Inexpensive Homebuilt Fun Flying Airplanes

By:      Norm Goyer

There are many excellent used homebuilt aircraft for sale on the Internet and in Trade A Plane, if you can afford a car, you can afford to buy a homebuilt.

There are many excellent used homebuilt aircraft for sale on the Internet and in Trade A Plane, if you can afford a car, you can afford to buy a homebuilt.

There are many used homebuilt (experimental) aircraft for sale. I checked them out earlier this morning and found these which would interest me if I were in the market for an inexpensve fun airplane. In order to fly a homebuilt aircraft you have to have either a Private Certificate or an LSA Certificate and the aircraft has to be on the approved list to fly with a driver’s license medical. The rules are complex as to what can be flown as an LSA pilot. Before you buy you had better check the eligibility of that particular airplane. Not many homebuilts qualify.

My suggestions were inspired by personal knowledge of the airplane by either having flown it or by knowing the company which designed it. I personally love seaplanes and I did find two that have a decent reputation, but being a homebuilt the builder determines the quality of each airplane. I do not recommend any homebuilt aircraft built of wood for that reason only.

The Murphy Rebel makes an excellent sport aircraft, one you can learn to fly in as well.

The Murphy Rebel makes an excellent sport aircraft, one you can learn to fly in as well.

I found two seaplanes for sale, one is a Buccaneer II and the other a Sea Rey, both fun flying amphibious flying boats. The Sea Rey is an exceptional flying boat. Prices were low about what you would pay for a small new SUV. Another favorite of mine has been the Kitfox. This aircraft was responsible for the advance of homebuilding in the 1980s and 90s. The Kitfox is a tube and fabric homebuilt with a wide variety of engine choices. Its sassy bump cowling gives it a classic look. You could find a good Kitfox for the cost of a subcompact car. Most are not LSA legal for various reasons. The Avid Flyer is very similar and is also a good aircraft.

The Denny Kitfox was one of the great homebuilts of the 1980s which boosted the interest in homebuilt aircraft.

The Denny Kitfox was one of the great homebuilts of the 1980s which boosted the interest in homebuilt aircraft.

Murphy Aircraft up in Canada has several aircraft that make great sport aircraft and they are very easy to fly. The Murphy Renegade is a small biplane that looks similar to a baby WACO. The other Murphy which is a great personal sport aircraft is the Rebel. The Rebel is available in several versions, mostly engine size. It seats up to three. This airplane is similar to an Aeronca Chief or Taylorcraft but is built a bit heavier. I have flown Rebels a lot because I used them as camera planes at   airshows. If you can afford an American made new car you can afford a used Murphy Rebel.

For the cost of a used car, you can purchase a CGS Hawk, an ultralight that is well designed and great fun to fly.

For the cost of a used car, you can purchase a CGS Hawk, an ultralight that is well designed and great fun to fly.

If you can only afford a used car then you can afford a CGS Hawk. This tube and sailcloth ultralight is available in single and dual place versions. The enclosed cabin (fabric) makes the Hawk suitable for colder climates. I have known the designer Chuck Sluzarik for many years his Hawk is a good airplane. Another well built ultralight are the planes from Flightstar in Connecticut. Owner Tom Pegniny has been a leader in the industry for many years. I also can recommend, Sonex aircraft as excellent desings  and early Van’s such as the RV6 A which is a side by side tricycle gear. There was even a Thorp T211 which is an excellent small (once certified) two place low

Specifications Kitfox Classic IV

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: one passenger
  • Length: 18 ft 5 in (5.6 m)
  • Wingspan: 32 ft (9.76 m)
  • Height: 5 ft 8 in (tailwheel) (1.73 m)
  • Wing area: 132 ft² (12.28 m²)
  • Empty weight: 650 lb (295 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 1200 lb (544 kg)
  • Useful load: 550 lbs (250 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 912, 80 hp (60 kW)
  • Propellers: 1 propeller, 1 per engine

Performance

 

Specifications for Murphy Rebel

  • Crew: One
  • Capacity: one or two passengers
  • Length: 21 ft 4 in (6.6 m)
  • Wingspan: 30 ft 0 in (9.2 m)
  • Wing area: 150 ft2 (14.2 m2)
  • Wing profile: NACA 4415 mod
  • Empty weight: 950 lb (432 kg)
  • Gross weight: 1650 lb (750 kg)
  • Powerplant: × Lycoming O-320, 160 hp (120 kW)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 140 mph (227 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 120 mph (194 km/h)
  • Range: 733 miles (1187 km)
  • Endurance: 6.1 hours
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