Considering the general economic uncertainty in our world, builders (and potential builders) are looking hard at ways to create a personal airplane for less. A time-honored way is simply to trade your time for money, which is precisely what underpins the attraction of a plansbuilt design. Freed from the limitation of buying the bulk of the airframe parts from one entity, you’re at liberty to find the best deals. Then again, don’t think that all you get is paper: Many plansbuilt designs are supported with extensive materials kits and, in some cases, sub kits of prefabricated assemblies. Building from plans takes more time, its true, but the journey can be remarkable.
This year, the count is up from 164 to 175 designs. As we mentioned last month, the Hevle, Hipps and Stewart designs are no longer being offered as full kits, but they remain available as plans. Design Resources J.D. Special is a new design, as is the Marv Reese Daisy Mae. WAR Aircraft Replicas has added a Japanese Zero design to its stable this year, too. Raceair is out of this guide pending development of a new design expected in 2009, and Junqua has stopped selling plans in the U.S. because-get this-builders aren’t adhering strictly to the plans. Imagine that!
We also have a few name changes, as designs move around. The Flitzer aircraft are to be found under Lynn Williams, the RagWing designs are being sold by Roger Mann, and Replica Plans SE5A is back (after a years absence) under Canadian Museum of Flight. Fisher Flying Products designs are still offered, but ownership of the company has changed hands. Like plansbuilders themselves, some aircraft wont be denied.