Light Sports Aircraft
Many people are shocked when they read about DIY drone kits, airplanes, and other amateur-made light sports aircraft. Not only are these light sport aircraft models able to be manufactured legally, but they can also be flown too.
The Federal Aviation Authority has no problem with anyone building their aircraft as long as they follow the rules. Here’re some of the basic regulations:
- Amateur-built aircraft must undergo a test similar to having an annual car inspection. Just like automobiles
must be deemed road worthy to be legally driven, DIY drones have to be airworthy to be flown.This type of test is done by a Designated Airworthiness Representative and those that pass the test are presented with an Experimental Airworthiness Certificate that gives them the permission to fly the drone.
- The experimental light sports aircraft must pass a test where it is in the air for several hours without malfunctions or aviation problems to be allowed to be flown over public areas.
- The aircraft cannot be used for any purpose that is not recreational, with one exception to the rule. It shouldn’t be used for professional flight instruction unless the student is the owner of the aircraft who is paying someone else to show them the ropes. The Experimental aircraft can’t be used for commercial transportation of humans or goods.
You should know rules and regulations explained here are not in detail. If you want to know everything, you can go to the aviation website.
Aircraft Building Options
Anyone who is not an aviation genius should not attempt to just build their craft without referring to a design application. It may be legal to build, but the chances of getting it legally approved to fly are slim. It is better to either build the light sports aircraft from plans or purchase a DIY kit.
Aircraft Building Plans
This step can mean getting the exact specifications that the builder desires for his drone. This may sound appealing, but the process won’t come cheap. Some of the steps are going to take an extra set of hands from a volunteer or sometimes professional hands.
Depending on the materials chosen for the aircraft, the builder may need a professional for metal milling, cutting, and shaping for each of the components of their creation. Most of the materials used in the ground up construction won’t be difficult to come across, but some will. Corners can’t be cut either.
Substitutions for exact specifications could have serious to fatal consequences. Aircraft that is built from scratch may face more scrutiny than one that is based on a kit when it comes time for an airworthiness exam because it can be much easier to make a critical mistake in assembly and design when the maker does not have much or any experience making light sports aircraft.
Aircraft Building Kits
This is usually the more attractive option. Kits can range from being almost entirely put together to almost 100% construction required from the time of purchase. Some manufacturers will have kits that have the hardest to acquire pieces already built and assembled.
This can be very beneficial since a few parts may require special machinery to cut and put together. Some do it you will want to choose a build kit that allows them to do at least 51% of the construction.
By completing 51% themselves, the maker can have their aircraft registered as an amateur build and possibly be able to do all future inspection, maintenance, and repairs themselves which could save them money down the road.
Those who have never built their light sports aircraft before are advised to get in contact with others who have made their experimental aircraft before. The Experimental Aircraft Association is a great place to meet people with extensive knowledge that are willing to share what they know.
The EAA is the global community with branches all over the United States and Europe so that first-time builders can search online for the branch nearest to them. Some kit vendors may be willing to link purchases to others who have bought from them in the past.
If they are ready to share their information, it could be worth the time to meet with them or contact them over the phone to find about their overall experience building their machine.