and
Beechcrafts). They also must follow all appropriate civil aviation
regulations during each of their flights.
how safe are amateur built aircraft?
Studies by FAA and the National
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) show that Amateur-Built/Homebuilt
aircraft have an accident rate less than one percentage point higher
than the general aviation fleet. In fact, the accident rate for
Amateur-Built/homebuilt aircraft is dropping. The total number of
registered homebuilt aircraft is increasing by about 1,000 per year in
the USA, while the total number of accidents has stayed virtually the
same. Another good barometer of safety is insurance rates. Companies
that insure both homebuilts and production aircraft charge about the
same rates for owners of either type of airplane. That indicates a
similar level of risk.