Kits And Plans
Detailed Definitions of Descriptions
In the Kits And Plans section we offer basic descriptions of each aircraft design listed. This is to help you narrow your selection so you don't have to go to a hundred different websites to find the design you're looking for. Here are the catagories and definitions for the terms used.
- This design is only available as a kit. (Most kits don't include the engine(s), avionics, upholstery, paint, etc.)
- This design is only available as a set of plans.
- Kit or plans
- This design may be built from a kit or "from scratch" by using plans.
- Plans or partial kit
- This design may be built from plans, but a partial kit is optionally available.
- Partial kit
- This design is only available as a kit, but a significant portion of the aircraft is not included. (Usually reducing the cost by not providing commonly available items.)
- Single seat
- Self explanatory.
- Two seat
- Two seats arranged side by side.
- Tandem seat
- Two seats arranged one in front of the other. In a Biplane, the pilot is typically the rear seat. In most other configurations the pilot is typically the front.
- Three seat
- Most three seat designs have two front seats with a jump seat behind. The pilot typically is the front left seat. But in a Biplane, the pilot is typically the single rear seat.
- Four seat, etc.
- Self explanatory.
Type of wing used in the design.
- Low wing
- Primary wing connected to the bottom of the fuselage.
- Mid wing
- Primary wing connected to the middle of the fuselage.
- High wing
- Primary wing connected to the top of the fuselage.
- Parasol wing
- Primary wing located above the fuselage, connected via rods.
- Two primary wings, usually located one above the other.
- Three primary wings, usually located together. The most famous example is the Fokker DR-1 Triplane.
- Main wing located in the back, with the elevator and horizontal stabilizer, called the Canard, located in the front of the aircraft.
- Instead of a wing, the main lifting structure is a rotor. This is used in helicopters and gyrocraft.
- Removable wing
- The primary wing of the completed aircraft is designed to be removed for more compact storage or transport. This is usally not a simple process and often requires two people to accomplish.
- Folding wing
- The primary wing of the completed aircraft is designed to swing towards the tail for more compact storage or transport.
- The primary wing is a parachute that fills and creates lift with forward motion. The motor and prop may be mounted on the pilot like a "backpack" or may be mounted on a more conventional tube-based fuselage with wheels and a seat.
- Flying wing
- The aircraft fuselage is integrated with the wing with little or no differentiation. Most notable is the absence of a tail section
- Inverted gull wing
- The wing angles down from the fuselage, then bends upward. The most famous example is the World War II Corsair.
What types of materials are used in the construction of the design. Most designs use a combination of these materials.
- A combination of a fabric, such as fiberglass, and a resin, such as epoxy, to form a very light and strong structure. Other examples are carbon fiber and Kevlar. When layed up using a mold it is self supporting. Wet layups use a foam core as a shape template.
- Primarily sheet metal welded or bolted together.
- Can be used as structure, such as wing ribs, as well as the skin.
- Metal tubes used for the structure.
- Used as the skin of wings or the entire aircraft. The structure is typically tube or wood.
Landing gear configuration(s) and options.
- Nose wheel in the front and two main gears behind.
- Two main gear in front with a tailwheel. Also refered to as a "taildragger." Commonly used in biplanes and classic aircraft or replicas.
- Trigear or tailwheel
- May be optionally built in either configuration
- Landing gear retracts in flight.
- Retractable nosegear
- Nose gear only retracts in flight. This is common with Canard aircraft.
- Capable of landing on a conventional runway or water. Typically, the aircraft structure has a boat-like bottom with retractable conventional gear.
- Floats in place of landing gear. May be amphibious or only capable of landing on water.
- Flying Boat
- Only able to land on water. The bottom of the fuselage structure forms a boat. May have pontoons on wings to keep the wings above the water.
- Tubular metal used to support the aircraft on the ground. Typically used for helicopters since they don't need to taxi on the ground and it saves wieght.
- Foot launched
- The entire aircraft is supported by the pilot until it is launched. This is typical of hang gliders and rare, extremely light gliders.
- Single wheel
- A single wheel, sometimes augmented by skids on outlying structures. Commonly used by gliders.
- Tandem wheel
- Two wheels arranged one in front of the other, usually on the main structure. This is often augmented by skids on the wings. Commonly used on gliders.
Anything out of the ordinary that may be a distinguishing feature. This list could be thousands of terms. In the interest of brevity we limit them to the following.
- Twin engine
- Self explanatory.
- Some designs the prop is in the rear and it "pushes" the aircraft, hence the term, "Pusher." Most propeller based aircraft use a tractor type configuration where the prop is in the front of the aircraft and "pulls" the aircraft.
- Designed to use a turbine based engine driving a propeller rather than a cylinder based reciprocating engine.
- A jet engine based design.
- An aircraft that has no engine and an exceptionally high lift to drag ratio. It is typically designed to be launched by being towed by a powered aircraft. Once released it rides thermals to stay airborne. Also called a glider.
- A sailplane that has a small motor. These can be self-launched on their own power. Some can then retract the motor and prop into the fuselage.
- An aircraft with a powered rotor providing both lift and propulsion.
- An aircraft with an unpowered rotor providing lift and a prop, usually a pusher, providing forward propulsion. The air moving through the rotor causes it to spin and provide lift.
- An aircraft that meets FAA criteria, such as maximum weight, to be classified as an Ultralight rather than a Homebuilt Experimental. Ultralights do not require a Pilot's License, Medical, or aircraft certifications. But they are extremely limited in capability.
- Open cockpit
- Most aircraft have an enclosed cockpit. But most biplanes instead have an open cockpit. For many this brings back the nostalgic time of the early days of aviation.
- The cockpit can be built to control the outflow of air to provide a cabin altitude lower than the pressure altitude the aircraft is flying through.
- An aircraft based on a past design, usually a classic aircraft or warbird. Often, these are scaled down to make them more cost effective to operate. And many have changes made to make them safer to operate.
- An aircraft capable of flight maneuvers such as loops, inverted flight, etc.
- Folding wing option
- Can optionally be built so the wings can fold.
- Jump seat option
- Can optionally have a jump seat installed to allow a third passenger by sacrificing cargo space.
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