Light Sport Aircraft
Traditionally pilots have always bought their aircraft from a reputable retailer, but these days pilots are putting their trust in a different set of hands: their own. Tired of paying too much for planes that aren’t made exactly to their liking, they are building their own and getting a sports pilot certificate. This way they save money, get precisely what they want and can take pride in knowing their hard work is now a functioning airplane.
For those who have never heard of a sports pilot certificate, this document makes it easier for pilots to engage in the hobby they love. Those who have one can train in half the time and save money that they would have spent on traditional alternatives.
It allows retired professional pilots the option to change to recreational flying without having to endure unwanted obstacles from government mandates.
For the pilots who are considering building their light-sport aircraft, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of taking on such a large scale project.
-The pilot can have total creative freedom. One of the big pluses to building a light-sport aircraft at home is being able to give it a design that shows off the pilot’s personal style. He can choose the paneling, the paint color, and design, even an entire body kit.
-The pilot can equip his aircraft with the latest technology. He has the option to build his aerial vehicle from the material of his choice.
Carbon fiber is rarely the first choice among manufacturers despite it being very lightweight and durable, but if a pilot builds his aircraft he can use almost any material he wants. Options like glare-free glass panels and super fast motors are a few of the things they won’t get to choose if they buy their plane already made.
-The pilot can control the budget. If the builder has a set budget, it’s helpful if he can pick and choose what and what not to spend the most money on. Some things he’ll certainly want to buy brand new, but some features can purchase second hand and still be just as good.
-The pilot can design whatever he wants. Pilots aren’t just limited to airplanes. Other light-sport aircraft include helicopters, gliders, and gyroplanes. He can also build hybrids and fly them as long as the aerial vehicle can pass an inspection and airworthiness test.
-The builder is responsible for the project. This is evident, but many people don’t have a real understanding of what they’re in for when they purchase an assembly kit. It’s not uncommon for pilots to start their building project and never finish.
When it comes to building airplanes, most take over two years to complete. The typical person who has the time to dedicate to building his plane from scratch is a retired pilot. This kind of project takes so much commitment that it can feel like a full-time job.
-Most home-built models are confined to the country of origin. Most countries have governing aviation authorities that patrol their skies to protect the public.
In the United States, the legislative body that makes the laws for air traffic is the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Each country’s regulatory aviation authority will have its set of rules that pertain to who and what can be flown legally in their airspace.
Canada and the Bahamas typically accept whatever the FAA has deemed admissible, but other countries are not so lax. If the pilot plans to take his aircraft anywhere else on the map, then building his own may not be a viable option.
-It is for recreational use only. This doesn’t mean that the pilot can’t be a professional, it just means they can’t be piloting professionally while flying their home built light-sport aircraft.
Pilots aren’t allowed to transport people or goods for money using their hand-made aerial vehicle. They aren’t allowed to rent it out or teach lessons in it. It has to be used purely for recreation.
Those who choose to build their aircraft will have a choice to start from scratch or buy a kit to complete the assembly of their light sports aircraft.
Builders can choose to design and build their aircraft from the ground up. They will have to map out a plan and purchase the materials needed to make the specific parts needed to execute their project. It will require special equipment to manufacture the parts and more than one set of hands.
During the entire building process, it’s a good idea for first-time builders to stay in contact with other home builders. Plenty of resources are available online to link aircraft manufacturers with other experienced do it yourself who have years of experience.
Joining an association of builders with similar interests and goals is an excellent idea. Those who already know the ropes can give new builders invaluable encouragement, insight, and warnings when need be.
Anyone who plans to build their aircraft is encouraged to join the Experimental Aviation Association. This is a reputable organization of aviation enthusiasts who are willing to share their experience and knowledge with others who want to build their flying machines.
They know all the problems that most pilot-builders would never think of and can give new builders an excellent idea of things to watch out for.
Once the light sports aircraft is ready, the process is not over. It’s good to have an inspection done by an experienced set of eyes since an overlooked mistake could be dangerous or even fatal.
Flying the aircraft with laws, it must be taken for a government-mandated inspection and airworthiness evaluation. If the Federal Aviation Administration approves the aerial vehicle, the next step is completing the registration.
In the final stage, it is time for the pilot who has made that aircraft can fly it actually and has fun. It’s important to take the plane out for some test runs before going on any long flights.