Do you ever dream of owning your own plane? There are many advantages of building your own plane.
The main advantage is the cost. The cost of a homebuilt plane can vary from $5,000 upwards to $200,000 depending on the kind of engine, performance characteristics and instruments. For instance, the Mooney Bravo which is basically a four-seater that can fly at 270 mph with a 1000 mile range, costs around $399,000 while the Lancair IV experimental plane which is also a four-seater, costs anything between $174,000 to $200,000, almost half the cost of the Mooney Bravo. The break-up of costs for the Lancair IV is like this; the standard kit costs around $52,000 while the fast-build kit costs $77,000, the engine costs $32,000, the propeller costs $10,000, avionics cost $60,000 while the interiors can cost $20,000. The Lancair can go up to 375 mph with a 1459 mile range that is better than the Mooney Bravo. The difference in cost is on account of the cost of labor, the cost of tools that you use and the costs of the certification that are saved when you build your own kit plane.
Another advantage of building you own kit plane is that you get access to the latest technology. With the flying space heating up, many manufacturers are coming out with new designs, albeit at a higher cost to comply with the standards of FAA. The new planes come equipped with the latest equipment and state-of-art technology. However, experimental planes are cheaper as they don’t have to go through elaborate certification regulations and hence have great speed and great looks.
Yet another advantage of building your own plane is that you get to do its maintenance yourself. The maintenance of a manufactured plane is to be done by a certified aviation mechanic. This will cost around $60 to $100 per hour. Further, the annual inspection will set you back by $1000 to $5000. When you build your own plane, you save thousands of dollars over the years in maintenance and inspection costs as you would be doing this yourself. You can also pick up an auto engine like the rotary from Mazda or the Chevy or the air-cooled Volkswagen engine. The maintenance of these engines can be done at a lower cost as compared to normal engines fixed on planes.
One major worry about home-built planes is safety. FAA has rules that ensure that a plane built by you undergoes FAA tests and is test flown by the builder of the plane for about 40 hours in and around a range of 25 miles. The safety record of home-built planes is comparable to that of manufactured ones.
Cost is not the only factor to be considered when you build your own plane. You cam also involve the entire family in building the plane and this become family-bonding time.
Last but not least, the sheer joy of working with your hands and building the plane with commitment and perseverance will fill you with the pride of achievement. It is a challenge that many people enjoy.