Not at all. What I'm trying to tell you is that there's a lot more to certification than just testing. It's literal tons of documentation and formal reports and the extra costs of doing things "the FAA way" that someone in the experimental/non-aviation world does not have to pay. That cost gets baked into just about every single thing your company does, from hiring extra employees to handle the paperwork to buying certified materials to auditing paperwork (and auditing the audits). Every argument your DERs have over how to properly fill out the FAA approval form for this little bushing you designed is a cost incurred by certification. Like I said earlier, I work at a certified aircraft OEM. I see non-technical activity that takes place all the time, solely to comply with FAA requirements.That's a lot of words to try and mix oil and water.
Other than people that have certified an engine or airframe, none of us know the true cost.
My point is that the certification costs cannot be defined as anything more than the cost of the testing to get the TC/STC.
I spend $8k on flight training, but the tests to get a pilots license is $500+$150 (practical test + written test).
How much does it cost to get a PPL cert (aka certification cost)? $650.
How much does it cost to learn to fly (aka R&D) $8000.
Does that clarify it??
How much would it cost you to fly if you didn't have to meet government-dictated hour minimums (and instead went by competency), could pay your buddy Joe to use his homebuilt, and didn't have to get instruction from FAA-approved instructors or take your tests with FAA-approved examiners? There's the extra cost incurred for meeting hour requirements (vs. competency), the cost of a certified aircraft, the cost of certified maintenance for the certified aircraft, the cost the certified instructors/examiners can command due to the government-controlled supply of instructors and examiners, and so on.
My point is that certification costs are insidious and creep into the product at all levels, from designing it to producing it to testing it. You're just looking at "cost of final test" and assuming that certified and experimental companies do everything exactly the same except for the testing at the end. I'm looking at the entire cost difference of "what would this cost Van's" vs. "what would this cost Cessna".
Also, don't forget that a large part of the certification requirements are simply overkill for light airplanes. In many ways the regs are "one size fits all" and as such the FAA has to cover everything up to and including airliners. The recent Part 23 rewrite helped a little, but the requirements of Part 21 still dominate and the FAA still insists on everything being done its way.
If you can be bothered, take a look at the Part 23 ARC's report from 2013 on simplifying certification of light aircraft. It contains a detailed (but by no means exhaustive) discourse on all of the "non-value-added" activities the FAA requires which companies like Van's and Sonex don't have to worry about.