For a completely ASSEMBLED ark ready to gold plate, guild or paint, the price is $4,000 (this is delivered in a raw, white surface) This represents over 100 hrs of work. When you factor in the cost of the kit, the labor hours work out to be about $ an hour.
FINISHED AND PAINTED GOLD ARK $4,500 (this includes an automotive quality paint job in quadruble lacquered paint finish.
A GOLD PLATED ARK (NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE) This is achieved through a state of the art goldchrome technique. The finish is absolutely astounding! This price is this high due to the extremely high cost of the gold plating. A gold plated ark is EXTREMELY RARE. There are less than 10 in the world.
2,000 hours is a lot of flying considering each sortie would, on average, be less than an hour. Test pilots are trained to fly different types of aircraft so hopping from one type to another is relatively simple. As a retired test pilot, I have flown 5 types in one day and that month flew 9 different types.
One thing to remember, a test pilot studies the aircraft he flies before he jumps aboard to a depth that normal pilots would not even contemplate. Some of that study involves carrying a screwdriver. To give an example, I would take 40 minutes just to walk around a single engine jet fighter. Flying strange aircraft was all in a day's work. No conversion course, you study the documents at your disposal or alternatively, get airborne and run tests to determine characteristics.
That what makes a test pilot experienced, not total hours.