The complexity of kits runs the gamut from you-do-everything to almost complete. In addition, most kit manufacturers offer subassemblies — sort of a build-on-the-installment-plan process. You can buy the fuselage kit, then the wing kit, followed by the tail kit, finally adding the engine kit.
Stall Warning! Don't forget to factor in all costs as you estimate the price of your custom-bultl airplane. That means including the cost of preparing your kit for shipment (called crating) as well as the cost of shipping it to you — unless you decide to go pick it up!
If you’re buying any kit, especially one that you’ll buy and build in installments, make sure the manufacturer is reputable, the design is proven, and that you can upgrade as needed without rebuilding the whole plane. If you’re building your custom aircraft over an extended period, such as a few years, it’s especially important that the manufacturer be in business and offer the appropriate kit when you decide to get your next subassembly. Experienced kit builders will help you find long-term kit manufacturers. Orphans can be expensive to finish.
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How much time should you plan for building your custom plane from a kit? The manufacturer will tell you what’s typical. Expect it will take from 500 to 1,500 hours for many of the planes available in kit-form today.
Wing Tips The FAA maintains a listing of eligible kits that comply with FAR requirements for experimental aircraft. Contact the FAA for the latest list.
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