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How Safe Are Kit Airplanes? Essay

1839 words - 8 pages

Kit airplanes are very unsafe to fly in, and there is information to prove that. Even though kit airplanes are easy to obtain, there are specific rules and regulations that a person must follow. Even though there certain guidelines to follow, there are still many accidents that end tragically because of the kit planes. Flying a kit airplane should require a special license, and the people building it should be required to go through a simple training class to learn how to fix minor malfunctions that may occur, and to also learn how to fly a plane correctly. If people were required to go through a class teaching these simple things, then the percentage of wrecks that happen in home built ...view middle of the document...

So building an airplane doesn’t take quite as long as companies spend building their own aircraft. The price of building a kit plane has gone up significantly in the past twenty years. As building kit airplanes have become more popular the price has steadily increased from $541 to $874512. The cost of buying and assembling a home built plane has steadily increased “an average geometric rate of 4.95% per year” (economic inquiry). Between the years of 1978-1987 there was “average geometric growth rate of 16.44% per year” (economic inquiry). Kit planes can be purchased from many different companies, and choosing what company can be difficult. Each company specializes in a different type of airplane whether it be one for speed, one for gliding, one to show off or even just a basic one. The styles range from looking vintage, to modern to even futuristic. For example “the Challenger is not designed to have doors, and when a door kit is installed, the airplane becomes highly rudder dominant and sensitive” (Ultralight Aviation accident factors). This is just one example of how the planes are all made differently and have specific qualities.
In order to fly a kit airplane, there are certain rules and regulations that the FAA has put out. The rules are not very strict, but they do provide some important guide lines. One of the most important rules, is that in order to actually fly the plane, the builder must fill out a form and get it inspected by a member of the FAA in order to deem it as airworthy. This form takes into consideration, all who helped build it, the type of engine used, where everything was purchased from and how the plane is going to be used. The FAA rules are also very exact with the construction of the plane. For example, the person who built it, can only use it as a learning tool, to show off or for pleasure. This makes sure that people aren’t trying to make a profit off of kit planes not bought from a retailer. Also something that the FAA really checks for, is to make sure that the “owner must assemble and construct at least 51% of the airplane” (434 economic inquiry). This is to ensure that the person who bought the plane is building it and not just hiring other people to do, because these planes are mainly built for learning. In order for the FAA to consider the plane flyable and an experimental airplane, “The FAA defines an experimental plane to be: An aircraft the major proportion of which has been fabricated and assembled by persons who undertook the project solely for their own education or recreation” (434 economic inquiry). Experimental certificates can be used for a few purposes only, and the FAA makes sure that the pilots with experimental certificates use them for specific purposes and nothing else. The FAA requires that for an experimental certificate the plane is only used for “Research and Development, Crew Training, Exhibition, Air Racing, Market Surveys and Operating amateur- built aircraft and primary kit-built...

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