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...a web log of developments in Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft
MGLís Discovery-Lite Unveiled at AirVenture 2014
By Dan Johnson, August 21, 2014

A lot of attention is focus on the largest companies yet innovation and new price points are often led by smaller enterprises. A case in point is MGL Avionics' recently announced Discovery-Lite, a seven-inch electronic flight information system. "Our all-in-one EFIS is a revolution in simplicity, but harnesses the full power of the iEFIS system," stated MGL's U.S. representative. MGL is also one of the first glass panel makers to promote touch screen functionality in a full size system. The company based in Torrance, California has been shipping their iEFIS Explorer 8.5-inch and Challenger 10.4-inch systems that have allowed a now more common combination of touch screen and buttons. Let's jump to the end of their announcement. "Discovery-Lite will start shipping in the next six weeks. Projected price is under $3,000 for a complete system," forecast MGL. Imagine that! A few years ago, glass screens — albeit larger, certified versions with multiple screens — could hit $100,000 in Type Certified airplanes and now you have essentially the same capability for less than three grand ... with touch control to boot.

Discovery has a bright non-reflective seven-inch diagonal touchscreen with around 1000+ nits of brightness. "It looks, feels and operates like an iEFIS. It has the iEFIS G3 CPU and runs the exact same firmware as the full iEFIS system," explained MGL. "However, this powerhouse contains a built-in GPS, AHRS (with gyros and accelerometers), airspeed pressure sensor as well as altimeter. It also has a built in OAT sensor (an external one can be fitted). It contains a CAN bus and can be connected to any MGL Avionics CAN bus devices such as external compass, RDAC engine box and servos." Two RS-232 ports are available for connection to remote radios, transponders and ADS-B units. Discovery-Lite was conceived as a stand-alone system unlike MGL's established iEFIS systems that involve multiple, joined panels in a complex infrastructure. Discovery-Lite is specifically designed for single-screen installations where simplicity is desired and this seems particularly well adapted to Light-Sport, light kit aircraft, or ultralights.

MGL Avionics said their Lite series products are straightforward to install and will fit instrument panels for many smaller aircraft where a sophisticated EFIS is desired but without the cost and complication of a large system. "A typical Lite system would contain a Discovery-Lite panel, a RDAC for engine monitoring (if needed), and perhaps an SP-6 compass," said MGL. Discovery-Lite is envisioned as the first "Lite" release. "This will quickly be followed by a regular Discovery EFIS [and afterward] Explorer-Lite and a Challenger-Lite to complete the iEFIS range," the company said. Review all MGL offerings at their website. Discovery-Lite can be a direct replacement for the popular but now discontinued Enigma instrument. The newly-announced unit is similar in panel size but with a bigger, much higher resolution screen. "It is a powerhouse of functionality," boasted MGL.

Details and New Video about MVPís Show Hit
By Dan Johnson, August 19, 2014

Computer renderings courtesy of

Using the line "Your Passport to the Planet" (yes, that's the company name ... well, with an "Inc." on the end), this Minnesota company made a great big splash at AirVenture 2014. Not literally in the sense of a splash into the water but from a marketing standpoint, the MVPers created a tsunami of interest in their LSA seaplane entry that buoyed activity among all Light-Sport Aircraft at the show. MVP innovation showed well in aircraft features (described below) and in PR savvy, calling the "Most Versatile Plane" a "triphibian." As the company is being created near Cirrus Design HQ in Duluth, Minnesota, it may not surprise you that MVP manages takeoff and landing on pavement or turf, water, and snow. The team also brought the term "origami deck" to airplanes with the occupied area convertible in various ways with panels that "fold" into different purposes. In all, MVP represents a batch of fresh thinking that forms a potent statement about how the LSA sector breeds disruptive designs far faster than hide-bound Part 23 Type Certified aircraft that seem to need an act of congress to change a bolt. Shoot, this thing even comes with a hammock you can stretch between engine and tail. Can you imagine Cessna or Mooney offering something like that?

With great panache, MVP's team wheeled out their mockup (photo) and placed it in a deliciously prominent location at the front of EAA's 10-Year Celebration of SP/LSA exhibit right at Boeing Plaza. We didn't see anything of the wheel landing gear at Oshkosh, but it was hinted that more surprises will be announced at future shows. This company has done well to keep things private until they debuted this summer and some aspects of the all-new design are still under wraps. We also didn't see the adaptation for snow landings. Construction is a combination of glass and carbon fiber though wings are fabric covered, a big weight saver. The wing is also what's called "Hershey Bar" after the uniformly rectangular candy bar (see link below; click "Top"). This decision allowed fabricators to make a single wing rib and an example was passed around at the Oshkosh press conference for journalist to see how little weight each one adds. By using a common shape, construction cost and speed will be considerably enhanced. Check out more about the airplane at this link (it's cool and fun).

Our new video seen below will go into more detail about the upward hinging canopy and instrument pod. We'll show you some of the deployable surfaces that you store under the nose deck. You can also hear about the docking system. After taxiing close — which can be done with the canopy up, allowing better visibility and convenient egress to secure the plane to dock — the MVP pilot powers up close and shuts down the engine. One person can fold the wings, and afterward propel MVP towards the dock with a trolling motor. Integrated within the bilge pump is a useful bow thruster to help push MVP during docking. Once tied down, erect your optional camper tent (photo) and you are set for the night. The point of these many capabilities is to make MVP, well ... more versatile. Most seaplanes get you to the destination just fine but then you have to leave the plane to do whatever you planned. With MVP, you keep using the airplane into your vacation. To permit these many unique features, MVP's top engineer Mike Van Staagen said that keeping weight down wherever possible has been a primary goal.

Dock in a slip among the yachts using your bow thruster and erect your 8-foot wide, 9-foot long camper tent.
Plenty of people were interested and so a common question was, "When can I get one?" A scale model flew in 2013 and a full-size MVP should fly in early 2016. plans to start deliveries in 2017 as an Experimental Amateur-Built kit. An SLSA model will arrive in 2019. This may sound like a distant future but other companies have made promises not kept, so MVPers are being suitably conservative. The company forecast the factory built version will sell for a base price of $189,000 before some of the nifty options mentioned above. A quick-build kit version will be offered for $169,000 before finish work like painting. Two highly qualified centers on each coast have been contracted to build the ready-to-fly model: Glasair in Oregon and Fibercraft in Florida (appropriately, both are popular seaplane use regions). For those that find $200K too rich for a solo purchase, company officials said a shared-ownership option will be a key part of their sales plan. is certainly a company to watch; count on me to keep a close eye on this aeronautical wunderkind.

  • Wing Span — 35 feet (10.97 meters)
  • Wing Area — 130 square feet (12.08 square meters)
  • Length — 23 feet 9 inches or 26 feet 7 inches (wings folded) (7.24/8.1 meters)
  • Height — 6 feet 5 inches (1.97 meters)
  • Gross Weight — 1,430 pounds (650 kilograms)
  • Useful Load (option dependent) — 450 pounds (204 kilograms)
  • Payload (with full fuel) — 294 pounds (133 kilograms)
  • Wing Loading — 11 pounds per square foot
  • Maximum Cruise Speed — 104 knots at sea level (120 mph)
  • Stall Speed (full flaps) — 41 knots at sea level (47 mph)
  • Maximum Rate of Climb — 1,000 fpm at sea level
  • Fuel Capacity — 26 gallons (8 liters) with auxiliary tank available
  • Powerplant — Rotax 912 iS Sport or 914 Turbo

Still want more? Catch our video with main man Darrell Lynds at AirVenture,:

Garminís Bon Voyage to a Longtime Team Member
By Dan Johnson, August 15, 2014

When a multibillion-dollar company makes an event out of your retirement ... well, that's quite something but more importantly it shows how much that enterprise valued your years. Many people inside Light-Sport or light kit aviation know Tim Casey, the jovial expert behind Garmin's hand-held and experimental line among many other products in his 23 years. "It has been a wonderful and exhilarating journey from the GPS 100 to G5000, and every product in between. I am forever grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with so many amazing people with a common goal to do whatever it takes to win the business and serve our customers," said Tim.

"This is the day that I have not been looking forward to," said Carl Wolf, Garmin's vice president of aviation marketing and sales. "For many years Tim has been the face of Garmin's aviation business ... everyone knows him. Tim has fun every day and you can't help but laugh along with him as he tells stories about his experiences."

In December of 1990 after working as an air traffic controller, Tim noticed a job posting from a small company in Lenexa, Kansas for an Aviation Marketing Manager. Throughout a series of interviews, Tim vividly recalls Garmin co-founder Gary Burrell handing him the GPS 100 and asking, "What do you think?" Tim politely asked a few questions and offered some suggestions. "After several meetings with Burrell, co-founder Dr. Min Kao, and Senior Flight Test Pilot, Doug Carlson encompassing a total of six interviews, Tim was hired as (roughly) the 25th employee on March 1, 1991," reported Garmin.

The most memorable show for Tim was in 1995 at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin when Garmin introduced the GPS 90 (photo), which featured an aviation navigation database, complete with a moving map, runway diagrams, airport frequencies and airspace alerts. According to Tim, over 4,000 GPS 90 units were sold during the week of EAA AirVenture that year. As Tim Casey wraps up 23 years at Garmin and an entire career in the aviation industry that "gets in your blood," he said, "I've been blessed to wake up everyday and never have had to work a day in my life."

In 1983, Gary Burrell recruited Min H. Kao and in 1989 the two men founded ProNav. The new company's first product was a GPS unit which sold for $2,500. The company changed its name to Garmin, reflecting the first names of its two founders and in 1991, it secured the U.S. Army as its first customer. By 1995 Garmin's sales had reached $105 million and in 2013, revenues totaled $2.6 billion, of which $339 million was from aviation, its fastest growing sector last year. The company's stock symbol is GRMN.

Affordable Bearhawk LSA Quick-Build Kit at Oshkosh
By Dan Johnson, August 14, 2014

Are you lusting after a Cub lookalike but can't afford the steep price tags these popular flying machines carry? How about something much more affordable? A taildragger called Bearhawk has picked up accolades from AirVenture judges and owners appear very loyal. Sometimes those of us close to factory built Light-Sport Aircraft tend to forget about the homebuilt community. However, more pilots exercising the privileges of Sport Pilot are flying kit-built airplanes than ready-to-fly models, a trend that is likely to continue because a kit represents a lower cost option and one where the owner can more easily do all repair work. Let me clarify, though. Bearhawk is Sport Pilot eligible (using a term my longtime EAA friend, Ron Wagner, coined); it is technically not a Light-Sport. Bearhawk LSA made its debut at AirVenture two years ago as a prototype constructed by its designer, Bob Barrows. Recently a customer flew the first completed kit.

Bearhawk Aircraft owner/builder Mark Goldberg completed the first Bearhawk LSA quick-build kit, N514AK, and flew it to AirVenture last month. The trip from Texas took 9.7 hours cruising at just under 100 mph while burning 4.5 gallons per hour. Portions of the flight were done at up to 118 mph consuming 6 gph Mark said. Goldberg's Bearhawk uses a Barrows-engineered 105-horsepower Continental Motors O-200 engine under the cowl. Following a four seat model, Bearhawk LSA is "a clean-sheet design with an all-new airfoil, developed by Harry Riblett," said Barrows. Construction is similar to other Bearhawk aircraft, with fuselage and tail surfaces of welded 4130 chromoly frames covered in fabric. The all aluminum, flush riveted wings are supported by a single strut. Bearhawk designs are popular for their solid performance and pleasant flight qualities. The designs are known for short field capability, gentle slow speed manners, yet manage reasonably high cruise speeds. The legions of folks buying Cubalike designs can consider Bearhawk and save a bundle while flying faster, not a bad combination. Bearhawk is available as a quick-build kit from the Austin, Texas company.

Empty weight of Bearhawk LSA is 750+ pounds, depending on equipment an owner installs, yielding a useful load of 570 pounds. With 30-gallon tanks full of fuel, payload calculates to 390 pounds. Of course local flying can be done with less than that large amount of fuel; the 31-inch-wide cockpit will accommodate a couple big fellows in tandem seating (photo). As the airplane is designed for a maximum weight of 1,500 pounds, Bearhawk boasts an additional margin at the 1,320-pound LSA limit. A quick-build Bearhawk LSA with no welding required and wings completed to a significant extent — including full riveting of the top skin, fuel tanks, and ailerons — costs $36,000. The welded steel frame has all tabs in place and is primed and painted. Even with exterior paint, avionics, and a new O-200 engine, a completed airplane may cost less than $80,000 or about half of a basic model CubCrafters. Other engine choices (65 to 120 horsepower is supported) can further hold down the expense, especially if you find a good used powerplant. Here are additional specifications of Bearhawk LSA:

  • Cruise Speed — 115-125 mph (100-110 knots)
  • Landing Speed — 30 mph (26 knots)
  • Range (with tanks full at 30 gallons) — 650 pounds
  • Wing Span — 34 feet
  • Wing Area — 171 square feet
  • Length — 22 feet, 3 inches
  • Height (in three point position) — 75 inches
  • Cabin Width — 31 inches
  • Cabin Length — 97 inches

Bearhawk LSA nearly achieves the design holy grail of 4:1 top speed to stall speed (118 to 30 mph) but most importantly, here's an unpretentious aircraft you can probably afford. If you want to study first, plans-only are available at just $275. For more information on Bearhawk Aircraft visit the company's website, contact Bearhawk by email, or call 877-528-4776 (Central time).

Van's Aircraft Authorizes US Aviation of Texas
By Dan Johnson, August 13, 2014
An RV-12 owner departed from US Sport Planes after his first 25-hour service check. photo courtesy US Sport Planes

Van's Aircraft has been creating highly successful designs for decades; more than 8,750 RV kits have been completed and are flying. Over 20,000 kits have been sold, cementing this Oregon company as the most successful kit aircraft company in history. In the last couple years, Van's has enlisted Synergy Air to fully build and deliver their RV-12 Light-Sport Entry. Before the ready-to-fly project began Van's had delivered more than 250 kit versions; the fleet of both kit and factory built RV-12s keeps growing. When that happens, many buyers — especially those who elected to purchase a factory-built '12 — need quality places to obtain services for their airplane. Recently a Texas aviation powerhouse, US Aviation and their US Sport Planes division, was approved as a Factory Authorized service center for the RV-12. Company executive Scott Severen, a longtime recreational aircraft enthusiast and businessman, has been very successful at securing similar approvals from many of the top LSA manufacturers. US Sport Planes has also been a Rotax Service Center for several years and has more than 20 A&P mechanics on staff.

"Van's Aircraft has recognized US Sport Planes of Denton, Texas," reported the company. "We received good comments from our customers about US Aviation. We are pleased to have them assist our customers in the central U.S.," commented Scott Risan, President and General Manager of Van's Aircraft. RV-12 owners can expect services such as oil changes, conditional inspections, plus major structural repairs. US Sport Planes avionics shop is approved as a Dynon installation and service center.
photo by Ed Hicks

"This is a natural flow for us as we service the bigger RVs already, and have a depth of knowledge of the LSA world. We are fortunate to assist RV owners and we strive to make it very convenient to have reliable work performed," reported Severen who serves as Director of Business Development. US Aviation is based at the Denton Airport north of Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas. The business provides a full range for Light-Sport services as well as certified single, multiengine, and turboprop maintenance as FAA 145 Repair Station U9FR750K. Sport Pilots will appreciate that US Sport Planes is a LSA-friendly, full service FBO that offers exceptional amenities at Denton Airport (KDTO). The operation is open every day and sits outside the DFW Class B airspace. "We often provide return flights for customers bringing their aircraft in for service and your plane enjoys a complimentary wash with service," assured US Sport Planes.

For more information on Van's Aircraft services (or many other LSA), contact Scott Severen by email, call 940-297-6446, or visit US Sport Planes' website.

Crumple Zones Coming to Light Aircraft
By Dan Johnson, August 12, 2014
Flight Design's coming C4 four seater; it will fly in fall 2014.

For more than 100 years, cars have had accidents and if they were severe enough, the results were poor (photo). This was long before seat belts, airbags, breakaway steering columns, padded dashboards, and many other features we take for granted today. It was also before the concept of crumple zones. Typically, crumple zones are located in the front part of the vehicle to absorb the impact of a head-on collision because 65% of crashes are frontal impacts, according to a British study. Crumple zones accomplish two safety goals: They reduce the initial force of the crash; and they redistribute the force before it reaches the vehicle's occupants.This idea has been around more than 60 years and has become standard in the modern era of passenger car design. One of the first examples of crumple zone research is coming from Mercedes-Benz in the mid-1950s, so perhaps it is fitting that some of the first crumple zone technology to be applied to light aircraft has the sponsorship of the German government along with German industry players.

German aircraft producer Flight Design, which most readers recognize as one of the leading companies in manufacturing Light-Sport Aircraft, is deep into development of their new four seater, called the C4. This is one of a flock of what I've called the "New GA," and what my journalist friend Marino Boric calls "LSA 4.0." (I like his phrase and will probably adopt it as this website delves deeper into such emerging aircraft.) Flight Design has teamed up with a group of German companies and government entities in creating the first edition of crumple zone methods for light planes. "We are pioneering a new safety technology," noted company technical director Oliver Reinhardt at a press conference at AirVenture 2014. Flight Design USA, the German producer's importer for North America, has long supported safety technologies, for example, choosing to install BRS airframe parachutes as standard equipment in their CT line of LSA. Oliver stated that the C4 is the "Lead User" as they strive to create what Flight Design calls the "Occupant Protective Safety Box." The company will enter into full-scale testing this year. Their C4 will fly in a month or so and expects to arrive on the market in the next couple years.

Crumple zones are areas of a vehicle that are designed to deform and crumple in a collision. This absorbs some of the energy of the impact, preventing it from being transmitted to the occupants. According to HowStuffWorks, "Simple designs can include frame segments built to bend in certain areas or collapse onto themselves. More advanced designs can utilize a variety of metals and other materials carefully engineered to absorb as much kinetic energy as possible. High-performance cars often use a honeycomb design, which offers stiffness under normal conditions, but can collapse and crumple in a crash." In airplanes, the ideas are similar but airplane designs do not have the luxury of adding much weight to meet the crash forces. While cars also strive for lightness — consider Ford's new aluminum body F150 — airplanes must stay on a strict weight diet. Most pilots will be interested to know this will not be proprietary to Flight Design, as Mercedes Benz attempted with patents back in the '50s.

More LSA producers are getting involved with what might be called LSA 4.0.
Flight Design has worked in concert with the German government and many leading technical groups to create a "Safety Box" system to protect occupants. While Flight Design is the lead airframe provider for the concept, the methods discovered will be made available to all brands. Once techniques have been evaluated and proven to add safety values, all LSA and LSA 4.0 producers will have access to the study and testing. Flight Design may have it first due to their industry collaboration but company officials agreed with design team members this is too important to try to keep private. I wish to observe that other aircraft currently use elements of impact design. Even the ultralight CGS Hawk and lightplanes such as Belite have well conceived structures that helped pilots survive crashes yet to my knowledge no comprehensive study has been undertaken. As Flight Design and their partners move forward, I will look to update this introduction to crumple zones for airplanes.

World Aircraft's New/Old Open Cockpit LSA
By Dan Johnson, August 11, 2014

As we scoured the sprawling acreage of AirVenture 2014 for aircraft we had not seen before, one flying machine confused my eye. Surveyor looked approximately like a Lockwood Drifter or maybe a single engine version of Drifter's big brother, the twin engine AirCam. Since I like both Drifter and AirCam a great deal, taking that view of Surveyor is a form of high compliment. My video partner and I spoke to World Aircraft director Eric Giles and shot a video that will soon be available. Surveyor has no relationship to Drifter or AirCam but it does have a long heritage. The designer of all World Aircraft models — Spirit, Vision, Surveyor, and low-wing Freedom in development — is Max Tedesco, a talented engineer from Columbia. Many years ago, he created the open cockpit Surveyor and ten aircraft were sold to Cuba to provide aerial sightseeing for that island's tourists. "They never bought any more," noted Eric, and while a few more were sold, this machine took a back seat to other, fully enclosed designs.

"I'd like to introduce you to Surveyor," said Eric, "an aircraft that is both a fun machine and a utility workhorse." Surveyor is an all-metal, high-wing, tandem pusher with open cockpit frame by several robust steel components. While we reviewed the aircraft in preparation for shooting the video, several passers by remarked at how solid the structure appeared. As originally designed for tour companies operating off beaches in Cuba, Surveyor (as it is now known) carried three people. A tourist couple could sit alongside one another in the back, a more comfortable, enjoyable, and reassuring arrangement for people not familiar with flying a light aircraft. A single pilot sat in the front seat. For the U.S. market, Surveyor may have only two seats but both occupants will get a wind-in-their-hair feeling that understandably worked well in a resort setting. Eric observed that in other countries Surveyor can be outfitted for banner and glider towing and an ultra low volume or microspray system would allow Surveyor to be used for agricultural or insect control. (In the latter case, a homebuilder farmer can use such a machine on his own property.) Because Surveyor, like all Max Tedesco designs, has a 1,653 pound gross weight, the back seat can be converted to carry a 53-gallon hopper to hold crop treatments.

World Aircraft is not shortchanging Surveyor. The company is using the state-of-the-art electronic circuit breaker system from Vertical Power (red box). Watch for a video on their products soon.
Surveyor is proceeding through ASTM standards compliance and should be available in the last half of 2014, said Giles. Also in the latter half of 2014, World Aircraft plans to offer all models available in kit form; ELSA and Experimental Amateur-Built. Thinking about the agriculture use potential, it is worth noting that EAB kits have no gross weight allows 51%-built kits to be registered at their design gross weight of 1,653 pounds, yielding a useful load of more than 900 pounds, according to World Aircraft. A recreational pilot certificate or better with a medical is required to fly an EAB aircraft. The "Sport Edition" of World Aircraft's Spirit lists for $87,9950, a number that qualifies as quite a bargain in today's fleet of Light-Sport Aircraft. (That's less than $70,000 in 2004 dollars after adjusting for inflation since LSA burst on the scene ten years ago.) Surveyor has not been priced yet but logically it should be less given less material cost. "WAC builds ready-to-fly aircraft that are significantly less costly than any comparably-equipped light-sport aircraft on the market today. They are built in our new 23,000 square foot facility at Henry County Airport (KPHT) in Paris, Tennessee. Airframe painting involves a twice baked process in WAC's double-downdraft, triple-airflow paint booth. You can watch some short video animations of World Aircraft structure here. Further Surveyor specification follow:

  • Wing span — 29.6 feet
  • Wing Chord — 55.9 inches
  • Wing Area — 137.6 square feet
  • Length — 22.4 feet
  • Design Gross Weight — 1,653 pounds; this weight permitted on EAB models
  • U.S. LSA Gross Weight — 1,320 pounds
  • Average Empty Weight — 675 pounds
  • Fuel Capacity — 28 gallons

While updating you about World Aircraft's new Surveyor, I went back to update an earlier article. Please click the link to see a clarification of my description of a Serbian Light-Sport candidate.

Nearby you see how Surveyor looks on floats as used at beach-side resorts. The structure is well designed for this application. Note that this aircraft is fitted with two aft seats as described above.

Carbon Composite Part 103 Glider / Motorglider
By Dan Johnson, August 10, 2014

For your weekend enjoyment — and because I am a soaring enthusiast ... plus I was sent some interesting photos — consider this slick Part 103 glider, or motorglider (photo). Radek Hucik sent photos of the aircraft performing at a Czech soaring content, where it placed 12th out of 34 competitors. Considering most of the others appear to be conventional sailplanes, one that meets Part 103 at much less weight did well. A high end sailplane can hit or exceed a 50:1 glide angle. This is an amazing performance mark, which translates to flying nearly ten miles from only 1,000 feet of altitude. The XS-12 Saggita manages 35:1 (more specs below) and that is a noteworthy achievement for such a light aircraft. Radek wrote, "[This is] a powered glider that my colleagues and I have developed over the past 20 months. The glider is designed so that it meets Federal Aviation Regulations Part 103 [for] Ultralight Vehicles. As the photos show, Saggita can be powered or unpowered. A self-launching sailplane has some independence that an unpowered glider does not have. Normally they are air towed in the USA and often winch towed in Europe.

all photos courtesy of Radek Hucik

Radek continued, "I have been involved in designing and building composite fuselages and other parts for various ultralight aircraft for over 20 years. I have built the motorized glider Sagitta with my colleague Vadimir Duchacek. Static and flight tests were performed by LAA inspector Milos Dedera, one of the best glider pilots in the Czech Republic. The glider exhibits stable behavior even at a stall speed of 45 km/h (28 mph), and the rudder is effective at this speed." Radek later added, "To safely meet the stall speed of 24 knots (45 km/h or 28 mph) at maximum takeoff weight of 230 kilograms (507 pounds) span will be increased to 12 meters (39 feet), wing area to 9 square meters (97 square feet)." Landing speed is 50 km/h (31 mph) without flaps reports Radek and descent speed at 90 km/h 56 mph) is 0.6 m/s (a 140 foot per minute sink rate). To learn more about this Part 103 glider / motorglider, contact Radek by email.

Saggita's tail wheel is built into the rudder. With a mounted wheel near the winglet, the aircraft will be able to taxi around an airfield from hangar to runway and execute turns with a radius of six meters (less than 20 feet). "The engine can be fastened in front of the vertical tail area and aerodynamically shielded to achieve the least resistance," said Radek. Alternatively an engine can be configured to emerge or be hidden in the fuselage. "Our effort to build a clean aerodynamic aircraft is also motivated by the possibility to adopt electric power," he added. "This aircraft should reach its maximum flying performance with low energy consumption" ... the holy grail of the electric aircraft movement today. Following are additional specifications for Saggita:

  • Wing span — 11 meters / 35.75 feet (See change above to 12 meters)
  • Length — 5.8 meters / 18.85 feet
  • Wing Area — 8 square meters / 86 square feet (Changing to 97 square meters)
  • Empty Weight — 115 kilograms / 253.5 pounds
  • Gross Weight — 230 kilograms / 507 pounds
  • Max Speed — 150 km/h / 94 mph
  • Stall Speed — 45 km/h / 28 mph
  • Glide Angle — 35:1
  • Minimum Sink Rate — 0.6 meters/second / 140 fpm
  • Powered Climb — 2.0 meters/second / 390 fpm
  • Fuel (in wings) — 19 liters / 5 gallons

Sailplanes line up for launch in the usual pattern of such events. The tidy assembly permits the fastest towing of gliders so that all gain the benefit of good soaring conditions. Saggita appears closest to the camera.

To read SPLOG postings going back to 2005 -- all organized in chronological order -- click SPLOG.




North Wing is America's leading manufacturer of weight shift LSA and Part 103 ultralight trikes. The company's wing designs are so good that most other trike manufacturers use them. Aircraft prices are highly affordable by all.

Corbi Air represents the Made-for-Americans Direct Fly Alto 100. Created in the Czech Republic, Alto 100 was upgraded for USA sales and the result is a comfortable, handsome low wing, all-metal LSA with features you want.

Just Aircraft has delivered more than 300 kit aircraft since 2002, but in 2012 they electrified pilots with the awesome performance of their all-new SuperSTOL. It may look extreme and performs extremely well, but it is truly docile and forgiving to fly.

Flight Design USA imports CT, the top selling Light-Sport Aircraft. CT is a 98% carbon fiber design
with superb performance, roomy cockpit, great useful load, and a parachute as standard equipment ... the market leader for 10 years!

Quicksilver Aeronautics is the world's largest producer of ultralight aircraft, selling some 15,000 aircraft. The company's designs are thoroughly tested, superbly supported, and have an excellent safety record.

BRM Aero manufacturers the handsome Bristell all-metal SLSA. This highly evolved, next-generation Light-Sport was carefully engineered for luxury, comfort, excellent stability, and safety while being fun, fast, and easy to fly.

Aerotrek Aircraft imports the A240 and A220 tricycle gear or taildragger Special Light-Sport Aircraft. A finely finished aircraft at an excellent price, Aerotrek has wide, affordable appeal.

U.S. Sport Aircraft Importing represents the popular SportCruiser, one of the best selling Special Light-Sport Aircraft among 130 models on the market. The Texas-headquartered importer has long represented this familiar model.

Arion Aircraft has designed and built one of the most beautiful low wing entries in the Special LSA and kit-built aircraft sector. The all-American designed and built aircraft is priced fairly and flies wonderfully ... need you search for more?

Tecnam is the world's leading manufacturer of Light-Sport aircraft offering more models and variations than any other producer.
Besides the world's fastest-selling light twin and a new four seater, Tecnam offers these LSA: Echo Classic, Eaglet, Bravo, Astore, and P2008.
Many LSA
& GA models

Progressive Aerodyne designed and supplies the SeaRey series, arguably the most celebrated of all light seaplanes in America. A close community of hundreds of owners offers camaraderie few other brands can match.

SportairUSA imports the dashing and superbly-equipped StingSport S4 that has won a loyal following from American pilots. More recently, they introduced their TL-3000 high-wing LSA. SportairUSA is a full-line operation with maintenance and training, too.

Aeromarine-LSA represents an economical Part 103 ultralight that is within reach of almost any budget. For local fun flying, or for those who enjoy soaring flight Zigolo is light enough to be lifted by even the most gentle thermals.

Pipistrel has designed and manufactures a range of beautiful, sleek aircraft that have found markets around the world. Starting with gliders and motorgliders, Pipistrel now offers a line of powered aircraft using multiple power sources.

Hansen Air Group represents recognized brands in the LSA
space: FK Lightplanes and their distinctive biplane Comet, FK9, and FK51 plus the great-flying Magnaghi Sky Arrow. Based in Atlanta, Georgia Hansen Air Group is an experienced player in the LSA space.
Multiple LSA

Vickers Aircraft has created one of the most distinctive new LSA seaplanes yet to emerge.Powered by the 180-horsepower
Lycoming O-360, their Wave model is like no other seaplane ever introduced with multiple features to set it apart from the crowd.

World Aircraft Company is Columbian design expertise joined to Canadian entrepreneurship based in Paris, Tennessee USA. Welcome to World Aircraft and a brand-new short takeoff and landing (STOL) Light-Sport Aircraft, the all-metal Spirit.

The Airplane Factory (TAF) produces the Sling series of world-circling aircraft (literally) and now this fine-flying, all-metal beauty is available in the United States as a Special Light-Sport Aircraft. Here is an LSA to follow.

BushCat is the distinctive Light-Sport Aircraft within reach of almost any budget. With a solid heritage BushCat by SkyReach is fun, capable, and available as a kit, fully-built SLSA or ELSA.

Evektor is Number One and always will be. The Czech company's SportStar was the number one SLSA to win approval but engineers have steadily improved the model far beyond that 2005 version that started the race.

Lockwood Aircraft is the builder of two of light aviation's best-recognized flying machines: AirCam and the Drifter line. Most sport aviators already know the Lockwood brand, a leader in Rotax maintenance and aircraft services.

X-Air brings a return to reasonably priced Light-Sport Aircraft, with a ready-to-fly flying machine you can purchase for a genuinely low price. No new arrival, X-Air has a rich history in light aviation.

Jabiru USA builds the spacious and speedy J-250 and more recently J-230 plus the training-optimized J-170, each certified as Special LSA. The Tennessee-based company also imports and services the popular Jabiru engine line.

Super Petrel LS, manufactured by Edra Aeronautica in Brazil and represented by Florida Light Sport Aviation, is a unique and highly effective LSA seaplane. A biplane design, this is well established flying boat with more than 20 years of history.

Renegade Light Sport produces the sexy low wing, all composite Falcon in America. The Florida company has also established itself as the premiere installer of Lycomingís IO-233 engine.

Phoenix Air USA imports the beautiful Phoenix Special Light-Sport Aircraft, a performance motorglider that can cruise swiftly and serve both functions with excellent creature comfort. Given its clever wing extension design, you get two aircraft in one!

Zenith Aircraft is one of America's leading kit suppliers featuring well proven models from legendary designer, Chris Heintz. Centrally based in Mexico, Missouri, Zenith offers kit aircraft for several popular models.

SkyCraft Airplanes is Americaís first Light-Sport Aircraft single seater. SD-1 Minisport is affordably priced, very well equipped, and was designed to exhibit docile handing qualities. It can be flown for less than $12 per hour.

Kitfox is one of the world's best selling light aircraft kits with more than 5,000 delivered. With unrivaled name recognition, Kitfox is admired for crisp handling, excellent performance, easily folded wings, and more. The design is flown around the world.

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Updated: August 21, 2014

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