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Thread: Build, then fly?

  1. #1

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    Happy Build, then fly?

    I don't have a pilot's license, but know I want a homebuilt plane. I'd like to build the plane and then learn to fly it.
    Is that possible?

    Thanks in advance,

    Ken


  2. #2

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    You absolutely can do it that way, but I wouldn't recommend it. I've known more than one person who thought flying would be the greatest thing ever, then after 5 or 10 hours of instruction decided it wasn't for him/her. You wouldn't want to build an entire airplane without really knowing that you'll enjoy flying it.

  3. #3
    Anymouse's Avatar
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    If you go that route, I'd suggest learning to fly while building.
    I'll come up with something profound

  4. #4

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    At least solo, then you will have a good feel for flying and whether to spend the time to build or just buy and fly.

  5. #5
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    Biggest issue i see is, you legally can't fly off the 40 test hours on your plane if you aren't already a pilot

  6. #6
    Eric Witherspoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Switzer View Post
    Biggest issue i see is, you legally can't fly off the 40 test hours on your plane if you aren't already a pilot
    Mike hits it on the head. The other big problem with the "build, then learn to fly in it" concept is 2 people can't be in the plane until the 40 hours are flown off (ok, there's some nitpicking exceptions discussed in another thread on here somewhere, but certainly not an instructor / student pilot situation).

    So, what you would have is a brand-new non-flight-tested homebuilt and no license. You would have to find someone ELSE to fly it for 40 hours (or more) to get the required Phase I flight testing out of the way. Then you would have to find an instructor, who, if not experienced in that type, at least experienced enough to be willing to try and instruct in that type (or willing to get transition training, fly your plane solo for a few hours - whatever they feel they need to be comfortable instructing in it). Depending on the type, that might prove difficult, if not impossible, if it's not a simple low/slow kind of airplane.

    Then, you would beat the snot out of your nearly-new, carefully hand-crafted over several years airplane with the trials of learning to fly. Why not rent someone else's TRAINER that's intended to take some, let's say "new pilot" abuse?

    Before investing the money and time in building an airplane, I would STRONGLY recommend getting the license FIRST. Then, when you're into the build project, you can reserve maybe 1-2x / month to go out and do a little flight in a rental. Or, for that matter, your flight training experience (and EAA chapter participation, getting into the build, meeting other builders) might get you into situations where you get some flight time without it being in a rental...
    Murphy's 13th: Every solution breeds new problems...

    http://www.spoonworld.com

  7. #7

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    And to throw one more into the mix, flying an airplane will teach you what sort of flying you want to do - which is critical in selecting which plane to build!

    Nothing confirmed for me my decision to build an open cockpit slow as molasses biplane more than getting behind the stick of a Champ - especially after learning in a very high speed (relatively) and ultra modern CTLS.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  8. #8
    Depends on your main interest. I've been building my project for 5 years now and Im still not a pilot. I've taken lesson on and off during the five years, and have discovered that I really enjoy building my plane more than I like flying. Now that may change after I fly mine since it will be considerably more of a challenge that the Cherokee I've been flying in. Flying Cherokee is like is like driving a dodge neon. I'm trying to time my pilots license with the time I'm ready to fly. I have a buddy that got his license first and has been building his airplane for two years and hasnt flown since he got his license. I want my training information more fresh when it comes time to actually fly.

  9. #9

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    About a year and a half ago I decided that I wanted to build an fly a high performance airplane. I got a RV-6 kit that had been sitting in storage for about a decade and a half and started lessons. Somewhere along the way I realized that the cost of air time especially with instruction in a rented aircraft was killing me. At one point I had to put my lessons on hold for at least half a year for lack of funds. Anyhow, after a while the realization came to me that:

    1> I was going to have my PPL a while before my RV was ready.
    2> My skill set was likely to rot during the period between those two events.
    3> It's probably a good idea to become proficient in a more user friendly airplane before hopping into a high performance two seater.

    We had some money come in and I bought a '58 Piper Tripacer. It gives me something to fly while I'm building the RV and unless it's involved in an accident it will hold it's value.

  10. #10

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    Okay, so I'm another member of the small minority that is building before getting lessons. And actually, the build is my means to an end. How can I have a plane and not get my sport pilot certificate!? This will finally get me off the dime.

    I saw an ad for Zenith, and fell in love with the lines of the 701/750. My 701 is mostly done minus the expensive stuff: instruments and FWF. Engine buy is next January.
    I too thought I could save all kinds of money and use the plane for lessons etc. - wrong. But if I knew this before hand, maybe I wouldn't have bought the kit...?

    My plan now is to kill two birds with one stone. I plan to take the accelerated course in Buzz Air's 750. This gets me a certificate and transition training since the two are so nearly the same. I may still need someone for first flights, but I want to believe I'll be able to fly off most of the 40 hours of test flying.

    I've loved the build and am looking forward to learning.

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