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Homebuilt - Amateur-Built - Experimental


Although you might hear these three terms used almost interchangeably around the local hangar, they actually mean different things.

"Homebuilt" is the name of an area on the EAA AirVenture grounds at Oshkosh, a sign on the headquarters building in that area, and a proud label on countless EAA hats, pins, patches, t-shirts, jackets, and aircraft seen at AirVenture and other EAA gatherings. In EAA parlance, a "homebuilt" means an aircraft in the amateur-built category, as defined by the FARs (Federal Aviation Regulations). But the terms, "homebuilt" and "homebuilder" don't appear anywhere in the FARs or the AIM (Airman's Information Manual).

"Amateur-Built" is an experimental category of aircraft defined in the FARs as "an aircraft the major portion of which has been fabricated and assembled by persons who undertook the construction project solely for their own education or recreation." (FAR Part 21.191)

"Experimental" is a type of airworthiness certificate granted to various aircraft that are used for specific purposes, including aircraft in the amateur-built, primary kit-built, and light-sport categories.

An experimental airworthiness certificate can also be issued to aircraft to be used for:

  • Research and Development - testing of new aircraft designs, equipment, installations, operating techniques, or uses;
  • Showing compliance with regulations, prior to the issuance of a regular airworthiness certificate;
  • Crew training;
  • Exhibition - air shows, films and TV, practicing for exhibitions, and flying to and from performances;
  • Air Racing - racing, practicing for races, and flying to and from races; and
  • Market Surveys - marketing, demonstration, and training flights for customers.

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