Why not just buy an aircraft, you ask?

Well there are many factors that weighed into my decision to build an airplane rather than buy one. One reason is price vs. performance. Sure, you can buy an airplane for $40k, but what would you get for your money? You'd basically get an airplane that was built before you were born (at least in my case), has antiquated navaid and flight instruments, an underpowered engine, and at the end of the day the climb performance and cruise speed would leave you wondering why you dropped that $40k after all.

I began investigating which airplane I wanted to build shortly after learning that a factory new Cessna single engine airplane would cost the bank account roughly $150k or so. There are many kitplanes out there, but one company stood head and shoulders above the rest, Vans Aircraft. Vans has been in business for over 20 years, which is good news since it'll probably take the better part of five or six years to finish my plane. Longevity of the company is important to me.

Second, since Vans began shipping kits, builders around the world have completed some 3,300 airplanes. These are real airplanes flying the skys right now, not in construction. Obviously, these kits must be well built for over three thousand people to be able to construct one.

Third, and most exciting, is the performance. Real world performance of an RV-7 is roughly 2,000 fpm solo climb rate with a 180hp engine. Try that in your trainer. These planes are fully aerobatic, capable of inverted flight, and have actual cruise speeds close to 200 mph. Oh yeah and you can build one for around $50k or so (depending on options, etc).

So that was my thought process on the subject. It is daunting, to be sure, but so far I have discovered that if you just take it one task at a time before you know it that pile of sheet metal begins to start to look like airplane parts.

- Jason