Also known as amateur-built aircraft or kit planes, homebuilt aircraft are constructed by persons for whom this is not a professional activity. These aircraft may be constructed from "scratch," from plans, or from assembly kits.
The safety record of homebuilts is not comparable to certified general aviation aircraft. A Type Certificate, is awarded by aviation regulating bodies to aerospace manufacturers after it has been established that the particular design of a civil aircraft engine or propeller General aviation (abbr GA) is one of two categories of Civil aviation. In the United States, in 2003, amateur-built aircraft experienced a rate of 21. 60 accidents per 100,000 flight hours; the overall general aviation accident rate for that year was 6. 75 per 100,000 flight hours. 
In the United States, Australia and New Zealand, homebuilt aircraft may be licensed Experimental under FAA or similar local regulations. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics. New Zealand is an Island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island In generic use an experimental aircraft is an Aircraft that has not yet been fully proven in Flight. The Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA) is an agency of the United States Department of Transportation with authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of Provided that the owner has done at least 51% of the construction work themselves they can also apply for a repairman's certificate for that airframe. The repairman's certificate allows the holder to perform and sign off on most of the maintenance, repairs, and inspections themselves.
The first aircraft to be offered for sale as plans, rather than a completed airframe, was the Baby Ace in the late 1920s. WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft. Please see WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft/page content for recommended layout
Homebuilt aircraft gained in popularity in the US in the 1950s with the formation of the Experimental Aircraft Association and with a large demand for light aircraft created by ex-military pilots after World War II. Experimental Aircraft Association ( EAA) is an international organization of Aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including
Homebuilt aircraft are generally small, one to four-seat sportsplanes which employ simple methods of construction. A sports plane is an aircraft designed for recreational or competition flying Fabric-covered wood or metal frames and plywood are common in the aircraft structure, but increasingly, fiberglass and other composites as well as full aluminum construction techniques are being used. Plywood is a type of Engineered board made from thin sheets of Wood, called plies or veneers Fiberglass (also called fibreglass and glass fibre see Spelling differences) is material made from extremely fine Fibers of Glass. Composite materials (or composites for short are engineered Materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical Engines are most often either the same as or similar to the engines used in certified aircraft (such as Lycoming, Continental, Rotax, and Jabiru). Lycoming Engines' is an American Aircraft engine company known primarily for its General aviation Engines For most of its history Lycoming has been Continental Motors ( Teledyne Continental Motors) is an engine manufacturer located in Mobile Alabama. BRP-Rotax GmbH & Co KG, commonly known simply as Rotax, is an Austrian engine manufacturer This article is about the aircraft For the Stork see Jabiru. The Jabiru Aircraft Company Pty Ltd produces a range of small civil utility A minority of homebuilts use converted automobile engines, with Volkswagen air-cooled flat-4s, Subaru-based liquid-cooled engines, Mazda Wankel and Chevrolet Corvair six-cylinder engines being common. A flat-4 or horizontally-opposed-4 is a Flat engine with four Cylinders arranged horizontally in two banks of two cylinders on each side of a central is the automobile manufacturing division of Japanese transportation conglomerate Fuji Heavy Industries Co ( is a Japanese automotive manufacturer based in Hiroshima, Japan. Felix Heinrich Wankel Hon DEng (August 13 1902 &ndash October 9 1988 was a German Mechanical engineer and the inventor of the Wankel engine. The Chevrolet Corvair was an Automobile produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors from 1959 to 1969 for the 1960&ndash1969 Model The use of automotive engines helps to reduce costs, but many builders prefer dedicated aircraft engines, which are perceived to have better performance and reliability. An aircraft engine is a Propulsion system for an Aircraft. Aircraft engines are almost always a type of lightweight Internal combustion engine. Other engines that have been used include chainsaw and motorcycle engines. A chainsaw (or chain saw) is a portable mechanical motorized Saw. MotorCycle is the title of a 1993 album by Rock band Daniel Amos, released on BAI Records.
A combination of cost and litigation, which has discouraged general aviation manufacturers from introducing new designs, has led to homebuilts outselling factory types by five to one. In law a lawsuit is a civil action brought before a Court in which the party commencing the action the Plaintiff, seeks a legal or equitable remedy In 2003, the number of homebuilts produced in the USA exceeded the number produced by any single certified manufacturer.
The history of amateur-built aircraft can be traced to the beginning of aviation. Even if the Wright brothers, Clément Ader, and their successors had commercial objectives in mind, the first aircraft were constructed by passionate enthusiasts whose goal was to fly. WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft. Please see WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft/page content for recommended layout Clément Ader ( April 2 1841 &ndash March 5 1925) was a French engineer born in Muret, Haute Garonne remembered Commercial aviation is the part of Civil aviation (both General aviation and scheduled airline service) that involves operating aircraft for hire
Aviation took a leap forward with the industrialization that accompanied the First World War. World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All In the post-war period, manufacturers needed to find new markets and introduced models designed for tourism. However, these machines were affordable only by the very rich.
Many U. S. aircraft designed and registered in the 1920s onward were considered "experimental" by the (then) CAA, the same registration under which modern homebuilts are issued Special Airworthiness Certificates. The special airworthiness certificate is a Federal Aviation Administration authorization to operate an Aircraft in United States airspace in one or more Many of these were prototypes, but designs such as Bernard Pietenpol's first 1923 design were some of the first homebuilt aircraft. Bernard H Pietenpol (1901 - 1984 was an aircraft designer Father of home built aircraft Pietenpol was a self-taught mechanic who lived most of his life in the small community In 1928, Henri Mignet published plans for his HM-8, as did Pietenpol for his Air Camper. Henri Mignet, ( October 19 1893 in Charente-Maritime – August 31[[ 965]] in Ain Harronda in Morocco) was a French The Pietenpol Air Camper is a simple Homebuilt aircraft designed by Bernard H Pietenpol later constructed a factory, and in 1933 began creating and selling partially-constructed aircraft kits.
In 1936, an association of amateur aviation enthusiasts was created in France. Many types of amateur aircraft began to make an appearance, and in 1938 legislation was amended to provide for a Certificat de navigabilité restreint d'aéronef (CNRA, "restricted operating certificate for aircraft"). Operating certificate is a category of License issued by a Government agency allowing an individual or company to provide a controlled type of service 1946 saw the birth of the Ultralight Aircraft Association which in 1952 became the Popular Flying Association in the United Kingdom, followed in 1953 by the Experimental Aircraft Association in the United States and the Sport Aircraft Association in Australia. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located Experimental Aircraft Association ( EAA) is an international organization of Aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the
Until the late 1950s, builders had mainly kept to wood-and-cloth and steel tube-and-cloth design. Without the regulatory restrictions faced by production aircraft manufacturers, homebuilders showed introduced innovative designs and construction techniques. Burt Rutan introduced the canard design to the homebuilding world and pioneered the use of composite construction. Elbert Leander "Burt" Rutan (born June 17, 1943 in Estacada Oregon) is an American aerospace engineer noted for his originality In Aeronautics, canard ( French for Duck) is an airframe configuration of Fixed-wing aircraft in which the Tailplane is ahead of the Metal construction in kitplanes was taken to a new level by Richard VanGrunsven in his RV series. Founded by Richard "Van" VanGrunsven in 1973, Van's Aircraft is a Homebuilt aircraft kit manufacturer. As the sophistication of the kits improved, components such as autopilots and more advanced navigation instruments became common. An autopilot is a mechanical electrical or hydraulic system used to guide a vehicle without assistance from a human being Radio navigation or radionavigation is the application of Radio frequencies to determining a position on the Earth.
Litigation during the 1970s and 1980s caused stagnation in the small aircraft market, forcing the surviving companies to retain older, proven designs. In law a lawsuit is a civil action brought before a Court in which the party commencing the action the Plaintiff, seeks a legal or equitable remedy In recent years, the less restrictive regulations for homebuilts allowed a number of manufacturers to develop new and innovative designs; many can outperform certified production aircraft in their class.
An example of high-end homebuilt design is Lancair, which has developed a number of high-performance kits. Lancair International Inc (pronounced ‘lance-air’) is a U The most powerful is the Lancair Propjet, a four-place kit with cabin pressurization and a turboprop engine, cruising at 24,000 feet (7,300 m) and 370 knots (425 mph, 685 km/h). The Lancair Propjet is a four-seat pressurized, composite aircraft powered by a 750-hp Walter 601E Turboprop engine Cabin pressurization is the active pumping of compressed Air into an Aircraft cabin when flying at altitude to maintain a safe and comfortable environment for crew A turboprop engine is a type of aircraft powerplant that uses a Gas turbine engine to drive a Propeller. Although aircraft such as this are considered "home-built" for legal reasons, they are typically built in the factory with the assistance of the buyer. This allows the company which sells the kit to avoid the long and expensive process of certification, because they remain owner-built according to the regulations.
A small number of jet kitplanes have been built since the 1970s, including the tiny Bede Aircraft BD-5J. Bede Aircraft Corporation was founded by controversial aeronautical engineer Jim Bede in 1961 to produce the BD-1 kit aircraft which eventually became the American
Homebuilt aircraft can be constructed out of any material, provided it is light and strong enough for flight. Several common construction methods are detailed below.
This is the oldest construction, seen in the first aircraft and hence the best known. For that reason, amateur-built aircraft associations will have more specialists for this type of craft than other kinds.
The most commonly-used woods are Sitka spruce and Douglas fir, which offer excellent strength-to-weight ratios. Spruce refers to Trees of the genus Picea, a genus of about 35 species of Coniferous Evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae Firs ( Abies) are a genus of between 45-55 species of Evergreen conifers in the family Pinaceae. Wooden structural members are joined with adhesive, usually epoxy. In Chemistry, epoxy or polyepoxide is a Thermosetting Epoxide Polymer that cures (polymerizes and crosslinks when mixed with a Unlike the wood construction techniques used in other applications, virtually all wooden joints in aircraft are simple butt joints, with plywood gussets. Plywood is a type of Engineered board made from thin sheets of Wood, called plies or veneers A gusset is a device often triangular, used to reinforce a connection between two components Joints are designed to be stronger than the members.
After the structure has been completed, the aircraft is covered in fabric (usually aircraft-grade polyester). Polyester is a category of Polymers which contain the Ester Functional group in their main chain
The advantage of this type of construction is that it does not require complex tools and equipment, but commonplace items such as saw, planer, file, sandpaper, and clamps.
Amateur-built wood/cloth designs include:
A recent trend is toward wood-composite aircraft. Société Avions Jodel is a French aircraft company started by Édouard Joly and his son-in-law Jean Délémontez. The Evans VP-1 Volksplane is an American designed aircraft for amateur construction designed by aeronautical engineer William Evans of La Jolla California The Evans VP-2 is a development of the Evans VP-1 Volksplane, both of which were designed in La Jolla California by William Samuel Evans a design specialist The basic load carrying material is still wood, but it is combined with foam (for instance to increase buckling resistance of load carrying plywood skins) and other synthetic materials like glass- and carbon fibre (to locally increase the modulus of load carrying structures like spar caps, etc). An example of a wood-composite design is this Ibis experimental aircraft project, designed by Roger Junqua, and the KR series of homebuilts designed by Ken Rand.
Planes built from metal use similar techniques to more conventional factory-built aircraft. The Murphy Moose is a large high-wing utility Monoplane designed to handle nearly any Airfield under any conditions Monocoque, from the French for single ( mono) and shell ( coque) is a construction technique that supports structural load by using an object's external They can be more challenging to build, requiring metal-cutting, metal-shaping, and riveting. A rivet is a mechanical Fastener. Before it is installed it consists of a smooth cylindrical shaft with a head on one end A component assembly kit has the material needed to build part of the aircraft, such as the fuselage. Such kits are also available for the other types of aircraft construction.
There are three main types of metal construction: sheet aluminum, tube aluminum, and welded steel tube. WikipediaNaming Steel is an Alloy consisting mostly of Iron, with a Carbon content between 0 The tube structures are covered in fabric, much like wooden aircraft.
Examples of metal-based amateur aircraft include:
Composite material structures are made of cloth with a high tensile strength (usually fiberglass or carbon fiber, or occasionally Kevlar) combined with a structural plastic (usually epoxy, although vinylester is used in some aircraft). Composite materials (or composites for short are engineered Materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical Fiberglass (also called fibreglass and glass fibre see Spelling differences) is material made from extremely fine Fibers of Glass. Kevlar is the registered Trademark for a light strong para-aramid Synthetic fiber, related to other Aramids such as Nomex and In Chemistry, epoxy or polyepoxide is a Thermosetting Epoxide Polymer that cures (polymerizes and crosslinks when mixed with a Vinyl Ester, or Vinylester, is a resin produced by the esterification of an Epoxy resin with an unsaturated monocarboxylic acid. The fabric is saturated with the structural plastic in a liquid form; when the plastic cures and hardens, the part will hold its shape while possessing the strength characteristics of the fabric.
The two primary types of composite planes are molded composite, where major structures like wing skins and fuselage halves are prepared and cured in molds, and moldless, where shapes are carved out of foam and then covered with fiberglass or carbon fiber.
The advantages of this type of construction include smooth surfaces (without the drag of rivets), the ability to do virtually any compound curve, and the ability to place fiberglass or carbon fiber in optimal positions, orientations, and quantities. Drawbacks include the need to work with chemical products as well as low strength in material directions perpendicular to fiber. Composites provide superb strength to weight. Material stiffness dependent upon direction (as opposed to equal in all directions, as with metals) allows for advanced "elastic tailoring" of composite parts.
Examples of amateur craft made of composite materials include: