All amateur-built/homebuilt airplanes must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These airplanes must be inspected by an FAA inspector or a designated inspector before an airworthiness certificate can be issued. This is a fairly rigorous process.
How much does it cost, realistically, to build an airplane? There’s no absolute answer, of course, but homebuilt airplanes can be, and consistently are, completed for $50,000 to $65,000. Many cost considerably less, and of course, there’s no upper limit. Building an airplane is a pay-as-you-go proposition.
How long can I stay up? Gliders can remain flying as long as there is lift available. Using thermals, this is about 8 hours. By using prevailing winds blowing up a slope, a glider can be flown for as long as the wind is blowing.
In 2012, Collins set the world record for the farthest flight by a paper aircraft. Thrown by football player Joe Ayoob, the glider, named “Suzanne,” after Collins’ wife, flew 226 feet, 10 inches (69.14 meters) before gracefully making its way into history.
Studies by FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) show that Amateur-Built/Homebuilt aircraft have an accident rate less than one percentage point higher than the general aviation fleet. In fact, the accident rate for Amateur-Built/homebuilt aircraft is dropping.
The average price of a helicopter is $1,794,793. However, the least expensive pre-owned helicopters may cost as little as $100,000. The most expensive helicopters on the market cost up to $27,000,000. The average asking price for a pre-owned Bell 407 helicopter is $1,907,000.
Airline pilots earn an average annual wage of $174,870, according to the BLS, more than triple the average annual wage for all occupations, $53,490. In the 10 states where airline pilot salaries are the highest, the average annual wage can be more than $200,000, although these states are very exceptional.
Gliding is an adventurous air sport and as such is not as safe as travelling on a commercial airliner. If you are looking for a totally risk-free sport, gliding may not be right for you.