Asked Questions about Homebuilt Airplanes.
I have to pay Customs duty on kit planes?
No. You don't have to pay Customs duty if the kit is brought in
one package. Specialized materials to build airplanes and imported
hardware are subject to duties varying from 5 to 15%.
is the difference between an ultralight and a kitplane?
ultralight (which could be produced as a kit) is a powered flying
machine weighing less than 150kg empty with one or two seats (for
training). They may be operated in a designated Air Park area only.
A kitplane (Malaysian DCA definition) is a homebuilt plane, built
from plans or a manufactured kit. The max authorised for a kitplane
may not exced 750 kg. For full details, see AIC 5/97 under
Rules & Regulations.
much do they cost?
is a question that is best answered by 'Depends on what you want'.
A good flying ultralight machine can be bought for RM40,000 and
a kit built airplane by the time it's complete could cost upwards
for RM 80,000. A Quicksilver GT bought and operated in Malaysia
cost RM 80,000. An RV-6A (a fast cruising airplane) kit complete
with engine, instruments and radio could cost RM150,000 and up.
A Merlin GT with a 100hp CAM engine was put together for a total
cost of RM 85,000 in Malaysia. (1997 Prices)
kind of airplanes can I build?
any type within reason. You could build one-man ultralights, powered
gliders, two place low and slow airplanes, cruisers or aerobatic
machines. It all depends on what you want it to be capable of doing
for you: Low and slow, silent flight, fast with utility, aerobatic?
- they are all available.
types of engines can I use?
types are available depending on your 'expertise' with engines!
For years homebuilders have relied on certified aircraft engines.
But as the cost of these engine rises, alternatives have been found.
Several companies are building specialty engines specifically for
homebuilders use and others are adapting automotive engines. An
example is the Canadian developed CAM 100 engine which in its original
form is from a Honda Civic! The Rotax engines have become very popular
over the years and have received a lot of attention. There are both
two and four stroke, direct drive and geared engines for homebuilt
aircraft use. Some are air cooled others have water cooling. All
are fairly reasonable in cost compared to their certified counterparts.
Your best bet is to follow the recommendations of the airframe manufacturer
until experience is gained.
I carry passengers in my homebuilt airplane?
All homebuilt airplanes are recognised as non-certified aircraft
flown on a limited category Permit to Fly certificate. In Malaysia
these aircraft will carry the Registration marks commencing with
either 'E' for homebuilt/kit built aircraft or 'U' for ultralights.
Eg. 9M-EAA or 9M-UOA. All these aircraft must carry a passenger
warning placard informing the passenger that "This aircraft
is amateur-built and does not carry a standard certificate of airworthiness."This
placard announces to the potential passenger that he/she is travelling
in the homebuilt aircraft at his/her own risk. Notwithstanding,
it is always good for you to inform your passenger(s) and if necessary
get a written indeminity. You may not carry passengers for hire
safe are homebuilt airplanes for flying?
are as safe as you want to be. Little definitive data exists comparing
homebuilts to certified aircraft. Some hold that accident rates
for certified aircraft and homebuilts are about the same. The highest
number of problems, incidents and accidents to homebuilt aircraft
appear to be in flight test stage. While this is to be expected,
it can be minimised a great deal by very careful building and engaging
an EAA Flight Advisor who will advise you on the various pitfalls
to be avoided - before first flight. Certified aircraft seem to
have more unintentional encounters with bad weather that leads to
accidents while homebuilts seem to fare worst in accidents resulting
in over-stress from the aerobatics and fuel/engine related forced
landings. Safety is still a function of the pilots ability to make
intelligent decisions at all times, as with all aviation, homebuilt
health hazards might be involved while building?
The most obvious are those involed with common workshop practices,
such as minding basic safety practices - wearing protective lenses,
handling power tools properly etc. Subtle dangers exists where chemicals
are concerned. Composite structures require handling of chemical
resins that can be more toxic than simple adhesives. Paint systems
also require extra care. Epoxies emit fumes that can cause your
body to build an allergic reaction to the chemical. In these cases,
skin ventilated. Common sense and adherence to operating instructions
and warning labels at all times should minimise health hazards common
to all workshops, whether building airplanes or repairing cars.
long will a homebuilt take to complete?
Always longer than you think! The amount of time you spend building
on the aircraft is of course directly proportional to the project's
complexity. Kit manufacturers quote their completion times in man
hours. Typically an ultralight could be put together in 150 hours.
A low and slow basic two seat trainer type, such as MERLIN in 350
hours. A more complex undertaking would be an all metal aircraft
such as the RV series. This aircraft generally requires upwards
of 2000 hours of work. The time taken to complete a project also
depends on how much 'leisure' time of work you can put into it over
a period of time. An object lesson here is to remember that EAA
members are a fraternity and most will be happy to help along the
way for nothing other than camaraderie. First flight for an EAA
member is a great time to be shared by all members.
tools and facilities will I need?
Many designers and kit manufacturers will specify the tools needed
for construction in their particular case. Every builder will need
a set of basic mechanic's tools. Nothing fancy, but cheap tools
often cost more money and time, when they don't do the job as advertised.
Your collection of tools can be built up as the project proceeds.
For a shop you will need a space of approx. 5m x 10m for average
sized homebuilts. Smaller spaces may be used if final assembly and
fitting can be done at a more suitable place such as airport hangars.
There are many many other items which are often nice to have but
not necessarily mandatory. One grand champion airplane from '92
was built on the owner's back patio! Whatever space you use, the
area should be well lighted and ventilated.