Homebuilt aircraft have been around since Wilbur and Orville started fooling around with man-carrying kites on the sands of Kitty Hawk at the turn of the last century. For many years, all airplanes were essentially homebuilt, with little consistency in design, materials, or construction. The idea that airplanes could be used for commerce (and warfare) brought standardization and—of course—certification. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the idea of building powered, man-carrying aircraft by individuals once again came into fashion, and the regulations allowing such planes became codified. Ever since then, a myriad of designs have become available in plans, parts, and kit forms. And the goal at KITPLANES is to bring a complete directory of these designs to these pages every year.
We are often asked why the list we publish includes many aircraft for which kit or plans production is on hiatus or just plain stopped. The answer is that there are literally thousands of such “orphaned” aircraft out there in the real world, and many of them are for sale. We don’t just cater to those building Experimental aircraft—we want to help inform those who are looking to purchase as well. To aid that, we are very careful when it comes to pruning the list. We’ll admit that we aren’t always successful. As soon as we publish our Directory issue, we get notes from astute readers asking what happened to the “Whiz-Bang 9000,” or the “Fast-Flivver 150.” After all, the letter writer asserts, they have the tail for one under construction in their garage, so why isn’t it listed?
Well, if you know of a design that we have missed (and we freely admit that such is possible), we need your help! Send us information for our guide, we’ll quickly add it to the online database, and it will appear next year in print!
So what’s all this about an online directory? Isn’t print good enough? Why doesn’t KITPLANES provide a complete and unabridged directory of all pertinent data every year? Well, the answer is that with well over a thousand listings, we’d never have enough pages—and we’d be contributing to the back pain of countless U.S. Postal Service workers. Seriously though, the listings have truly gotten too large, and the Internet has become so ubiquitous, that it is more efficient for most people to look for details in our searchable database. The fact that you now hold this issue in your hands gives you access to this database, and that allows you to look for—and compare—airplanes by type or other attribute.
We know that some readers would rather be able to leaf through all this information in these physical pages, but I’ll ask them to give the online database a chance. We update it as new information arrives, so you don’t have to wait for the latest information that comes out next month to make its way to your mailbox this same time next year. So give it a try—I use it all the time, and it is a fast way to find out just how fast that Whiz-Bang will actually go.
Aircraft Buyer’s Guide Online Access
This year the online Aircraft Buyer’s Guide follows the format we established a few years ago and provides many useful features for users. Among them is the ability to do a side-by-side comparison of more than one aircraft using various selection criteria.
Unlimited access to the online Aircraft Buyer’s Guide is free for subscribers, but for a limited time only, we are offering non-subscribers a chance to sample the site, too.
Here’s how it works: Newsstand buyers may visit the Buyer’s Guide. Click on “Newsstand readers’ access” that will take you to a signup page. The access code is kpbg16. This will give you 30 days’ access (from signup date) to the online Aircraft Buyer’s Guide and will also allow you to explore the entire KITPLANES web site. So go log in and have a look around.