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Homebuilt aircraft

Homebuilt aircraft

Overview
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.

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, homebuilt aircraft may be licensed Experimental
Experimental aircraft
An experimental aircraft is an aircraft that has not yet been fully proven in flight. Often, this implies that new aerospace technologies are being tested on the aircraft, though the label is more broad....

 under FAA
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

 or similar local regulations. 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.
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Encyclopedia
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.

Overview


In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, homebuilt aircraft may be licensed Experimental
Experimental aircraft
An experimental aircraft is an aircraft that has not yet been fully proven in flight. Often, this implies that new aerospace technologies are being tested on the aircraft, though the label is more broad....

 under FAA
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

 or similar local regulations. 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.

Alberto Santos-Dumont
Alberto Santos-Dumont
Alberto Santos-Dumont , was a Brazilian early pioneer of aviation. The heir of a wealthy family of coffee producers, Santos Dumont dedicated himself to science studies in Paris, France, where he spent most of his adult life....

 was the first to offer for free construction plans, publishing drawings of its Demoiselle
Santos-Dumont Demoiselle
-External links:...

 in the June 1910 edition of Popular Mechanics. The first aircraft to be offered for sale as plans, rather than a completed airframe, was the Baby Ace
Ace Baby Ace
|-See also:-External links:* provides info on the kit for building the Corben Baby Ace Model D.*...

 in the late 1920s.


Homebuilt aircraft gained in popularity in the US in 1924 with the start of the National Air Races
National Air Races
The National Air Races were a series of pylon and cross-country races that took place in the United States from 1920 to 1949. The science of aviation, and the speed and reliability of aircraft and engines grew rapidly during this period; the National Air Races were both a proving ground and...

, held in Dayton
Dayton
Dayton is a city in Ohio and the county seat of Montgomery County, Ohio, United States.Dayton may also refer to:-United States:*Dayton, Alabama*Dayton, California, in Butte County*Dayton, Lassen County, California*Dayton, Idaho*Dayton, Indiana...

, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

. These races required aircraft with useful loads of 150 lb (68 kg) and engines of 80 cubic inches or less and as a consequence of the class limitations most were amateur-built. The years after Charles Lindbergh
Charles Lindbergh
Charles Augustus Lindbergh was an American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist.Lindbergh, a 25-year-old U.S...

's transatlantic flight brought a peak of interest between 1929-33. During this period many aircraft designers, builders and pilots were self taught and the high accident rate brought public condemnation and increasing regulation to amateur-building. The resulting federal standards on design, engineering, stress analysis, use of aircraft-quality hardware and testing of aircraft brought an end to amateur building except in some specialized areas, such as racing. In 1946 Goodyear
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company was founded in 1898 by Frank Seiberling. Goodyear manufactures tires for automobiles, commercial trucks, light trucks, SUVs, race cars, airplanes, farm equipment and heavy earth-mover machinery....

 restarted the National Air Races, including a class for aircraft powered by 200 cubic inch and smaller engines. The midget racer class spread nationally in the US and this led to calls for acceptable standards to allow recreational use of amateur-built aircraft. By the mid-1950s both the US and Canada once again allowed amateur-built aircraft to specified standards and limitations.

Homebuilt aircraft are generally small, one to four-seat sportsplanes which employ simple methods of construction. Fabric-covered wood or metal frames and plywood
Plywood
Plywood is a type of manufactured timber made from thin sheets of wood veneer. It is one of the most widely used wood products. It is flexible, inexpensive, workable, re-usable, and can usually be locally manufactured...

 are common in the aircraft structure, but increasingly, fiberglass
Fiberglass
Glass fiber is a material consisting of numerous extremely fine fibers of glass.Glassmakers throughout history have experimented with glass fibers, but mass manufacture of glass fiber was only made possible with the invention of finer machine tooling...

 and other composite
Composite material
Composite materials, often shortened to composites or called composition materials, are engineered or naturally occurring materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties which remain separate and distinct at the macroscopic or...

s as well as full aluminum construction techniques are being used. Engines are most often the same as, or similar to, the engines used in certified aircraft (such as Lycoming
Lycoming Engines
Lycoming Engines is a U.S. aircraft engine company, known primarily for its general aviation engines. For most of its history Lycoming has been part of the AVCO group as AVCO Lycoming. In 1987 AVCO was purchased by Textron to become Textron Lycoming...

, Continental, Rotax
Rotax
BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co KG , commonly known simply as Rotax, is an Austrian engine manufacturer. It develops and produces four-stroke and advanced two-stroke engines for Bombardier Recreational Products products as well as for motorcycles, karts,...

, and Jabiru
Jabiru Aircraft
Jabiru Aircraft Pty Ltd is an Australian aircraft manufacturer that produces a range of kit- and ready-built civil light aircraft in Bundaberg, Queensland. The company also designs and manufactures a range of light aircraft engines...

). A minority of homebuilts use converted automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 engines, with Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

 air-cooled flat-4
Flat-4
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 crankcase...

s, Subaru
Subaru
; is the automobile manufacturing division of Japanese transportation conglomerate Fuji Heavy Industries .Subaru is internationally known for their use of the boxer engine layout popularized in cars by the Volkswagen Beetle and Porsche 911, in most of their vehicles above 1500 cc as well as...

-based liquid-cooled engines, Mazda
Mazda
is a Japanese automotive manufacturer based in Fuchū, Aki District, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.In 2007, Mazda produced almost 1.3 million vehicles for global sales...

 Wankel and Chevrolet Corvair
Chevrolet Corvair
-First generation :The 1960 Corvair 500 and 700 series four-door sedans were conceived as economy cars offering few amenities in order to keep the price competitive, with the 500 selling for under $2,000...

 six-cylinder engines being common. The use of automotive engines helps to reduce costs, but many builders prefer dedicated aircraft engine
Aircraft engine
An aircraft engine is the component of the propulsion system for an aircraft that generates mechanical power. Aircraft engines are almost always either lightweight piston engines or gas turbines...

s, which are perceived to have better performance and reliability. Other engines that have been used include chainsaw
Chainsaw
A chainsaw is a portable mechanical saw, powered by electricity, compressed air, hydraulic power, or most commonly a two-stroke engine...

 and motorcycle
Motorcycle
A motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions.Motorcycles are one of the most...

 engines.

A combination of cost and litigation, especially in the mid-1980s era, which has discouraged general aviation manufacturers from introducing new designs, has led to homebuilts outselling factory types by five to one. In 2003, the number of homebuilts produced in the USA exceeded the number produced by any single certified manufacturer.

History


The history of amateur-built aircraft can be traced to the beginning of aviation. Even if the Wright brothers
Wright brothers
The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur , were two Americans credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903...

, Clément Ader
Clément Ader
Clément Ader was a French inventor and engineer born in Muret, Haute Garonne, and is remembered primarily for his pioneering work in aviation.- The inventor :...

, and their successors had commercial
Commercial aviation
Commercial aviation is the part of civil aviation that involves operating aircraft for hire to transport passengers or cargo...

 objectives in mind, the first aircraft were constructed by passionate enthusiasts whose goal was to fly.

Early years


Aviation took a leap forward with the industrialization that accompanied World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. 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 Certificate
Special Airworthiness Certificate
A special airworthiness certificate is an airworthiness certificate that is not sufficient to allow an aircraft to be used in commercial passenger or cargo operations.-United States:...

s. Many of these were prototypes, but designs such as Bernard Pietenpol
Bernard Pietenpol
Bernard H. Pietenpol 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 of Cherry Grove in southeastern Minnesota....

's first 1923 design were some of the first homebuilt aircraft. In 1928, Henri Mignet
Henri Mignet
Henri Mignet, Henri Mignet, Henri Mignet, (October 19, 1893 in Charente-Maritime – August 31, 1965 in Pessac in Gironde, was a French radio engineer who became well-known as an aircraft designer and builder...

 published plans for his HM-8, as did Pietenpol for his Air Camper
Pietenpol Air Camper
-See also:- External links :* * * * *...

. 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
Operating certificate is a category of license issued by a government agency allowing an individual or company to provide a controlled type of service. These certificates are generally issued for a limited time period...

"). 1946 saw the birth of the Ultralight Aircraft Association which in 1952 became the Popular Flying Association
Popular Flying Association
The Light Aircraft Association is the representative body in the United Kingdom for amateur aircraft construction, recreational and sport flying...

 in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, followed in 1953 by the Experimental Aircraft Association
Experimental Aircraft Association
The Experimental Aircraft Association is an international organization of aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Since its inception it has grown internationally with over 160,000 members and about 1,000 chapters worldwide....

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the Sport Aircraft Association in Australia.

Technology and innovation



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 introduced innovative designs and construction techniques. Burt Rutan
Burt Rutan
Elbert Leander "Burt" Rutan is an American aerospace engineer noted for his originality in designing light, strong, unusual-looking, energy-efficient aircraft...

 introduced the canard
Canard (aeronautics)
In aeronautics, canard is an airframe configuration of fixed-wing aircraft in which the forward surface is smaller than the rearward, the former being known as the "canard", while the latter is the main wing...

 design to the homebuilding world and pioneered the use of composite construction. Metal construction in kitplanes was taken to a new level by Richard VanGrunsven in his RV series
Van's Aircraft
Van's Aircraft is an American kit aircraft manufacturer, founded by Richard "Van" VanGrunsven in 1973.Van's RV series of aircraft, from the single seat RV-3 to the latest RV-12, are all-aluminum, low-wing monoplanes of monocoque construction...

. As the sophistication of the kits improved, components such as autopilot
Autopilot
An autopilot is a mechanical, electrical, or hydraulic system used to guide a vehicle without assistance from a human being. An autopilot can refer specifically to aircraft, self-steering gear for boats, or auto guidance of space craft and missiles...

s and more advanced navigation instruments
Radio navigation
Radio navigation or radionavigation is the application of radio frequencies to determine a position on the Earth. Like radiolocation, it is a type of radiodetermination.The basic principles are measurements from/to electric beacons, especially...

 became common.

Litigation during the 1970s and 1980s caused stagnation in the small aircraft market, forcing the surviving companies to retain older, proven designs. 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
Lancair
Lancair International, Inc. is a U.S. manufacturer of general aviation aircraft kits. They are well known for their series of high-performance single-engine aircraft that offer cruise speeds that surpass many twin-engine turboprop designs...

, which has developed a number of high-performance kits. The most powerful is the Lancair Propjet
Lancair Propjet
-External links:* -See also:...

, a four-place kit with cabin pressurization
Cabin pressurization
Cabin pressurization is the pumping of compressed air into an aircraft cabin to maintain a safe and comfortable environment for crew and passengers when flying at altitude.-Need for cabin pressurization:...

 and a turboprop engine, cruising at 24000 feet (7,315.2 m) and 370 knots (425 mph, 685 km/h). 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. One of the terms applied to this concept is commonly referred to as "The 51% Rule", which requires that builders perform the majority of the fabrication and assembly to be issued a Certificate of Airworthiness as an Amateur Built aircraft.
A small number of jet kitplanes have been built since the 1970s, including the tiny Bede Aircraft
Bede Aircraft
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 Aviation Corporation's AA-1. The company also created and produced a number of advanced kit planes including the famous Bede BD-5 and...

 BD-5J.

Building materials


Homebuilt aircraft can be constructed out of any material that is light and strong enough for flight. Several common construction methods are detailed below.

Wood and fabric




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. Wooden structural members are joined with adhesive, usually epoxy
Epoxy
Epoxy, also known as polyepoxide, is a thermosetting polymer formed from reaction of an epoxide "resin" with polyamine "hardener". Epoxy has a wide range of applications, including fiber-reinforced plastic materials and general purpose adhesives....

. Unlike the wood construction techniques used in other applications, virtually all wooden joints in aircraft are simple butt joint
Butt joint
A butt joint is a joinery technique in which two members are joined by simply butting them together. The butt joint is the simplest joint to make since it merely involves cutting the members to the appropriate length and butting them together. It is also the weakest because unless some form of...

s, with plywood
Plywood
Plywood is a type of manufactured timber made from thin sheets of wood veneer. It is one of the most widely used wood products. It is flexible, inexpensive, workable, re-usable, and can usually be locally manufactured...

 gusset
Gusset
In sewing, a gusset is a triangular or rhomboid piece of fabric inserted into a seam to add breadth or reduce stress from tight-fitting clothing...

s. Joints are designed to be stronger than the members. After the structure has been completed, the aircraft is covered in aircraft fabric (usually aircraft-grade polyester
Polyester
Polyester is a category of polymers which contain the ester functional group in their main chain. Although there are many polyesters, the term "polyester" as a specific material most commonly refers to polyethylene terephthalate...

). 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.

Examples of amateur-built wood and fabric designs include:
  • The classic Pietenpol Air Camper
    Pietenpol Air Camper
    -See also:- External links :* * * * *...

    , a homebuilt that has been built since the 1920s.
  • The Bowers Fly Baby
    Bowers Fly Baby
    -External links:*...

    , a low-wing monoplane which has been popular since the 1960s.
  • The Ison miniMAX

Wood/composite mixture


A recent trend is toward wood-composite aircraft. 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.).

Examples of wood-composite designs include:
  • Ibis experimental aircraft project, designed by Roger Junqua
  • KR series of homebuilts designed by Ken Rand
  • PIK-26
    PIK-26
    |-References:******...

     designed by Kai Mellen

Metal




Planes built from metal use similar techniques to more conventional factory-built aircraft. They can be more challenging to build, requiring metal-cutting, metal-shaping, and riveting if building from plans. "Quick-build" kits are available which have the cutting, shaping and hole-drilling mostly done, requiring only finishing and assembly. Such kits are also available for the other types of aircraft construction, especially composite.

There are three main types of metal construction: sheet aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

, tube aluminium, and welded steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

 tube. The tube structures are covered in aircraft fabric, much like wooden aircraft.

Examples of metal-based amateur aircraft include:
  • The Murphy Moose, Rebel
    Murphy Rebel
    -Similar aircraft:* Aviat Husky* American Champion Citabria and Scout* Capella XS* Fisher Dakota Hawk* Murphy Elite* Murphy Maverick* Piper Cub...

    , Super Rebel and Maverick, produced by Murphy Aircraft
    Murphy Aircraft
    Murphy Aircraft Manufacturing Limited is a Canadian maker of civil utility aircraft kits. They have designed and produced a series of aircraft which allows builders to choose from a range of sizes - from two-seat sports planes to six-place bush transports....

    .
  • The Vans RV-4, RV-8
    Van's Aircraft RV-8
    -See also:-External links:*...

    , RV-10 and other models produced by Van's Aircraft
    Van's Aircraft
    Van's Aircraft is an American kit aircraft manufacturer, founded by Richard "Van" VanGrunsven in 1973.Van's RV series of aircraft, from the single seat RV-3 to the latest RV-12, are all-aluminum, low-wing monoplanes of monocoque construction...

    , are the most popular metal homebuilt aircraft.
  • Chris Heintz's Zenith CH601 Zodiac
    AMD Zodiac
    The Zodiac is a family of Canadian all-metal, two-seat, fixed landing gear airplanes that first flew in 1984. The aircraft have been produced as kits and completed aircraft by Zenair in Canada and Zenith Aircraft Company in the USA....

     and Zenith STOL CH701

Composite



Composite material
Composite material
Composite materials, often shortened to composites or called composition materials, are engineered or naturally occurring materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties which remain separate and distinct at the macroscopic or...

 structures are made of cloth with a high tensile strength (usually fiberglass
Fiberglass
Glass fiber is a material consisting of numerous extremely fine fibers of glass.Glassmakers throughout history have experimented with glass fibers, but mass manufacture of glass fiber was only made possible with the invention of finer machine tooling...

 or carbon fiber
Carbon fiber
Carbon fiber, alternatively graphite fiber, carbon graphite or CF, is a material consisting of fibers about 5–10 μm in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms. The carbon atoms are bonded together in crystals that are more or less aligned parallel to the long axis of the fiber...

, or occasionally Kevlar
Kevlar
Kevlar is the registered trademark for a para-aramid synthetic fiber, related to other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed at DuPont in 1965, this high strength material was first commercially used in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires...

) combined with a structural plastic (usually epoxy
Epoxy
Epoxy, also known as polyepoxide, is a thermosetting polymer formed from reaction of an epoxide "resin" with polyamine "hardener". Epoxy has a wide range of applications, including fiber-reinforced plastic materials and general purpose adhesives....

, although vinylester
Vinylester
Vinyl Ester, or Vinylester, is a resin produced by the esterification of an epoxy resin with an unsaturated monocarboxylic acid. The reaction product is then dissolved in a reactive solvent, such as styrene, to a 35 - 45 percent content by weight....

 is used in some aircraft). 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 moulded composite, where major structures like wing skins and fuselage halves are prepared and cured in moulds, and mouldless, 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 compound curves, 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 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:
  • Canard
    Canard (aeronautics)
    In aeronautics, canard is an airframe configuration of fixed-wing aircraft in which the forward surface is smaller than the rearward, the former being known as the "canard", while the latter is the main wing...

     designs such as the VariEze and Long EZ designed by Burt Rutan
    Burt Rutan
    Elbert Leander "Burt" Rutan is an American aerospace engineer noted for his originality in designing light, strong, unusual-looking, energy-efficient aircraft...

  • The pusher propeller Cirrus VK-30
  • The Europa XS
    Europa XS
    The Europa XS and Europa Classic are a family of British composite two-place low-wing monoplanes, manufactured by Europa Aircraft and supplied as kits for amateur construction. More than 450 Europas have been completed....


Safety


The safety record of homebuilts is not as good as certified
Type certificate
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 has fulfilled the regulating bodies' current prevailing airworthiness requirements for the safe conduct of...

 general aviation
General aviation
General aviation is one of the two categories of civil aviation. It refers to all flights other than military and scheduled airline and regular cargo flights, both private and commercial. General aviation flights range from gliders and powered parachutes to large, non-scheduled cargo jet flights...

 aircraft. In the United States, in 2003, amateur-built aircraft experienced a rate of 21.6 accidents per 100,000 flight hours; the overall general aviation accident rate for that year was 6.75 per 100,000 flight hours.

The accident rate for homebuilt aircraft in the USA has long been a concern to the Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

. At Sun 'n Fun
Sun 'n Fun
Sun 'n Fun is a "Fly-in" and airshow held annually at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida, usually during the second or third week of April....

 2010 FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt
Randy Babbitt
J. Randolph "Randy" Babbitt is an American businessman and government administrator. In 2009 he became the current Administrator of the US Federal Aviation Administration .-Career:Babbitt was raised in Florida...

 said that homebuilts "account for 10 percent of the GA fleet, but 27 percent of accidents. It's not the builders [getting into accidents], but the second owners. We need better transition training."

Most nations' aviation regulations require amateur-built aircraft to be physically marked as such (for example in the UK "Occupant Warning - This aircraft ... is amateur built." must be displayed), and extra flight testing is usually required before passengers (who are not pilot
Aviator
An aviator is a person who flies an aircraft. The first recorded use of the term was in 1887, as a variation of 'aviation', from the Latin avis , coined in 1863 by G. de la Landelle in Aviation Ou Navigation Aérienne...

s themselves) can be carried.

Culture


The largest airshow in the world is the Experimental Aircraft Association
Experimental Aircraft Association
The Experimental Aircraft Association is an international organization of aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Since its inception it has grown internationally with over 160,000 members and about 1,000 chapters worldwide....

's annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
As of the census of 2000, there were 62,916 people, 24,082 households, and 13,654 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,662.2 people per square mile . There were 25,420 housing units at an average density of 1,075.6 per square mile...

, which takes place in late July and early August. Other annual events are the Sun N' Fun Fly-In, which occurs in the early spring in Lakeland, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Lakeland is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States, located approximately midway between Tampa and Orlando along Interstate 4. According to the 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, the city had a population of 94,406...

, and the Northwest EAA Fly-In
Northwest EAA Fly-In
The Northwest EAA Fly-In, known colloquially as the Arlington Air Show, is an annual Experimental Aircraft Association airshow hosted in Arlington, Washington at the Arlington Municipal Airport...

 in Arlington, Washington
Arlington, Washington
Arlington is a city in northern Snohomish County, Washington, United States, bordered by the city of Marysville to the south. The population was 17,926 at the 2010 census.-History:...

. These events are called a fly-in
Fly-in
A fly-in is a pre-arranged gathering of aircraft, pilots and passengers for recreational and social purposes.Fly-ins may be formally or informally organised, members of the public may or may not be invited, the gathering may be at an airport or in a farmer's field.Fly-ins can be aimed at specific...

 as many people fly their homebuilts and other aircraft into the airport hosting the show, often camping
Camping
Camping is an outdoor recreational activity. The participants leave urban areas, their home region, or civilization and enjoy nature while spending one or several nights outdoors, usually at a campsite. Camping may involve the use of a tent, caravan, motorhome, cabin, a primitive structure, or no...

there for the duration. Both events last a week. Takeoffs and landings at these shows number in the thousands.

External links