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Thread: Build, then fly?

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  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.
    Someday I'll come up with something profound to put here.

  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
    highflyer's Avatar
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    Building and flying are both neat things to do. Many people prefer one to the other! For what that's worth ...

    My recommendation is this.

    Step 1: Go out to the airport and RENT an airplane and take lessons until you have Soloed. By that time you have a pretty good idea if this flying thing is something you want to do or not.

    Step 2: Buy an inexpensive airplane. It can be anything from an old Chief or Taylorcraft to a Cessna 150. The Cessna 150 will probably be the cheapest! Then learn to fly in it.

    Step 3: While you are learning to fly in your own airplane, go ahead and start building the airframe of your choice. Do NOT buy an engine now. You will probably spend several years building the airframe.

    Step 4: By this time you are probably a fairly competent pilot with some experience under you belt. By this time you will have reached the point on your homebuilt where you have to go out and buy an engine. There is no such thing as a cheap aircraft engine. So, sell your trainer. Use the money you get to get the engine you need.

    Step 5: Finish your homebuilt. Now you are capable of flying off the flight test period yourself. Make sure that you actually do flight test the airplane while you are doing that. Then you are good to go. Enjoy ...

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