# Inexpensive Homebuilts... Why?

## Which is the closest reason to why you're interested in "inexpensive" homebuilts?

• ### I CAN afford many offerings, but can't get the (performance, looks, etc.) in my price range.

• Total voters
75
• Poll closed .

#### Wanttaja

##### Well-Known Member
I kind of fall between categories, too. I'm a cheap bastard, but money doesn't really enter into it. I fly what I do because it's the kind of flying I want to do. Slow, simple, open-cockpit flying. I could afford to spend more, but...how? It's not like there's a super-duper expensive alternative to a Fly Baby.

I have a dirt-cheap airplane, and keep it in a very nice (e.g., expensive) hangar close to home so I can fly it whenever the weather permits.

Ron Wanttaja

#### Topaz

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
And that, my friends, is a good topic for another poll!

#### choppergirl

##### Banned

"Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

--Yeats

Heard this in the movie "Equilibrium" last night...

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#### cheapracer

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
When you get a new car, you avoid shopping center car parks and stress for the first 6 months over your baby.

Possibly it also goes to the psyche about owning a plane that you know there's a good chance of a hard landing, storage out of site (away from home) possibly with other craft under the same roof relying on idiots not to damage yours as they move their's around. Then there's thieves etc, a group of small things that might be a lot less stressful to bear with a cheaper plane.

#### Topaz

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
When you get a new car, you avoid shopping center car parks and stress for the first 6 months over your baby.

Possibly it also goes to the psyche about owning a plane that you know there's a good chance of a hard landing, storage out of site (away from home) possibly with other craft under the same roof relying on idiots not to damage yours as they move their's around. Then there's thieves etc, a group of small things that might be a lot less stressful to bear with a cheaper plane.
I'm sure that's possible, maybe even likely, but I'm not really looking for speculation as to why other people might show a lot of interest in "inexpensive" homebuilts. What's your reason? We have a lot of people openly participating in the VP-21 thread, the flying motorcycle thread, etc. I want to hear from those people. What individually sparks their interest in "inexpensive" homebults?

#### cheapracer

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
We have a lot of people openly participating in the VP-21 thread, the flying motorcycle thread, etc. I want to hear from those people. What individually sparks their interest in "inexpensive" homebults?
Oh well, cheap bastard then.

But probably a little different to other cheap bastards, with my background I see how much something should cost and am appalled at how much they want.

#### Topaz

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
... with my background I see how much something should cost and am appalled at how much they want.
That's a legitimate answer, thank you! So, the restatement I made a couple of posts back really doesn't apply to you as well, right?

#### Vigilant1

##### Well-Known Member
I'd like to make sure I understand the "cheap bastard" answers here, because it's very interesting how that's coming to the fore. I'm seeing some themes emerging, and so let me rephrase a very general version of what I'm hearing, and "read it back" to make sure I've got it right:

"I would like to own a new airplane(/homebuilt) but, let's face it, an airplane is a 'toy' or 'luxury' purchase, regardless of its occasional utility for travel, etc. That being the case, I just don't want to spend the kind of money they're usually asking for on that kind of purchase. I have the money for homebuilts that are out there, but the meaning/actual utility an airplane will have for me doesn't add up to those kind of numbers. It just doesn't. An 'inexpensive' alternative is more in line with the value I get from an airplane in my life."​

Is that, as a very general restatement, accurate for you folks in the "cheap bastard" category?
Yes, that captures the rationale behind my "cheap bastard" vote. I do make an informal "marginal utility" judgement for the dollars I spend, and I get a lot of "bang for the buck" with a simple homebuilt and low overhead/per hour costs. If I spent twice as much, I would not get twice as much happiness from it, and the money spent on that could buy me more happiness/comfort/utility somewhere else.

The "could I afford it" phrases in some of the other options confuse the issue in my case.

##### Well-Known Member
I'm consciously cheap, i.e. I buy expensive, high-quality stuff, but 2nd hand for a fraction of the price.

As for flying, building "for cheap" doesn't make any sense to me. If the cost is the issue, you can always buy a flying airframe, especially single-seaters cheaper than you can build one for.

Despite making good money by local standards (income spread much less than in the US), I can't afford to fly a powered aircraft here. I'd estimate that less than half a percent of the working population could.

I live within 15 minutes (by bicycle) from Rotterdam airport. But total landing cost is about 60US$. That's per landing or touch-and-go. More rural airports are typically like 20-35US$/landing. Cheapest hangar that'd fit a small two-seater was about 2100 US$/month. Annual license fees, medicals etc amount to another thousand US$ a year. Avgas ain't cheap either. It's 2.79 now. That's 11.8 US$/gallon. Note that even owning say an ultralight would still set you back 25KUS$ a year. Going to another airport, I could probably cut that down to 10K US$a year. Renting is an option of course. But the cheapest rental available is a 235 US$/hour @ EHRD. Driving for an hour and it gets down to 180-200 US$/hour. Hourly rates are for a light 4-seater (Robin or C172). On the other hand; flying a sailplane 2 full weeks a year renting is about 2K US$ including everything. Owning a ship is likely to be somewhat cheaper even. I'd most certainly leave it in southern France or so.

Hence my emphasis on a plane that can easily be stored in a trailer. Buying an airplane is easy and cheap. Keeping it in a decent place and expensive maintenance (certified) are the killers, the first obviously dependent how rural your area is. Landing cost is a thing you just have to live with in Europe. But burning Mogas/Euro95 with a modest 100 hp engine and completely avoiding the hangarage cost are the difference between affordability and cost that are unbearable by virtually anyone.

#### narfi

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
Very interesting - and very telling!

6 of 29 hold licenses (20%).

80% don't.

I think that explains a lot of what I've read on this forum!
I have a private license (medical not current) but I voted for the last option.

"I CAN afford many offerings, but can't get the (performance, looks, etc.) in my price range."

It is in our nature to want MORE. It doesn't matter what you currently have or can afford you want more, and since you don't have more, you desire to be able to acquire more for the 'little' you have.

The guy with a low end ultralight wants a more reliable and expensive engine.
The guy with the Tcraft wants a supercub.
The guy with a 150 wants a 185.
The guy with the 185 wants a bonanza.
The guy with a bonanza wants a King Air.
The guy with the King Air wants a jet.
The guy with the Jet wants next years model.
The guy with next years Jet and a full crew and pilots on call wonders why the guy with the low end ultralight is having so much fun.
I have to admit I enjoy looking at pictures of the oil baron's personal Boeings.

The thing with each step of that ladder, we want the next step with the previous budget. It is human nature.

Where do I fall into that mix?
I flew when I was young but decided I didn't want it as a carrier, still loving aviation I chose to become a mechanic and have worked on GA aircraft for close to 2 decades.
Early on that choice meant flying didn't serve a financial advantage to me and fell by the wayside and I stopped renewing my medical for the little flying I was doing.
Having a son (6yrs old going on 16) has rekindled that spark in me and I want him to have those opportunities.
I have actually chosen a more 'expensive' route than necessary in choosing to build a kit with him.
I could buy a 150/tcraft/etc... cheaper than a kit, but I want him to have both experiences and the pride of accomplishing both experiences.

I want 'more' in that I want to build more than one aircraft, and I want to be able to pace myself in a way that I can continue building one every few years, this means being wise with what I have now and not buying the biggest and best option with the resources I have.
The money is currently going into home improvements, and a 2nd residence for renting out, which will further that goal in the long run while limiting my urge to build in the present.

#### narfi

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
Landing cost is a thing you just have to live with in Europe.
I know nothing about your rules and laws, but that sounds like a huge argument in favor of small STOL aircraft.

#### Toobuilder

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Has anyone been able to universally define "inexpensive"?

#### Hot Wings

##### Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Is that, as a very general restatement, accurate for you folks in the "cheap bastard" category?
Sums it up pretty well for me. Though I'd replace cheap with frugal.

Like mentioned above I have other toys that also don't get used as much as I'd like but they were cheap enough to purchase and have very little continuing expense that I don't feel like a financial fool to own them. I purchase my motorcycle used for a third of it's current new sticker price and the insurance and taxes are less that \$150/year.

Taxes are another expense often not factored in. In some states the tax guys make it a point to find out what planes are based (or in some cases just happen to be on the ramp the day they actually go take a look) in their state and send us a property tax bil.l every year. This is another reason I prefer Experimental over certified. I'm mor in control of the assessed value.

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#### gtae07

##### Well-Known Member
I'd like to make sure I understand the "cheap bastard" answers here, because it's very interesting how that's coming to the fore. I'm seeing some themes emerging, and so let me rephrase a very general version of what I'm hearing, and "read it back" to make sure I've got it right:

"I would like to own a new airplane(/homebuilt) but, let's face it, an airplane is a 'toy' or 'luxury' purchase, regardless of its occasional utility for travel, etc. That being the case, I just don't want to spend the kind of money they're usually asking for on that kind of purchase. I have the money for homebuilts that are out there, but the meaning/actual utility an airplane will have for me doesn't add up to those kind of numbers. It just doesn't. An 'inexpensive' alternative is more in line with the value I get from an airplane in my life."​

Is that, as a very general restatement, accurate for you folks in the "cheap bastard" category?
Not for me, really. I'm a cheap bastard in general, but I do that to save up and eventually afford to spend more on a couple of things that are worth it to me. Case in point--I'm building an RV that I intend to fly the crap out of and do some traveling in. But I'm also picky about what I want and I wanted to build, so buying wasn't an option.

An inexpensive day VFR local flyer sounds fun, but it doesn't meet my full mission set and would delay the arrival of an airplane that would meet it.

Log Member

#### don january

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
Nothing cheap about having a plane but also nothing to expensive if you have a start. Kinda like having a RC plane, you crash it you can put the engine and radio in a new one on the bench.

#### FritzW

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
We have a lot of people openly participating in the VP-21 thread, the flying motorcycle thread, etc. I want to hear from those people. What individually sparks their interest in "inexpensive" homebults?
I think "inexpensive" is just a fortunate byproduct of the neat ideas that make those threads so interesting. It's their simplicity that sparks my interest.

#### Daleandee

##### Well-Known Member
I'd be interested to know out of all the people on here that say they're interested in inexpensive homebuilts, how many are building one or own one?
Can't say that I fit exactly into any category as I knew what I wanted and found the best performance per dollar in the Sonex line that I could afford. Had a VW Sonex but it needed more horses so a tail wheel version was built with a Corvair engine on the nose. You may think that I was looking to save money with the Corvair (and initially there may have been some truth to that) but serious investigation and experience has shown me just how good of an aircraft engine a proper Corvair conversion can be.

Still, I miss the days of open cockpit low and slow in my Challenger but I personally have no desire to go back to flying two stroke engines. The answer? I have the core engine and plan to move forward with a Corvair powered Pietenpol. It's not really about saving money but having a different type of great air vehicle to bust around the patch in. Went to a fly-in today over in another state. Wife rode with me. Great time and the speed of the Cleanex was nice in getting there and getting home again. Lots of people there asking a lot of questions and many rides were given. I took a friend for a ride just the other day and wonder if there should not be a thread about sharing aviation with others:

https://youtu.be/qd-QAxccgas

Dale Williams
N319WF @ 6J2
Myunn - "daughter of Cleanex"
120 HP - 3.0 Corvair
Tail Wheel - Center Stick
Signature Finish 2200 Paint Job
130.2 hours / Status - Flying

#### BBerson

##### Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
Usually, but not always, the do-yourselfer type that would build something is going to be cheap also.
And I like simple. I don't like electric windows in my simple CRX and and I don't want extras in my sport plane.
Folding wings is the only option worth the trouble because it saves hangar rent.

#### cavelamb

##### Well-Known Member
Usually, but not always, the do-yourselfer type that would build something is going to be cheap also.
And I like simple. I don't like electric windows in my simple CRX and and I don't want extras in my sport plane.
Folding wings is the only option worth the trouble because it saves hangar rent.
If it's in the garage at home it doesn't cost hanger rent.
But it doesn't get flown either.

I keep my sailboat in a slip - just so we can step aboard and sail for an hour.
If it lived on the trailer we wouldn't sail near as often because it's too much trouble to set up.