November 1999 Issue

Homebuilt Safety Survey

For buyers seeking alternatives to spam cans, the record is mixed at best.

Homebuilt airplanes have found fans among pilots seeking the speed, utility and rakish good looks that, until recently, the average spam can couldn’t provide. (Okay, so the Lancair Columbia still isn’t a spam can and certainly isn’t average.)

With most new aircraft production limited to mere refinements of old designs, sporty new styles have an undeniable appeal. Many buyers—notably those with more money than time—are turning to completed homebuilts instead of new or used certified aircraft when putting their offers on the table.

But homebuilt airplanes are licensed as experimental by the FAA for a reason. The only scrutiny the designs face is from the marketplace. A design that bu...

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