Hi everyone! I'm new here and a current student sport pilot. I am also starting to plan my build. The first step in that is a realistic budget. Do any of you have any tips for me you can offer? Things not to forget in the budget or better yet any spreadsheets you guys have used or general advice would be very helpful.Realistic numbers would be extremely helpful as well.  I'm leaning towards a 750 STOL but haven't fully ruled out a 701. Also, if there are any Zenith owners in central or eastern Ohio I would love to check out your plane. Thanks in advance.

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Here’s a link to my spreadsheet, I’d never done anything remotely close to this, had to reorder a few things over the years, so your mileage will certainly vary. But this is pretty much what I spent in total.


Thanks Paul that is a big help. I appreciate it.

Be sure to consider what tools you need in your budget.  Although one could possibly use a hand river puller, etc...  in reality you will almost certainly end up with air tools and a compressor in order to do the build.  A grinder and a 3m deburring wheel are also necessary in my opinion - once you try one you will buy one.  So best to plan for it ahead.  You will need a torque wrench calibrated in inch lbs. too.  Just a few things not to forget..... 

The rule that it will cost you three times the cost of the kit to finish, is remarkably accurate. But- that is just the  start of your expenses.  Insurance, hangar rental, fuel, engine reserve, biannual flight reviews, etc. must also be considered.

After deciding the aircraft, get all of the HomebuiltHelp.com videos for review.   The videos are not necessarily 100% accurate but gives a great review and guidance.  Don't decide on an engine or instrument package until the build is nearly complete.  Remember all options add weight to the aircraft, and all firewall forward (ie engine) typically weighs 10 to 25% more than advertised.  

Regarding the money you'll spend, maybe it's helpful to think of it as being the equivalent of a year or two of college.  

Sure, you'll spend some money.  But you'll also learn a lot, and will have a ton of fun and will meet some wonderful people along the way (and make sure you include your spouse in the "meeting good people" part).

And when it's all done you'll have something tangible to show for the time and money that you spent: you'll have a new airplane that you can say you built yourself.

Patrick Hoyt


Patrick is so right.  Be sure to meet your local EAA chapter as well.

I actually looked them up yesterday. Looking forward to joining and meeting them.

Thanks everyone. It's all really great advice and I do appreciate it!

As Jim said, the Zenith kit is about 1/3 of the total. I’m building a Cruzer. I found an O-200 on eBay that I’m overhauling. I figure the engine will be about $13-14k when complete with 4 new cylinders. Figure another $4-6k for firewall forward - cowl, mount, exhaust, plus a boatload of other small parts you won’t think about until you need them. Things like carb heat muffs, cabin heat, throttle n mixture cables, air filter etc. I’m going very simple on the panel. GRT Sport SE efis, their ads-b, a used comm from a chapter member, and a Garmin 327 from eBay. I’ll have about $5k in it. Don’t forget an ELT, about $500, plus a fire extinguisher. Upholstery will run about $1000 depending if u go Zenith, Lemke, or someplace else. 

Thanks Carl

Oh and if you decide on a 701 vs a 750 and you want to carry two people, full, or as much fuel as possible. and a small overnight bag for both of you and never takeoff over max gross weight, your engine choices become limited to the Rotax. If good, but not extreme, STOL is all that’s required, and you would like to go cross country from time to time, I would choose the 750. If you are going to operate only from airports, want a high wing, and no STOL is required, look at a 750 cruiser


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