Kit Aircraft

I've long been interested in building my own aircraft and still hope to do so someday. I've always had a shop, and I have a long history of working with my hands. I've learned a wide range of skills over the years and building my own aircraft seems like a logical culmination of these skills and interests.

Here is a brief list of some of the kit aircraft that top my list of aircraft that I'd like to build (due to a combination of functionality, quality, and cost):

The SubSonex is an affordable homebuilt jet! It will cruise at 200 kts, and will do aerobatics (when in the appropriate W&B range, of course). And it can fly in and out of a relatively short runway. Its biggest drawback is that it is a single seater. But hey, it's an affordable jet. How cool is that!

But wait ... this just in as of July 10, 2019 ... Sonex has announced the JSX-2T, a two-seat version of the SubSonex! This solves the single biggest limitation of the SubSonex. Now you can take a friend with you in your private jet!

Affordable jet time!?! Are you interested in learning to fly a jet, or in building inexpensive jet or turbine time? I have been kicking around an interesting partnership idea ... If I can find enough partners to go in on our own JSX-2T we could build it in my shop and then base it at an appropriate Bay Area airport, possibly Hayward or San Carlos (Hayward's longer runway is very appealing). Once ready to fly, I would get my LOA in the jet (the experimental equivalent of a type rating) — this should be rather straightforward since I already have jet experience and a jet type rating. I would then be in a position to provide jet instruction to other owners if/as desired (since it would be in your aircraft). Other owners could get their own LOA once they have the required experience and proficiency. You'd also be able to say that you own and fly your own private jet!

The hourly expense for the aircraft would be basically the cost of the fuel (18+/- GPH of Jet-A), the per-hour engine overhaul reserve, plus some miscellaneous pro-rated maintenance and support costs. Preliminary estimates put this hourly rate in the ballpark of renting a Cessna 182 or a Cirrus. If this partnership idea is of interest to you please let me know. If there is enough interest we might be able to make something happen.

This is a very interesting all metal, high-wing, tail-wheel or nose-wheel, side-by-side aircraft. A lot of thought went into the baggage area so that it is truly usable (a good way to bring along my folding eBikes and/or my hiking and camping gear). It also supports a range of engines ranging 100 to 180 HP. The end result is a very capable yet affordable backcountry aircraft that is also a decent cruiser. This is my idea of the perfect complement to the typical 4-place nose-wheel rental aircraft since it is suited for missions (namely, fly in and out of non-paved backcountry strips) that are not usually possible, or allowed, in rental aircraft.

With over 10,000 kits flying Van's Aircraft is clearly the industry leader. They make solid, well-proven kits that perform well. I believe that the 7A and 9A best fit the type of flying that I would expect to do in a Van's.

When I'm in the mood to fly rotorcraft I dream of building and flying one of these fine aircraft. You can build one for about the same price as an airplane kit, and the maintenance is similar as well. This makes them much more affordable to own and operate than a helicopter. And the fact that they are always in autorotation mode makes them safer too.

This is a 4-place helicopter kit based on a certified design, with a host of features typically found on much more expensive helicopters. I would really like to visit the factory to tour their facilities and to take a demo flight in this aircraft. It sounds like a very appealing kit; it would be interesting to experience it first-hand to check out the quality, and to see how it flies.