What Henry Ford did for the automobile, Gilbert Devore plans to do for the airplane -- namely, make one that every working stiff can afford.

Well, almost every working stiff. The as yet unnamed two-seater will sell for less than $20,000. That may not be pin money, but it is still a good $15,000 below the price of the low-end models offered by Piper Aircraft Corp. and Cessna Aircraft Co.

The prototype is scheduled for testing this fall, and Devore is confident that it will pass with flying colors. Once the Federal Aviation Administration has given its approval, Devore Aviation Corp. will start production of the aircraft, which are expected to hit the market in early 1986.

"We've latched on to a real slick molding process," explains Devore, president of the Albuquerque company. "We spent six months costing it, and feel secure that we can make an airplane for under $20,000." The company has 30 years' experience in making aircraft-related products.

Devore has already received seven $1,000 down payments for planes including one from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) in Frederick, Md., which plans to use the craft to start an employees flying club. "I've long felt that the industry had to introduce an aircraft that was affordable to the general cross section of pilots," says Stephen Bassett, vice-president of the AOPA. "Gilbert has taken the first step toward that."

Who knows? Maybe someday there will be an airplane in every garage.