QUESTIONS MOST OFTEN ASKED ABOUT THE AIRCRAFT……………….
COST TO BUILD
A Cygnet will cost approx. from $15,000 with a very simple engine to $20,000 with all the options. Generally this cost is spread over a long time so that the builder is not obligated to spend very large amounts at any one time, but can invest in the aircraft as it is being built. As far as airplane construction costs go, if you can afford to have and operate an airplane, you can afford to build one. Storage, insurance, fuel etc., costs can now be going into materials at any rate you choose.
TIME TO BUILD
Realistically, it takes approx. 1700 hours to build a Cygnet. In another perspective, the Cygnet can be built in about 18 months, working about 25 hours a week. We know people who have built an airplane in 10 months…… but building time will vary from person to person. A good friend finished a “Lil Toot” after 8 years. It goes to say……Don’t worry about the time, if you stick with it, it will get flying.
This is a tough one to answer. When I started building airplanes, I could repair a bicycle, but not a dishwasher and I had built several small boats and I could do repairs on cars. Building an airplane isn’t that tough! But it is really an awful lot of small jobs that seem to go on forever. Basically, it takes persistence and good support of the EAA and EAA members. There are so many different skills, talents and abilities that go into airplane construction, that it opens up doors to new friendships and associations that can genuinely enrich your life. This has certainly been my experience! By the time you are flying around the patch in your own airplane, you will have developed a lot of new skills, new friends, and a great feeling of accomplishment!
You will certainly need a gas welding outfit, a table saw, and electric drill, and assorted tools with “C” clamps. Most helpful would be a slow speed band saw for the chromoly steel, a drill press and a grinder. Of course a lot of these you can borrow or share with another builder.
SPACE TO BUILD
A workable minimum space is a 2 car garage. We also had the use of a basement, where in the winter our son, with Dad’s supervision, built the wings. (300 hours) While the extra space helped us, it wasn’t necessary, just more comfortable! During the wing fitting and the aileron control cable rigging, of course, the driveway must be used.
Some parts require special work. Axles have to be threaded; engine mount parts require matching, etc. The amount of this work is very minimal. The canopy must be heat formed and the nose bowl must be fiberglass molded. Although you can do this yourself like we did, Viking Aircraft LLC has the canopy and the windshield available and can supply them and save you some time and effort when you are ready for them.
Homebuilts, the Cygnet included, do not have an FAA “Type Certificate”. However; when built carefully and in accordance with the plans, and when it has been passed the Federal Aviation Agency inspections, the airplane will be issued an “Airworthiness Certificate”. It will be licensed as “Experimental, Light Sport Aircraft” category. When beginning a project, I suggest you check with your nearest FAA office and advise them of your intentions. They will tell you at which points they would like to inspect your airplane. This will at least require an inspection before covering any parts and once before flight. The latter will include a weight and balance check. Then, because you will not have a “certified” aircraft engine, certain restrictions will be imposed for the first 60 hours of flight. After this time, another FAA inspection is required. From then on, you can operate about like any other airplane, except no flying time for hire. You can do all your own maintenance and preparation for the annual inspection, without the need for a licensed aircraft mechanic! All the above, of course, applies in the U.S. only. Non-US builders will probably have similar rules to follow but you should check with your own aviation department before starting.
CHANGES FOR SPECIAL APPLICATIONS
We do not encourage changes in the design. We do not have the resources to assist in design changes for special use. However; we do encourage feedback from our builders, and are certainly not naive enough to think the airplane cannot be improved. We will be happy to pass along and incorporate good ideas, this is what homebuilding is all about.