As we continue to prepare articles and video from Sebring Expo 2018 our attention is turning to the next big events in sport aviation.
We sincerely appreciate your visit and thank those of you who have become members!
As we continue to prepare articles and video from Sebring Expo 2018 our attention is turning to the next big events in sport aviation.
We sincerely appreciate your visit and thank those of you who have become members!
While I doubt airliner behemoths Boeing or Airbus are aiming to create aircraft you might buy, their work along with other developers, may nonetheless lead to something new in the future for recreational aircraft pilots and buyers.
According to a report in Wired magazine, “On the morning of January 31, eight buzzing rotors lifted a black bubble of an aircraft off the ground for the first time … Vahana Alpha One spent 53 seconds aloft, under its own power and autonomous control. It reached a height of 16 feet. The flight may not sound like much, but the team from Airbus … and aerospace experts say such flights of experimental aircraft mark the start of a fundamental change in the way we get around.”
Writer Jack Stewart goes on to state, “Alpha One … is a full-scale demonstrator of a single-person, vertical take-off and landing aircraft. The idea … is to remake the way we fly. Instead of piling dozens or hundreds of people into big jets that fly back and forth between airports, these little VTOL aircraft would work much like personal cars, taking a few people (or just one) on short trips in and around cities.”
Thirty Vahana engineers, funded by $150 million* from Airbus, worked for two years to make their aircraft ready for its January flight. The Wired article noted, “Now the Vahana team faces a challenge more beguiling than making this funky thing fly: convincing the bureaucrats to let it loose in American skies.”
Meanwhile, in an early pairing with Boeing, ride hailing pioneer Uber reportedly plans to launch air taxi networks in Dubai and Dallas as soon as 2020.
You probably don’t want an air taxi …even if you might take one sometime in the future just as we’ve learned to do with the Ubers and Lyfts of the world. Air taxis, whatever their size, serve a transportation role.
I see nothing wrong with that, but those of us involved with recreational flying prefer to do the piloting, to enjoy the skies in our own personal way.
However, does that mean you would not fly a quad- or octocopter, especially if it was mass produced and affordable?
What if this thing could be flown with regular controls like the ultralight, light kit, or LSA you presently love? What if it turned out to be a hoot to fly? What it if had capabilities beyond your fixed wing, gyroplane, trike, or powered parachute. My own radio-controlled drone flies well in wind. Its gyro stabilized camera is amazingly smooth even in gusty conditions …and mine is a antique, a whole two years old.
Will the future of recreational flying be transformed the way Vahana developers and Uber envision? A look at electric autos lead by Tesla with its Autopilot capabilities suggest driving in the future may be remarkably different, possibly safer, possibly more eco-friendly, possibly even more fun in ways we cannot currently imagine.
Could tomorrow’s sport aircraft be radical revolutions. Or will this all die down and we’ll just keep flying the aircraft we have today? I’m very certain recreational flying isn’t threatened by these new developments but the aircraft we fly might evolve to become vastly different than what we have at the start of 2018. Stay tuned…!
You can see several more projects in development in this article from New Atlas. It’s full of pictures and promise but only time will tell what will succeed in the marketplace.
* $150 million may rival the investment made by all LSA companies combined.
One word can make a huge difference. This unassailable logic was recently put forth by Michael Coates of Australia regarding the LSA regulation. The offensive word? —Reciprocating.
It sounds so innocent until you consider what that word prevents in the USA. Like so many laws and regulations, the original idea didn’t work out anything like what was intended.
In its ground-breaking — I’m tempted to write “daring” — Sport Pilot / Light-Sport Aircraft regulation of 2004, FAA specified that all LSA must use only a reciprocating engine. Their stated goal was to avoid turbines that were thought too complex for the “simple aircraft flying in simple airspace” mantra of the day. (For the record, numerous airline pilots I know confirmed that turbines are far simpler than any reciprocating engine. They do require different techniques that are not familiar to recreational-only pilots but they are actually very easy engines to operate, say these professional pilots.)
Regardless, FAA’s word choice not only prevented turbine engines but unknowingly prevented electric propulsion as well. Few considered electric motors as powerplants in 2004 so FAA might be forgiven yet that one word “reciprocating” now turns out to be slowing progress.
More accurately, it slows things in the USA …but not in Australia or Canada, or many European countries, or China, or…
Agency staff admit they never intended to preclude electric but “now it’s the regulation and we can’t change it without a major effort.” (LAMA is working to alter that situation and some progress has been noted but the effort continues. For Part 103 ultralights a solution might come even sooner but that’s a story for another post.)
As a Slovenia-based company, Pipistrel been a leader in electric propulsion, winning (literally!) millions from NASA for their success with electric propulsion. However, they cannot sell an electric-propelled SLSA in the United States. They can in Australia and Canada. Recently the down-under country approved Electro for use by a flight school.
This Alpha Electro “is a normal production Pipistrel Alpha Electro and was commissioned on January 2nd 2018,” wrote Coates. “The aircraft was awarded an SLSA certificate by CASA and it is used at the fifth busiest airport in the southern hemisphere, mostly for flight training. The operators now have around 70 hours in temperatures above 35°C (95°F).
Michael explained, “The Australian aviation standards do not have the word ‘reciprocating’ when describing the engine system of an LSA aircraft so the plane can be registered as a ‘certified’ LSA for flight training in Australia, unlike the USA.”
In normal pattern flying the fight school is logging 60-minute flights and completing between 8 and 10 takeoffs and landings per training session. Recharging is taking between 45 minutes and 1 hour 15 minutes depending on the temperatures. Michael said that when the temperatures rises above 35°C charging slows down to keep the batteries under their maximum temperature.
According to a recent report by Flying online, “Transport Canada [approved] Pipistrel’s Alpha Electro earlier this month.” Writer Rob Mark continued, “In Canada, the Alpha Electro was certified as an Advanced Ultra-light, a category that doesn’t exist in the USA. Electros are flying in America, but under a Experimental LSA certificate that makes them ineligible to be used for hire.”
As Rob reported, “Electro is powered by a 60-kW electric motor equivalent to an 80-horsepower gasoline engine. Roughly the size of a Cessna 150, the Alpha Electro weighs considerably less, just over 1,200 pounds. At cruise, Electro tops out at 85 mph.”
The Southern Hemisphere flight school got a rush of news coverage in Australia. Here’s a series or reports that also shows the aircraft in flight. You can hear it as well.
We started a few shows back doing a drive-by shooting (except in a good way). In this effort, we pair up on a golf cart with Videoman Dave running the camera and yours truly trying my best to keep up and not flub my lines.
All this is extemporaneous (a fancy word for un-scripted) so if I stumble now and again with an airplane fact, please pardon the error. We like to knock these out and that doesn’t allow for retakes. I think I got most of it right or at least Dave managed to edit out any disqualifying errors I may have made.
According to new Sebring Expo Program Manager, Janice Rearick, we have a few facts to pass along from Sebring 2018.
More than 100 exhibitors displayed their wares. As mentioned in our earlier report, a good number of aircraft were sold and Janice indicated, “Several vendors we surveyed waved long sheets of leads collected at the show.” When vendors succeed, we pilots get more and better aircraft choices with better service from healthier companies.
Overall activities were aided tremendously by a small army of 300 volunteers. Many airshow regulars have often heard that these shows cannot happen without those volunteers so when the chance presents itself, give a thank-you to any volunteer you meet.
Over 700 people attended more than 60 forums in four tents (though some may have been counted twice if they attended more than one).
Nearly 1,000 kids were transported to Sebring’s Expo as part of their YAZ, or Young Aviators Zone. I observed several of these flocks and it’s always great to see young people being exposed to aviation.
The 2nd annual drone races happened in the Drone Zone, an area populated by about 115 racers, each of whom were supported by two or three people as they vied for prizes of several thousand dollars. The racers formed 11 teams and the area itself had about 40 volunteers. Anyone who looked could see drone racing is a possible way to reach out to young people interested in flight, even if their interest may not present include what pilots in that area call “full-size aircraft.”
Finally, welcome also to new airport manager, Zach Easton, reporting to longtime airport director, Mike Willingham. Zach will likely take the title of Expo Director, said Janice.
If you can attend Sebring Expo in 2019 the dates have been announced as January 23-26. For those who could not attend the 2018 event, here’s our race-around video.
I urge you to visit Videoman Dave’s YouTube channel and, more importantly, subscribe to help support the production of these videos that people love. He reported the channel is now generating 2.5 million minutes per month of viewing!
Let’s be clear. Boeing, Airbus, Google, Amazon, and other immensely deep pockets are not seeking to build fun flying machines for you and me. Well… not initially, at least. And even that statement is somewhat wrong based on the development of the Kitty Hawk Flyer (video below).
Big money doesn’t begin investing hoping to sell 100-200 aircraft per year. Such a performance would be more than acceptable to most manufacturers of Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit aircraft, or ultralights. Indeed, 200 deliveries a year would qualify as a major success for most such builders.
The billionaire class dreams much bigger, probably thinking they can sell many thousands of aircraft or much higher cost aircraft than we recreational aviators want to buy. Most will center on doing transportation or package delivery. Most will not seek to increase your weekend flying fun.
You know what, though? Neither did the Wright Brothers or the other pioneers of flight have recreation in mind. Even Francis Rogallo‘s work that lead to modern hang gliders was done to help NASA bring back payloads from space. Recreation came later.
As with most developments in a dynamic economy, spin-offs happen. One idea fails but produces another that catches fire. Discoveries in one field can lead to progress in a seemingly unrelated field.
I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to think we may be on the cusp of a new revolution in flight.
I have spent an entire career in recreational aviation. I was on the front lines for hang gliders as they became amazingly sophisticated. I was deeply involved as engines were added to hang gliders to become ultralights, which themselves gradually became increasingly capable. Most recently, I’ve been a cheerleader for Light-Sport Aircraft and light kit-but aircraft as they ushered in numerous developments that are now being considered for Type Certified aircraft.
This history — which I would not trade for anything — leads me to wonder if we might be on the verge of a new chapter in flying for fun. Could it be electric? Might it be a multi-copter? Is it possible the next aviation revolution will not look like those aircraft that previously gave me pleasure? Perhaps!
Will that still be “real” flying? Such a judgment depends on the beholder. I considered hang gliding to be extremely “real” flying. I was similarly inspired by ultralights (even if I did lose some hearing after flying with two-stroke engines). Likewise, I’ve been highly impressed with LSA designers who have thought up dozens of variations, some of which are remarkably handsome aircraft.
Each time the new kid arrived on the block, somebody from the previous generation was dismissive. I’m trying not to be one of those as I observe these new creations. I hope you will join me in keeping an open mind.
I can hear multiple gripes about the Kitty Hawk Flyer in the video below but I have to say that I’d love to give this thing a try once I believe it be sufficiently wrung out by braver pilots than me. Honestly, on a hot Florida day while having fun with friends at one of the state’s many lakes, Flyer looks like a hoot. The video below is rather Hollywoodized but nonetheless shows how developments by big boys with their pockets bulging with money could… just might lead to things I’d enjoy flying in the future.
Special deals are unusual in aviation, an industry of hand-built flying machines sold in modest quantities. This is the paramount challenge in keeping aviation affordable. Challenging, but not impossible.
Mainly due to the fluctuation in government currencies, The Airplane Factory USA has little choice but to raise prices by about 10%, however, they are offering a chance to capture the current price if you can make a decision before March 1st, 2018.
TAF-USA has two choices depending on your wishes. I’ve experienced both models and find them both highly desirable. The Sling 2 — their Special LSA entry — can be had either fully built or in kit form. The four-seat Sling 4 is available only as a kit. Either is available as a quick build (QB) kit or standard. Either will save you some money in exchange for a few hundred hours of your time.
Since we focus on “affordable aviation,” just how much will you part with to own a Sling 2 or 4?
The ready-to-fly SLSA Sling 2 runs from $132,000 for a basic model to $165,000 for a “Garmin IFR” version. You may not consider that “affordable,” but it helps identify the savings with a kit.
According to TAF-USA, a Sling 2 kit runs $38,000 for the airframe kit (including interior and finishing) or $83,000 with avionics, engine, and prop. That saves you more than $50,000 in exchange for 900 hours of your time. If you value your time more highly, a $17,500 QB kit will tip the scales at just over $100,000 …but even that saves $30,000, and it saves you 400 hours of your (yielding about $45/hour for your labor).
TAF-USA’s Sling 4 kit adds more cost but also adds more capability, specifically two more seats and the turbo Rotax 914 that adds a few knots even with the heavier load. A Sling 4 airframe kit sells for $50,000 or $115,000 with engine, avionics, and prop. Sling 4 will take more time to build: 1,200 hours. You can shave off 500 hours with the $20,000 QB kit.
Act before March 1st — and save about 10%, making the offer worth about $4,000 to over $13,000 depending on which model and type interests you. Call 424-241-0341 (west coast time) or send an email for more details or to place an order.
TAF-USA’s all-metal CNC-accurate components come significantly completed (photo). Control surfaces are nearly finished. Wings are almost complete. Key elements like fuel tanks are finished and sealed, and where driven rivets are used, those components come already fabricated.
Here’s an especially modern idea, thanks to the young staff at TAF and TAF-USA. The South African producer allied with the U.S. importer helps builders with more than building manuals. They’ve created an iPhone/iPad app that reads the bar codes attached to every part in the kit. You scan the code and the app will display information for that part including the part’s name, where in the plans that part is used, how many parts should be included. It even keeps a running inventory of how many of those parts are used and how many are left. Prior builders may recognize how handy is the use of this modern technology.
TAF-USA is closely associated with MGL Avionics line (also from South Africa) so I urge you to check out these fine instruments and radios while you ponder a Sling 2 or Sling 4 kit purchase.
Sebastien Heintz of Zenith Aircraft in Mexico, Missouri is one of the more vigorous promoters in light aviation. He and his 25-year-old company are all over social media and advertise in big magazines. This week his news came from about as far away as possible, from way down under in New Zealand.
“A Zenith STOL, expertly piloted by Deane Philip, was the winner of the New Zealand Bush Pilot Championships in Omaka, New Zealand, on Saturday, February 3, 2017,” reported Sebastien. Deane won with a take-off distance of just 12.6 meters (41.3 feet) and a landing roll of 14.7 meters (48.2 feet). See the video below.
By any measure, that is very, very short.
“Another Zenith STOL aircraft, piloted by Chris Anderson, took second place,” bragged Sebastien. In third place was a Rans S6 for third place in the Sport Pilot (under 1,325 pound) category.
This fifth annual STOL competition — officially called the “Healthy Bastards Bush Pilot Championships” — is a precision landing, STOL Takeoff and Landing competition held annually at Omaka Airfield, Blenheim, New Zealand.
Deane Philip (photo) hails from Christchurch, New Zealand. He has been flying for five years, logging 570 hours in his Zenith STOL over that time. How does he succeed?
“Every take off and landing is a focused precision attempt,” Deane related. “All of my flying is off-airport and the places we land and take-off from you need to be on point. Even when leaving and arriving at my home field I use the runway threshold line as a target point to continually hone my skills. An average outing will consist of 10 to 20 off field landings instead of just flying from A to B. This is the type of flying where the Zenith STOL truly excels.” That training is how to win STOL competitions. Well done, Deane!
Talk about your short takeoff… I just witnessed the successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch, a test flight aiming to transport a Tesla Roadster to Mars. Because I live near Daytona Beach, Florida, I often get to observe rocket launches live.
Sheesh! These two accomplishments could hardly be further apart and I don’t mean geographically. The space geek in me is always drawn outside to my back yard to get a wonderful view of a launch. I’ve been privileged to see many, including all the final Space Shuttle launches.
With my neighbors who live on the 12th fairway of the golf course at Spruce Creek Fly In, we stood on a pleasantly warm day to see this ground-breaking launch. While we could not see the return of all three rockets, they landed successfully, two on terra firma and one on SpaceX’s barge at sea.
Because we are about 50 miles away, the sound of these (count ’em) 27 rocket motors traveled to Daytona in about four minutes. The rumbling from those huge motors throbbed on and on, longer than any launch I can remember. The winds need to be rather calm for the sound to travel this far and today we got lucky.
Cool! Go private space companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and others. I’m a NASA fan, too, but I want to see these private enterprises take the baton and race outward to the planets …and it’s happening.
I just hope that Tesla can find a parking spot when it gets to Mars orbit.
Is your aviation horizon is getting confused by quadcopters, electric aircraft, and airliners?
What’s going on, anyway? Airbus supporting a glider? BRS building emergency parachutes for an aircraft hoping to fly to 90,000 feet, on the edge of space? Boeing investing in a battery start-up?
What will flying become in the future? This is impossible to know but here’s something to think about: If “Beam-me-up, Scotty” technology ever arrives, airlines may disappear quickly. Sport aircraft, however, should survive because they are flown to experience joy aloft, not for transport. Meanwhile…
Progress toward new aviation frontiers continues. Airbus has generated media attention for several out-of-the-box projects they are supporting. Pursuing new directions may lead to an electric propulsion airliner of the future. Only time knows how that may turn out, but meanwhile companies from our sector of aviation are making some inroads to these new developments. One of these businesses is BRS Aerospace.
The South St. Paul. Minnesota company “recently completed the installation of a ballistic whole aircraft parachute into the Perlan 2 experimental space glider as part of preparations for the 2018 season of Airbus Perlan Mission II.” The words “space” and “glider” are not commonly used together.
In September 2017, the Perlan 2 sailplane accomplished a record-setting powerless flight to 52,000 feet over the Andes. “Later this year, the Airbus Perlan Mission II all-volunteer team will be attempting to soar the aircraft to over 90,000 feet to set a new world record for winged aircraft in sustained flight,” reported BRS.
“Perlan 2 has a drogue parachute to slow and stabilize the aircraft in case of high altitude emergency, and a ballistic BRS whole aircraft parachute system for lower altitude recovery and landing,” said Ed Warnock, CEO of The Perlan Project. “This gives chief pilot Jim Payne and pilot/project manager Morgan Sandercock, as well as our whole team of pilots and their families, additional peace of mind on these very high altitude missions.”
Since the 1980s, BRS reports delivering more than 35,000 airframe parachutes to LSA, experimentals, ultralights, unmanned vehicles, military aircraft, and general aviation aircraft. The company has documented 376 lives saved through the use of these systems.
Not to be left out by their European rival, this week Boeing HorizonX Ventures‘ dove more deeply into battery development as the aerospace giant announced this week its first investment in an energy storage company, Berkeley, California-based Cuberg.
Although batteries can power an ultralight today with reasonable success, a major stumbling block in the development of larger electric-propelled aircraft is battery technology, which is currently delayed by energy sources that weigh too much and produce too little power.
“Cuberg’s battery technology has some of the highest energy density we’ve seen in the marketplace, and its unique chemistries could prove to be a safe, stable solution for future electric air transportation,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president of Boeing HorizonX, which previously announced an investment in another startup, Zunum Aero, a company developing “hybrid to electric aircraft.”
After a busy week at Sebring — a show that exceeded my expectations …and probably also for several vendors who logged sales to kick off the year in a great way — I have a couple alternative messages for readers.
Those aircraft buyers at Sebring have a few weeks to wait before they get their shiny new LSA or kits but, as noted in three earlier posts, plenty of smiles were seen despite a bit more wind than many would have liked.
If you follow Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, or Instagram as many pilots do, you may have noticed we’ve been rather quiet on those platforms.
This website and Videoman Dave’s YouTube channel form our primary outlets and nothing changes that, especially now that ByDanJohnson.com has been made fully “responsive,” a tech industry term that means the BDJ2 web format now adapts readily to smartphones, tablets, TVs, or computers. Stats show that around two-thirds of you view our content on a small screen so we’re pleased to look pretty good whatever device you use. Use comments to offer any input you may have on that.
Recently, we added a line of social media icons below each article. Those of you active on any of those social media platforms can now easily share an article of interest with your flying friends.
We hope you’ll do that. We get plenty of good comments (and a few gripes) about what we do here and on YouTube and I want to say we are grateful for that feedback. Hearing good words motivates us to do more and criticisms help us further improve our product. Both are appreciated.
If you like what we do, please, share the words or video with your friends and help up reach further. You likely know the drill: simply click the social media of your choice, which opens a portal allowing you to use your membership on that platform to send your friends or followers our article or video.
The following video was made first just to show personal family and friends what I did on a pre-Christmas trip to China and Taiwan. It was modified when our travel sponsor, AeroJones Aviation, showed an interest in sharing this in their Asia-Pacific market and sphere of influence.
The final result proved fairly watchable, generating around 2,500 views so far.
Since others seemed to like it, I thought I’d share it here. It’s seven minutes long and compresses a week’s travel into a short window. I hope you might enjoy it.
The purpose was to try to assist sport and recreational aviation in China and I think we did some good. You may not care but the manufacturer of your favorite airplane probably does. As I’ve said before, a bigger market for the maker of your aircraft brand means they can be more stable financially and could generate more income to allow them to improve current models and design new aircraft.
That’s good for everyone!
The fourteenth running of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo is history and if this is how the rest of the year goes, I predict a stronger year for LSA sales. Vendors were smiling by the end of the show and a good many customers are now anticipating a shiny new aircraft in their hangar.
Based on my unscientific survey of vendors, I would estimate at least 15 aircraft sales and possibly more as I did not query every vendor. Of course, airshow promises don’t always materialize but regardless of the precise number, it was amply clear that Sebring — and similar focused-venue shows that confine themselves to LSA, light kits, and ultralight — still offer their magic in putting customers and sellers together.
Several vendors told airport executive Mike Willingham about having “pages” of solid leads. Even non-LSA exhibitors such as Cirrus reported to him that they found good prospects at the show. This reflects what I perceived as very good foot traffic on all days of the event.
While vendors form the information side of these views, the fact is that aviator buyers are still flocking to the many great choices in this segment of affordable aviation.
By another view, the push by AOPA and EAA for BasicMed appears to have hardly affected Light-Sport Aircraft interest. In fact, BasicMed may be helping. While new opportunities now exist for older pilots to keep flying their older GA airplanes, BasicMed (see earlier article with comments) has enough hoops to jump through that some are obviously electing to continue using their driver’s license paired with their existing pilot certificate to fly Light-Sport Aircraft.
Putting a finer point on it, I believe the reaction of many pilots demonstrates that a brand-new, affordable, high-tech, roomy, and well-performing LSA holds genuine appeal.
Sebring is the granddaddy of these LSA, light kit, and ultralight shows. It has spawned similar events like the Midwest LSA Expo and the DeLand Showcase plus it has inspired shows like Copperstate and Arlington to keep a focus on more affordable, recreational aircraft.
These new events are no challenge to the majors such as Sun ‘n Fun (starting in barely over two months) and AirVenture Oshkosh but they have clearly won a place in the airshow circuit. Some find it curious that three of the best shows for these events are in Florida but the state is obviously a national center for recreational flying.
Weather at Sebring was good this year although fairly windy on a couple of the days. However, plenty of flying still occurred and the gyroplanes in particular appeared to have no problem with the conditions. Even the Ford Trimotor * — one of two flying examples remaining — flew steadily, cancelling operations only on one afternoon.
The number of exhibitors at Sebring, the volume of attendees and the seriousness of these pilots about buying, plus the range of aircraft options — in both types and cost — is but one part of the success story that is Light-Sport and experimental amateur built aircraft. For more about the continuing success of the Sport Pilot/LSA concept FAA introduced almost 14 years ago, read this article.
As the last sentence suggests, the Sebring Expo owes some of its success to jumping in as LSA debuted on the aviation stage.
Mike Willingham reported that while Expo has not profited from the show itself the event has nonetheless been a success for the airport by putting it squarely on the aviation map and by helping to attract several new tenants including the large facility operated by leading LSA purveyor Tecnam. (Watch for our interview with Tecnam COO, Giovanni Pascale Langer in the weeks ahead.)
* For more about this fascinating corrugated metal aircraft from the 1920s, go here.
Day two of the year’s first show, Sebring was a bit cooler and windier but still a fine day as the photos show. I would guess crowds were as good or better than yesterday not even counting a large contingent of ROTC candidates visiting for the day.
Zenith continued to garner lots of attention for their supersized SuperDuty CH-750 variant. Larger wings (six feet more span) and tail feathers are mated to a common 750 fuselage (construction time for which has been reduced through higher tech). The SD is powered by an Aero Sport Power IO-375 producing 205 horsepower. The show example was a three seater that grosses at 1,900 pounds. An 1,100 pounds empty results in an 800 pound useful load. This is the model with the distinctive Unpanel™ instrument system that works like a swivel-mounted flat screen TV in your living room (but better because it’s in your airplane). Video will be coming…
Aeroprakt USA displayed an A22LS model, the Ukraine design featuring vast expanses of clear plastic that deliver massive visibility. The show model had tundra tires with rather unique “footwear” as its tricycle gear used surfaces closer to fenders than wheel pants. They won’t provide any drag reduction but will help keep mud or debris splatter off the wings and fuselage. The A-22 also had sliding windows useful for aerial photography.
AutoGyro USA is now a regular at airshows as the clear European market leader showed their line of models, including their very handsome Cavalon done in a brilliant blue. This model is rare in gyroplanes by offering two-place side-by-side seating. Despite the full enclosure, visibility is broad thanks to wide swaths of artfully curved clear plastic. The German company has evolved their designs while producing large numbers of units and it shows throughout the design. The company also displayed their open cockpit MTO Sport variation with the protective side rails.
It was fun to get caught up with John Williams of Titan Aircraft. After making more than 800 of his Tornado light kits in various configurations, his Ohio company has focused on his T-51 Mustang replica. Starting with a 100-horsepower Rotax 912 T-51 has evolved all the way up to 400-horsepower Corvette engine that produces 4,000 fpm climb rates yet manages to burn only 10-12 gallons an hour at cruise. Around 200 have been sold and more than 100 are flying. Video will be coming…
Indoor displays benefitted from those getting out of the wind. We shot a video interview with Duc Hélices propellers to learn about their super-easy prop pitch adjustment allowing you to fine tune the blades for specific performance. Using a special allen wrench in a single motion, changes in half-degree increments can be made by an owner while traveling; very slick. The French company plans a U.S. facility in the next year to better serve a growing customer base in America.
Beringer debuted a new wheel for aircraft doing bush duty using big-boy Alaska tires. As always the hardware is gorgeous from this best-in-class French company supported by a U.S. operation. A special brake unit fits the split hub wheel, which allows fitting of the tire without jamming a tire iron against the wheel edge. Airframe builders keen on the new wheel include Just Aircraft, CubCrafters, Rans, American Legend, and more.
Day two logs us half way through Sebring 2018 and the weather forecast continues good. If you’re in the state, come have a look.
For all who could not attend, our title forms a common question. On day one of the fourteenth running of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, even many onsite asked how the first day went; I’ll bet I heard the question a dozen times.
Short answer: A great start! The airport that hosts the annual event lucked out with a day of gorgeous weather, in the high 70s (25° C). Clear blue skies and modest breezes made for a beautiful beginning. They booked a full display of more than 100 vendors and plenty of shiny aircraft to examine.
Morning hours looked to have reasonably good attendance; the parking lot was on its way to a good fill at 8:30 AM. These shows rarely seem crowded — and that’s not a bad thing if you want to talk to an aircraft designer or take a demo flight — but at times various aircraft were surrounded by visitors. It looked pretty healthy.
Four vendors reported sales by mid-morning. Perhaps these buyers had already decided to act and just wanted one more look or to ask one more question but how is that different than any other show? (Do you really think any airline places a billion dollar order at the Paris Air Show because they finally saw what they liked? Of course not, purchases are planned in advance but they use the show to help the buy make the news.)
Some non-airframe equipment vendors reported a solid day to Mike Willingham, the airport director and man in charge of the 14-year-old event.
We saw a rare sighting of an Icon A5 on display with another on a lake doing demo flights. The California company has in several recent years limited its airshow appearance to a splashy big tent at Oshkosh. It was good to see the team from the factory’s flight school and operation in Tampa, Florida make a showing.
Scott Severen as US Sport Planes made his first appearance as the new man handling sales nationally for Jabiru, focused on their J230-D and J170-D models. Scott has played many important roles in light aviation and he’s a veteran choice to take over from Pete Krotje and his Shelbyville, Tennessee team as Pete slides gracefully into a well-deserved retirement, as he has planned for a couple years.
Aeropilot USA boss, Deon Lombard, reported a solid first year with six sales of the L600. He also added a dealer in the east while he handles the west from his California base. From what I could see, interest is growing for this handsome 80%-scale 182 lookalike done in composite.
Videoman Dave and I are charging around scooping up videos and knocked out seven or eight on Day One. Look for plenty of fresh video in the weeks ahead to follow Dave’s deluge of videos in advance of Sebring.
Tomorrow’s forecast: another fine day (or two or three) ahead, weatherwise with airplane noise first thing and all day! C’mon down if you can…
Along with many others, I’m sure, I’m presently en route from Daytona Beach to Sebring, Florida as the 2018 or 14th running of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo is about to begin. It opens tomorrow, January 24th. By the way, it’s 82 degrees today and the forecast looks reasonably good. C’mon down!
Fresh news is breaking about the first flights of the HKS 700E-powered Merlin PSA from Aeromarine LSA.
Reporting from Lakeland, Florida yesterday, Aeromarine LSA boss Chip Erwin observed, “[Merlin with HKS is] remarkable, the difference in the feel of the airplane.” Chip’s single seater is proving increasingly popular as he logs sales for his one-seater Merlin PSA (Personal Sport Aircraft).
Having flown a number of airplanes with the smooth-running, throaty-sounding, fuel-efficient HKS, I predict continued good fortune for Aeromarine LSA. So many pilots prefer a four-stroke to a two-stroke, that — right or wrong — I imagine the Japanese engine could accelerate sales.
I’ve also flown a lot of single seaters and readily admit my preference for them. Most airplanes, sport or GA, are flown solo much of the time and not buying that extra seat for occasional use can save many thousands of dollars. In the realm of affordable aviation — as this website promotes and serves — big savings are worthy. Flying a single seater also mean you only need please yourself.
Chip continued, “The crisp performance hasn’t changed [with the HKS versus the Rotax 582]. In fact, the early tests are showing near-identical takeoff and climb, but with higher cruise numbers, compared to the Merlin with the Rotax 582 two-stroke.” The Rotax engine outputs 65 horsepower while the HKS has 60. Two-stroke engines also spool up quicker than a four stroke. However, the HKS offers higher torque, useful during launch and climb out.
The four-stroke, horizontally-opposed, two-cylinder HKS and its gearbox “weighs a bit more” than the two-stroke option, Chip noted.
“We moved the battery aft, and the whole airplane gives up about twenty pounds of payload,” Chip said, “but the HKS burns less fuel so its flight time is longer at any given weight.” Another positive: HKS can run on avgas or premium mogas.
Two HKS-powered Merlins will be at Sebring, Aeromarine LSA reported.
“We will bring a Merlin from our build program that isn’t yet 100% completed,” said Chip. “That will give people a chance to see how easy it is to build their own Merlin.” The fully enclosed Merlin claims to be one of the quickest-build 51% kits available.
I went to observe a customer building his own Merlin to see how easy and quick it really was. I came away suitably impressed.
“So complete and builder-ready is the Quick Build Kit that most major assemblies and skins are already tacked into position for shipping (using colored soft rivets),” Chip explained, “requiring the builder to actually do some disassembly to bring it to the 51% stage.”
“There is no ‘Slow Build’ option,” deadpanned Erwin in his characteristic humor.
“Precision matched-hole technology means that the holes punched are not just pilot holes; the accuracy is so high that holes in the skins match the holes in the ribs and bulkheads at final size, so next to zero drilling is required,” Chip said. “This precision saves dozens if not hundreds of assembly time hours.” My own eyes proved to me that this precision matched-hole technology works as advertised.
The all-metal Merlin PSA is presently flying in several European countries and in the USA today powered with both the more economical Rotax 582 and the HKS powerplant.
Merlin PSA quick-build kits with the HKS are now being delivered in the USA with delivery positions available for delivery this spring, Aeromarine LSA reports; some slots remain for the Builders’ Center, as well.
The kit (without engine, instruments, and paint) has an introductory price of only $16,500. Depending on engine, BRS, and panel options, completed and painted aircraft cost from $35,000 to $50,000. That’s quite affordable by most budgets.
Two years ago, Flight Design was the number one producer of Light-Sport Aircraft in the USA backed by strong sales in other countries. The company’s CT series lead our rankings since the very beginning of LSA.
In 2016, Flight Design was passed by CubCrafters when the Germany company’s production line stalled during a government-mandated reorganization.
By late 2017 at the DeLand show and upcoming at 2018’s first airshow in Sebring, Florida, the company displays products, answers questions, takes new orders, talks to current and possible dealers …in other words acts like a company fully back in the game.
Through all this, Flight Design USA — the Germany manufacturer’s close associate and U.S. importer — was a steady hand on the tiller, keeping customers satisfied throughout North America. It’s good to see them return with vigor and our video below lets them tell their own story.
FD-USA’s Tom Peghiny helped to clarify the situation, saying, “Flight Design was acquired in July 2017 by LiftAir of Eisenach Germany. Mr. Sven Lindig, the owner of LiftAir owns and has founded a number of successful businesses in the Central and Southern areas of Germany. LiftAir now owns the Flight Design EASA Design Organization, the Flight Design aircraft production facility in Kherson Ukraine, and the design rights for all products produced by the company.
“Production of aircraft and parts which was maintained at a low rate for the last year and a half are now up to four aircraft a month and a healthy backlog of aircraft orders is building for 2018,” Tom said at the late 2017 DeLand show.
“We were very pleased to acquire the complete assets of Flight Design,” said Mr. Lindig, “and [we] are committed to keeping the company in its leading position in the design and manufacturing of advanced light aircraft.”
Some folks may have concerns. Tom addressed those squarely, “Delivery times for new orders are now quoted at three months from receipt of a 12% deposit to completion and test flown at the Kindel airport. All deposits are held in an escrow account and guaranteed by LiftAir’s parent company, Lift Holding. Final payment is only due after the aircraft is completed, final inspected and test flown.”
What is the company offering for 2018? Tom reported, “For 2018 Flight Design general aviation is offering the CTLSi GT which is a lightly upgraded version of the CTLSi Flight Design USA has been importing since 2012. The primary change is offering an upgraded Dynon avionics package including the Dynon 10-inch SkyView Touch HDX screens which are very bright and high definition for the EFIS and Map screens (left and right) and a 7-inch SkyView Touch HDX at the top of the center stack which is used alternately for EMS and autopilot control.”
Now you have basic info and if you are able to attend Sebring (or Sun ‘n Fun in April… or Aero in Europe later that same month) you can ask more detailed questions. Until then, hear directly from Flight Design’s leadership in this video.
This website was born in 2004 after a few years of laboriously uploading a large number of written pilot reports that had appeared in aviation print magazines over the years before. It was tougher to do then than it is now.
The project started in late 1999, barely four years after the World Wide Web was built on the Internet. Tools were crude then and it proved to be a multi-year project to convert from print to web. Today, such a task is vastly easier and we hope you are enjoying the refreshed ByDanJohnson.com that was launched in spring 2017.
In this new millennium of intense change, print has slowly but steadily yielded to online (aviation magazines have actually faired reasonably well, but print in forms such as newspapers has badly eroded). We got lucky as we were early and we established a solid presence for this website that today reaches most of the owners of the 66,000+ LSA or LSA-like aircraft sold around the world, with the majority of those aircraft delivered since 2000.
In that time, one big, huge, enormous change was video.
Think about this. In 1999, Google was hardly known; it formed in September 1998. Facebook started in February 2004 and YouTube went live a year later in February 2005. Apple’s iPhone ushered in the era of smartphones in fall 2007.
Today, video is everywhere and I’m proud we’ve kept up with the times — even having our own video library. When ByDanJohnson.com launched in April 2004, YouTube didn’t exist and neither did Light-Sport Aircraft. My, oh, my…!
In the video below, you can join me as I take you around and inside the L600 from Aeropilot in the Czech Republic, represented here in America by Aeropilot USA. In the next few days, I’ll give you a similar tour of the Evektor Harmony LSA and we’ll talk with folks from Flight Design to hear how that well-known producer is doing as 2018 begins.
These video pilot reports have largely replaced text-and-photo pilot reports although reporting in that form will continue as shorter articles here on the home page. Video pilot reports can provide actual views of an aircraft performing some of the evaluations I talk about in the narrative portion. In this way, a print article simply cannot compete with video. So, “lights, camera, action” — let the fun begin!
Also, please remember all the hyperlinks embedded in articles take you all over this website with its 1,500 or so pages packed to the edges with all kinds of info about Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit-built aircraft, and ultralight aircraft …our singular focus in aviation.
Aeropilot USA sells L600 starting below $100,000 at which price it makes a great value in a sleek yet familiar shape. You can check it out further if you attend Sebring 2018.
As the world appears to shift into overdrive about electric cars, planes, and drones, what is happening in this dynamic, unfolding sector in aviation?
Recent news from Pipistrel spoke to their continued development of their Alpha Electro. This Slovenian company has long pursued this and may be leading in commercialization but — as with electric autos — this remains a minuscule part of total sales. However, it attracts outsized attention from mainstream media, regulators, and others.
Recently, my friend and LAMA Europe associate, Jan Friedrich, alerted me to a new success story.
The Skyleader company is somewhat known in the USA although perhaps by their earlier name Kappa. The more correct name was and is Jihlavan Airplanes but Skyleader is a better marketing name.
Americans have seen examples of the company’s top-of-the-line Skyleader 600 — here’s our video review of the model — but sales have not taken off in this country. The company always mounts a large, handsome display at Aero Friedrichshafen …coming up in about three months, and we will report from Germany on news at that show. The size and cost of their display suggests they are doing at least reasonably well, so perhaps interest will grow in the USA.
Meanwhile, rather quietly, Skyleader made first flights on their pure electric (that is, not hybrid) light aircraft.
Based on their intermediate model, Skyleader 400, you can see for yourself — and hear for yourself — that the aircraft appeared to fly well.
About the regular, Rotax-powered model, Jihlavan/Skyleader said, “The SL400 a racy ‘sports car-inspired’ aircraft with new features such as side opening canopy, aggressive cowling and easily-maneuverable fixed gear. Having trapezoidal wings with 120 liters (about 32 gallons) of fuel endurance, available fuel injection and simple instrument panel, it appeals directly to sport aviation enthusiasts.”
I believe no doubt exists that the first successes of electric aircraft will be those that are lightest. Electric already works well in genuine Part 103 ultralights. Pioneer Randall Fishman and Mark Bierle have been flying with electric power for years. An article from eight years ago proves how long this has been true.
Electric LSA or LSA-like aircraft are already flying as this article further demonstrates. At present, they are limited in duration, but here’s what I always say, “Any major breakthrough in battery energy density — that is, batteries providing more range, more duration aloft — may start an avalanche of electric-powered aircraft. Exciting times are ahead!
Meanwhile, here is video evidence of the work by Jihlavan/Skyleader:
And here’s a little more detail about the electric propulsion components from last year’s Aero:
In December 2017, South Korea’s Vessel Co. won what was described as “safety certification” from the Transport Ministry for their new two-seat light aircraft called KLA-100. After gaining this approval, the company reported plans to start mass producing the light recreational aircraft.
Vessel’s side-by-side aircraft claims a maximum cruise speed of 245 kilometers per hour (133 knots; 10% faster than allowed by FAA in the U.S.) and a range of 1,400 kilometers (875 miles) over six hours with full fuel of 34 gallons.
KLA-100 is a modern design featuring majority carbon construction. As CTLS developer Flight Design was hired to help design the new aircraft, some readers may see similarities to the high wing model the Germany company produces.
Working with Flight Design, Vessel spent four years to develop the light aircraft. Pilots have carried out test flights over the last seven months and at the end of the year just concluded, their prototype was cleared for production.
It was reported that the South Korean company may employ this airframe as it pursues a drone project for “public services,” according to an unnamed Vessel official. The publicly-owned company is listed in the South Korean Kosdaq exchange and its stock rose 5.04 percent (to $6.67) on the news.
Then in the midst of its corporate reorganization, Flight Design showed the new low-wing at Aero Friedrichshafen 2017. First flights had been made only days earlier. Engineers from both companies coordinated to prepare KLA-100 for this public debut nine months ago.
A clean-sheet design, Flight Design announced KLA-100 was created as a Light Sport Aircraft for sale in countries that accept ASTM-compliant aircraft. Winning South Korean approval is the first step.
Vessel’s KLA-100 claims a new proprietary airfoil, “Stall-Safe” drooped leading edge, long-span slotted flaps, and blended winglets. The new aircraft is powered by the fuel-injected Rotax 912iS and has a Garmin G3X avionics suite plus a Stratos Magnum airframe parachute system integrated into the airframe.
KLA-100’s carbon-aramid composite cockpit safety cell helps to protect all occupants. The engine mount and carbon fuselage attach points reduce the possibility of engine intrusion into the occupant’s safety cell.
No announcement was made regarding U.S. approval (which would require modest changes to slow it slightly) or importation into America. For more details on this and other Flight Design products, contact Flight Design USA.
Amazingly, “Holy Batcopter!” was not one of the 368 different “Holy…” exclamations uttered by the Robin character in the 1960s TV series. The iconic Bell 47 chopper — without Robin or Batman — will make an appearance at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in just a couple weeks. The event runs January 24-27 this year.
“Relive the 1960’s era at Sebring’s Aviation Expo with a ride on the original N3079G Batcopter from the Batman TV series,” encouraged promoters of the 14-year-old event.
In 1996, pilot Eugene Nock bought the famous helicopter, which was used in the 1966 “Batman” movie and several TV shows.
“What we have is an icon in the aviation world as well as the collectable toy world,” Nock said. “It is a one-of-a-kind aircraft, absolutely internationally recognized.”
That’s why Nock — an airline transport pilot who has logged more than 14,000 hours — will be flying this vintage flying machine at the upcoming Sebring Expo. Nock hopes to inspire young people to find a future in either law enforcement, military, or becoming a pilot, said Sebring Expo’s PR agency.
A noon show featuring the Batcopter and Batmobile is scheduled for Friday, January 26 and Saturday, January 27.
Rides in the three-seat chopper can be purchased at the event with no need to reserve in advance. Cost: Adults $100; children & students (17 & under) $70.
Nock, who’s been a pilot since age 17, said his father was in the entertainment business and worked with Adam West (the original Batman) in the 1960s in California. Nock said he met West in the late ’60s.
The first appearance of the Batcopter was in the 1966 film Batman. Unlike the Batmobile, the Batcycle, and the Batboat, Batcopter was never intended for use in the 1960s Batman television series, which did not have the budget to create such elaborate vehicles. While the other vehicles were bought by 20th Century Fox, the Batcopter was only leased for the movie. It cost Fox $750 a day for five days from April 7 to April 11, 1966. Given the dollar’s precipitous decline since those times, that equates to more than $5,600 today.
The Batcopter was a functional helicopter provided by National Helicopter Service. It was based on the Bell 47, which was designed by Bell Helicopter Textron in 1941. The Batcopter was a G3B-1 model, which had previously been used in “Lassie Come Home” and “ABC News.”
To make the model look more like a superhero vehicle, it was fitted with canvas-covered tubular frames and was painted red. The head of a bat was painted in the front while the Batman symbol was painted on the side. The most dangerous design change was the wings, which reduced power by nearly 50%.
For the scenes at sea, the Batcopter was taped at Marineland of the Pacific in Palos Verdes, California. Most of the shots were relatively far away as the pilot was Harry Haus, not Adam West, the actor playing Batman. Hubie Kerns donned the Batman outfit to perform the stunts, namely climbing the rope ladder attached to the helicopter while kicking an exploding shark.
* Thanks to Wikipedia for all the BatInfo.
Here in Florida, home to ByDanJohnson.com, we take hurricanes very seriously. While you know they are coming, unlike a tornado, they are nonetheless incredibly powerful forms of destruction.
Hurricane Maria produced winds of 200 mph, enough that the weather gurus talked about creating a new category of storm called a Category 6; Cat-5 is presently the maximum. Whatever the label you apply to it, this was a major storm of almost incomprehensible proportions.
We got lucky here in the Daytona Beach area. Once a hurricane comes over land, it begins to lose power. By the time it reached us, it was still pretty scary but not remotely like what had been seen in south Florida or in the Caribbean.
As most of us have heard, Puerto Rico was massively hit, enduring those 200 mph winds (four times as potent as 100 mph winds, which are already mighty frightening).
In September 2017, Hurricane Maria entered Puerto Rico like a battering ram, sweeping through the southeastern coastal city of Humacao and into the island’s history as its worst natural disaster.
Via Facebook, I heard from a reader asking questions about an ADS-B solution from uAvionix. At the end of our exchange, I asked, “How are things in Puerto Rico? U.S. media has gone rather quiet after much reporting on how bad things were, post-hurricane. What’s the real situation?” As a fellow aviator, I knew I’d get good info and he supplied details and photos about what happened to the island’s sport flying community.
Rafael Cortés kindly answered my inquiry. His remarks follow with modest editing.
“About half the island is still without electricity, mostly in the rural east areas, and about 15% still have no running water. I am one of the lucky ones with both services.” Note that this is more than 100 days after the hurricane clobbered the island.
“Communications are up in most places,” Rafael added, “but we have very slow access to the Internet with a lot of fiber cuts that caused communications failures around the island. There are still some refugees because of lost homes and they are still awaiting on help from FEMA. A lot of people lost their roofs.
“However, most people seem motivated and are getting back to some normality, but many businesses are still closed — some permanently — so there’s a lot of people without jobs. It’s been tough for most people, but we’re hanging in there.”
Regarding sport flying on the island, Rafael added, “In the aviation area there were many, many losses. Sport aviation is almost non-existent now as about 90% of Light-Sport Aircraft and kit aircraft suffered damage that will be costly to repair (if repairs can even be done), and we don’t have any aviation insurance companies in Puerto Rico for non-commercial aviation.
“On the positive side, food, supplies, and fuel are back to normal for most of the island.”
Surprised by his comment about insurance, I inquired further, “Have aviation insurance companies departed Puerto Rico or were they never available? Do you know why not? How many aircraft were damaged”
“There has never been insurance for GA,” explained Rafael, “much less sport aviation in Puerto Rico, and U.S. companies cannot provide coverage because of a lack of local legislation allowing it.” I’ve heard about political leadership on the island being less than inspiring and this seems to reinforce that impression.
“There were at least 25 Light-Sport Aircraft damaged,” he reported, “out of about 30-35 that were flying prior to the hurricane, plus the GA airplanes that I have no account of.”
Thanks for the report, Rafael. I hope sport flying can eventually return to normal on this island that many tourists have viewed as a “paradise.” It is sad to see this level of destruction. I hesitate to report such misery but I’m sure mainstream media outlets will never cover this segment and I felt it was important.
Pictures were taken by Arland Miller, and Jose Amid Torres, and were publicly shared on Facebook. Thanks to all and best of luck, fellow pilots!
When I first saw this news story I thought it was one we reported earlier involving a similar aircraft and parachute. However, what grabbed my attention was the clarity of the still photo seen nearby.
It was, and it was not the earlier story. Let me explain…
The deployment event recently reported is not new even if that’s how the mainstream media portrayed it. Many months ago, a test flight got into an uncontrolled flight situation — a “normal” occurrence, that being what test flights are intended to discover. A successful parachute deployment followed. However, this provides an opportunity to learn more about airframe parachutes.
I know something of this because for 18 years, I worked closely with BRS Parachutes of South St. Paul, Minnesota. An airframe parachute system makes a compelling story that media reporters loved. At one time, BRS and its whole-airplane parachute systems were featured on seven (yes, 7!) different TV documentaries at about the same time. Since I was the media specialist, I was busy with one TV crew after another. Print loved us, too. The World Wide Web was barely in development at this time.
While I loved helping to spread the word, what I always lacked was good photos or video. Almost no one is ready for such an event. Rarely were any photos available, other than an airplane on the ground with a parachute laid out nearby. When airborne view were captured, they were usually poor, blurry images. Video was even more precious. (For more info, see several BRS-related articles here.)
This deployment can be viewed through a video from inside the cockpit. It’s fairly poor but does show a pilot trying other solutions but when unable to regain control, he deploys the parachute. If you check BRS’ Facebook page, you can watch this video that went viral, earning more than 750,000 views, 900+ comments, and 6,300+ shares. This video is not related to the still photos seen with this article.
However, the photo capture is one of the best I’ve seen so it provides a teachable moment about parachute technology, specifically, the “slider” ring. This modest innovation is strikingly simple and effective. In short, it keeps the main life-saving canopy from rupturing if deployment happens at high speed. The slider only functions when airflow is high.
This is a good time to advise, “Please fly safely and work to avoid situations where a parachute is your only option. If you cannot, I hope you had the foresight to add a parachute.” I believe in them. I hope you do or will, too. We don’t want to lose any of you to preventable accidents.
Here are some portions of the article, which relates, “At the start of the clip the pilot is seen trying to steady the plane as it rapidly descends while spinning around.” Remember, this is a test pilot exploring the flight qualities and performance parameters of a Light-Sport Aircraft, which I agreed not to name (but it was obvious to me that this was not the aircraft in the still picture Daily Mail used).
“The dizzying video shows the aircraft spinning faster and faster as the scenery speeds past. The pilot … was forced to deploy the safety measure during a spin recovery test.
“He escaped uninjured and the aircraft was fixed and ready to fly the following day.”
Daily Mail goes on to report [BRS] company founder Boris Popov as saying about the clip, “The pilot wants to remain anonymous as well as the location but we can say it was filmed in Asia and the plane was flying the next day.”
I know a little more but the actual airplane or incident is less the story than the success of the parachute product. These devices have saved many lives — BRS alone has logged nearly 400 “saves” and other companies like Magnum add to the number. I hope you will consider such a system for your aircraft. If you elect not to, then, please fly as safely as you can.
Happy New Year, everyone! I wish you many happy hours aloft in 2018 and I hope you never have to see your parachute.