So I’m in the market for a small two-seater. I see a lot of homebuilts and experimentals listed that are perfectly priced. I have my private pilot certificate but that’s it.

Would I be able to fly an experimental with a passenger?

Do I need something special if I wanted to buy one of these planes?

Currently I live in Ohio, United States.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You should list your jurisdiction as the answer to this will vary depending on where you are. $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Jun 22, 2017 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ The short answer is 'yes, you can carry passengers', but I'm unsure how to expand that into an answer worth posting. $\endgroup$ Jun 22, 2017 at 21:47

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can, you don't need anything other than the words EXPERIMENTAL to be visible by the passenger. Your PPL is fine for flying experimentals, although like any other aircraft change, I would get instruction from an experienced instructor in that type/model before going solo. Experimental aircraft can have some pretty different handling characteristics.

So, from a regulations standpoint, you are looking for CFR 91.319: Aircraft having experimental certificates: Operating limitations.. According to (j) of that:

No person may operate an aircraft that has an experimental certificate under § 61.113(i) of this chapter unless the aircraft is carrying not more than 6 occupants.

So you can have up to 6 occupants (including the pilot).

Do I need something special if I wanted to buy one of these planes?

No, your PPL allows you to fly experimentals, but as I said above, please get training from an instructor familiar with the aircraft and its handling characteristics. Many dear departed pilots probably wished in the last moments that they had some formal training in the experimentals they bought. You should also get somebody to go over the aircraft mechanically that is familiar with that model. Also look into your insurance costs, the airplane may be cheaper, but your insurance will probably be more expensive.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your insurance may also mandate instruction (often 5 or 10 hours but it can in theory be any amount they want) in the aircraft prior to carrying passengers if you have no time in type. $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Jun 22, 2017 at 22:10
  • $\begingroup$ Does the rule of 3 takeoffs and 3 landings still apply if you haven't flown within 90 days? $\endgroup$
    – TayE
    Jun 23, 2017 at 5:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @TayE yes, currency requirements do not change based on certified or experimental. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Jun 23, 2017 at 12:22
  • $\begingroup$ Depending upon the aircraft, you might need a high performance or a retractable gear endorsement, or a conventional gear endorsement. $\endgroup$
    – mongo
    Jun 24, 2017 at 1:31
  • $\begingroup$ I've never heard of those endorsements. Retractable gear is a complex endorsement, but if it doesn't have a constant speed propeller and adjustable flaps you don't need it, I've never heard of any endorsement for conventional gear. Depending on the aircraft you could need any of the endorsements available including tail wheel, sea plane, high altitude/pressurized, turbine, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Jun 24, 2017 at 2:18

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