Getting Started with Kit Aircraft: Staying Married


If you are considering building a new homebuilt aircraft from a kit — or are thinking of buying someone’s completed homebuilt—this series maybe the most valuable hobby-related information you will ever read. That is because the hobby of building and flying your own full-size aircraft is likely to be a highlight of your life. Thousands of builder/pilots report that the process ranges from exhilarating to daunting, and at times from exciting to discouraging. But those who finish and fly their own aircraft know a satisfaction impossible to describe in words.

The commitment of time, money and work space dictates a dedication seen in few hobbies. Yet if the only goal is ownership of a custom aircraft, building will be drudgery and the chance of completion is reduced. Most homebuilders, however, know before they begin that they like building things, and others discover it early in the process. For most, working with their hands on a fascinating project is at least half of the fun. And some find to their amazement that they like building even more than they like flying. Members of this group find themselves flying the new creation for a while, then selling it to finance another build-it-yourself aircraft.

Our objective in this series, however, is to tackle some of the issues that should be addressed before investing serious time or money. Here is the list of topics:

Staying married.

Most builders do. Some don’t. Noted at the outset was the need for family support for a project as time- and money consuming as a homebuilt aircraft. Beyond that, common sense should prevail. People no doubt obsess on every type of hobby, but few of them require the commitment to succeed that homebuilding does. Success at homebuilding does. Success at homebuilding while maintaining good family relations requires regular progress on the project without rigid deadlines.

Thoughtfulness will go a long way toward meeting both goals. Figure a way to avoid tracking aluminum dust into the living room, and find a way to keep epoxy fumes out of the house.

Get the family involved. Near the end of the project, that might include planning for outings involving the aircraft.

Make sure everyone has fun and learns something. Even the FAA approves of that approach—officially.

To learn more about kit aircrafts, visit Kitplanes.