Using Airplane Kits
Buying a kit is the popular alternative to building and designing an aircraft. There are two types of kits you can purchase from many different manufactures around the world.
The first type of kit will give you all the materials you need to build an aircraft except for the tools. Normally, this includes wheels, instruments, frames, ribs, skin, lights, wires, etc and range between as little as a few thousand up to over a hundred thousand dollars. These kits generally do not include engines which can range from an extra ten to over twenty thousand dollars or more depending on if the engine is new or rebuilt, the horsepower, and type.
The second type of aircraft kit comes prebuilt. The FAA has strict rules around purchasing and building these airplanes. Just because they are called prebuilt, does not mean they are actually fully complete planes. This just means that most of the harder components were put together for you, like the wings or fuselage. The FAA restricts the amount of the aircraft that can be prebuilt. The aircraft needs to be built at least 51% by the purchaser of the kit. When building a kit aircraft there are different steps depending on the brand, type, etc.
When you build your aircraft you will need to take photos and keep a log of each component being built to prove that you built it yourself. When you’re finished, you will need to seek FAA approval. This is called the certification process. All United States Registered Aircraft have an FAA Airworthiness Certificate in order to fly them. This process will give you the ability to fly the plane with an experimental airworthiness certificate. This certificate is restrictive until you prove the aircraft to be safe. Once you finish the proving stage, you are then allowed to have passengers.