Have you ever thought about building your own airplane?
Homebuilt aircraft are part of the experimental amateur-built (EAB) category. They are constructed by individuals using kits, plans, or original designs. Currently, there are over 33,000 EAB aircraft on the FAA’s registry, with about 1,000 aircraft completed each year in homes and garages across the country.
Building an airplane is a big undertaking, but any successful homebuilder will tell you it’s well worth the time and effort. If you’re up for a challenge, here are some good reasons to take the leap and consider building your own airplane:
Homebuilding can create a more affordable path to aircraft ownership, especially when compared to purchasing a factory-new plane. Most kits include everything you’ll need except for the engine, aircraft propeller, avionics, interior, and paint. EAA recommends budgeting one-third for the cost of the kit, one-third for the engine, and one-third for everything else. Keep in mind that building takes time, so you can usually spread these costs over one or more years.
Many of today’s aircraft kits are designed to make homebuilding as accessible as possible to virtually anyone. Any techniques you’ll need to know (such as riveting) can be learned quickly with help from online resources such as EAA’s builder community. As long as you have patience, attention to detail, and dedication to the project, you can build your own airplane!
Some manufacturers even offer options to expedite the building process. For example, Van’s Aircraft has a Quick Build Kit that comes with some parts pre-assembled. CubCrafters’ Builder’s Assist program is unique in that factory technicians supervise homebuilders in the actual fabrication of parts and components for the airplane, rather than simply assisting with assembling the parts from a kit.
Building an airplane is about enjoying the journey just as much as the destination. Along with the pride and accomplishment that comes with flying the airplane you built, you’ll also gain a great deal of knowledge and confidence along the way. When your project is finished, you’ll know your airplane inside and out, with an in-depth understanding of its capabilities and limitations. As the primary builder, you’ll also have the ability to do your own maintenance, helping you save time and money. Last but not least, one of the most rewarding parts of building your own airplane is joining a community of builder-pilots who share your passion and dedication.
Next week, we’ll be sharing some key questions to ask yourself before deciding to build an airplane. In the meantime, be sure to check out EAA’s first online Homebuilders Week, taking place January 26-30, 2021!
Enjoy free and interactive webinars with experts from the homebuilt aircraft community on topics including workshops on sheet metal, welding, and wood; aircraft designs from a variety of industry leaders; part selection when building; buying secondhand; and more. Find out more here.