Keep watching for new videos and articles following AirVenture Oshkosh 2018.
Next up: Midwest LSA Expo September 6-7-8, 2018.
Thanks for your visit and we truly appreciate those of you who have become members!
Keep watching for new videos and articles following AirVenture Oshkosh 2018.
Next up: Midwest LSA Expo September 6-7-8, 2018.
Thanks for your visit and we truly appreciate those of you who have become members!
Things are looking up for Light-Sport Aircraft, rather fantastically so in my admittedly biased opinion.
While this space is usually dedicated to cool new airplanes — not boring government policy reviews …yawn! — this article will provide some rays of light to an industry approaching its 15th birthday (in September 2019). I think some of this may surprise you.
LAMA, the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (kind of a GAMA for the light aircraft sector) and its partner — USUA, the U.S. Ultralight Association — have been heads-down working on improving the opportunities for LSA.
In June 2018, a series of many meetings that began in 2014 came to an early but very promising point. Here is what I think this means for the Light-Sport Aircraft manufacturing industry and those who own and operate LSA.
LAMA took a long list of suggestions about the then-10-year-old industry and reduced it to four initiatives. We were wisely counseled that too long a list would go nowhere. On the tightest of budgets*, we have been pursuing these objectives for four and a half years. The four core goals are:
After many meetings with high-level FAA executives and project managers, we are pleased to report that ALL these objectives and one more — increasing the gross weight of LSA — are included in FAA’s present actions regarding rule making. Note that gross weight will probably be determined by a new system other than a fixed-weight number but the exact formula is pending while FAA finalizes their regulation plans.
To repeat, ALL these objectives are on FAA’s list for inclusion in eventual rule making.
“Eventual” is a key word, however…
Work Far from Done
In 2018, neither aircraft manufacturers nor pilots can take advantage of these new opportunities. While the future appears to hold great promise, LAMA and USUA have sought a faster solution. The changes sought should broaden the appeal of LSA leading to not only more sales but a higher value for the aircraft you buy.
We are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish on the skinniest of budgets but we did not fly solo.
We also sought, and received, support for our initiatives from big organizations such as EAA, AOPA, and GAMA. While these giants of aviation first serve their own members, LAMA is 100% focused on light aircraft.
Rulemaking will consume at least three years and it could be even longer before such rules go into force, assuming no changes of present course.
Three to five years is a long time to wait for change for an industry not even 15 years old.
So, following a direct request from top FAA executives, we submitted a comprehensive business case for a program that we hope will much sooner allow manufacturers, dealers, owners, operators, and pilots to exercise the core-four-plus-one privileges.
The program we proposed is an evaluation and data-gathering period which will give FAA precisely what managers and executives say they need (“more data”) in order to get approval to change current regulations.
LAMA’s plan will help industry and pilots but it will also help FAA.
Allowing industry and pilots to gain new opportunities under controlled circumstances can give everyone privileges in the near(er) term while generating valuable data for FAA to use in justifying regulation change.
LAMA and USUA are pleased to supply such a great outlook but caution that it took more than four years of hard work to get to this point and, as a much-revered author once wrote, “Anything can happen. Nothing has to happen.” Nonetheless, we pledge to keep moving forward toward these goals.
* A very big thank you must go to those helping LAMA and USUA pursue these goals. Multiple trips to Washington DC cost real money and we are grateful for the help from… LAMA founder Larry Burke, Rotax Aircraft Engines in Austria and their U.S. distributor. Each supplied generous funds used solely for travel expenses. Other companies also financially assisted this on-going effort.
One aircraft at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh really caught my eye. OK, truth be told, dozens of aircraft caught my eye but this shiny example seemed to be looking back at me.
We simply had to do a video interview with the developer of the 1930s-era Ryan ST because of its fascinating history and its handsome good looks. If you love vintage aviation, this should grab your attention as it did mine.
Nick Pfannenstiel is a young developer with a mission, to create or, more accurately, re-create the Ryan ST. He began the design phase of his 95% scale Ryan ST in June 2015 and construction began in early 2016. By 2018, you see the aircraft is nearly finished form.
Ryan’s ST featured two open cockpits in tandem seating with a semi-monocoque metal fuselage. A main steel ring forms the backbone of the Ryan ST replica but most of the fuselage uses aluminium alloy
The project is not merely a personal fascination for Nick. He will be selling a builder’s kit and specifically chose the 95% scale to make it enough lighter to use modern engines. Nick explains this further in the video. He expects first flight fairly early in 2019.
He plans to offer motor mounts for either D-Motor LF-39 or Rotax 912. Availability of the engine mount will be determined in spring of next year by which time we may know more about the European D-Motor that has attracted attention for its simplicity. Meanwhile, the Rotax is a solid choice, as all readers know.
EAA wrote about Nick’s first appearance at Oshkosh 2017. “The Ryan has always been one of the most beautiful airplanes ever made, and a lot of people … want one but can’t afford one,” Nick told EAA. “[For an original example], you’re looking at anywhere from $150,000 to half a million dollars.”
Thanks to Nick’s effort, you won’t have to spend nearly that much; he has established a price for his kit: $31,890, not including considerable effort to polish the aluminum as you see in the nearby photos. A quick-build option for $3,000 will likely be popular.
“We estimate that if a builder really splurges on the kit, he or she should be able to get in the air for less than $75,000,” Nick estimated. Build time will exceed 1,000 hours but this is modern, CAD-designed kit.
Nick and his Timber Tiger Aircraft company are located in Brighton, Colorado. Contact him via email or phone: 303-725-5439.
T. Claude Ryan was the founder of the Ryan Aeronautical Company. You know this man even if you may not recognize the name. Another of his companies, Ryan Airlines, was the manufacturer of the Ryan NYP, more famously known as the Spirit of St. Louis.
The first Ryan ST flew for the first time on June 8th, 1934 and production began the following year, when nine aircraft were delivered. Production rates remained low — about one aircraft every two weeks — but this changed in 1940 when deliveries to military forces began in earnest to support the war effort. Total production of civil and military aircraft before WWII numbered 315. Another 1,253 military versions were produced in ’42-’43 totaling 1,568 aircraft of all models.
Hear Nick describe his creation in this video.
The LSA seaplane sector is one of the most intriguing areas of the diverse Light-Sport space. Development has introduced many fresh ideas to this class of airplane.
At present a few companies are actively delivering airplanes that have proven themselves over several years of operation. One of those is SeaMax, formerly delivered by a company known by its Portuguese name, Airmax Construções Aeronauticas.
Now, welcome the simpler SeaMax Aircraft.
The manufacturer of the SeaMax M-22 announced a company rebranding last week. As part of its strategy to enter into the U.S. market, the company changed its logo and named the company after its prominent aircraft model.
“Our new brand, SeaMax Aircraft LTDA, captures the identity of a legendary and globally known aircraft and incorporates [the model] into the spirit of our company, consolidating market recognition,” said Shalom Confessor, Executive Director of the company headquarters in the United States.
The company now known as SeaMax Aircraft reports manufacturing 152 of its amphibious aircraft. SeaMax M-22, a design by Miguel Rosario, has been delivered to more than 20 countries. In the last year the company established a presence in the U.S. market.
Manufacturing continues at its factory in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil but the company now has facilities in Daytona Beach, Florida. SeaMax Aircraft is located on the campus of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, which opened an incubator to encourage innovative companies that can also offer real-world experience to its student population.
“We have issued certification to some maintenance centers in the U.S. to provide technical assistance for our customers,” reported Shalom. “Last month the company delivered and registered with FAA serial number 152, the first one under the new manufacturer’s name.
Naturally I want to include Searey and Aventura in identifying brands that are well established with long histories. Progressive Aerodyne, manufacturer of the segment-leading Searey went through an ownership change (quite seamlessly, it appears) a bit more than a year ago. Aero Adventure‘s Aventura series has been re-engineered (using CAD) and may have big news in the future. They have an equally long history to Searey. Both are based in central Florida.
With the name rebranding, SeaMax Aircraft also announced Dr. Gilberto Trivelato as the new Chief Executive Officer. Trivelato has been instrumental in the company transition as its strategic administrator and the name behind the current successful SeaMax restructuring.
Gilberto, 56, is a prominent and well known Brazilian engineer, holder of a PhD in Space Technology and has expertise in systems engineering, management systems, and risk management. He’s been in executive positions in both civil and defense industries in his country, including 18 years at high-level positions at Embraer. He has also work at Mectron (avionics sensors for defense), and held a graduate-level professorship at National Institute of Space Research (INPE).
“Dr. Trivelato’s experience in the airspace industry and complex systems, adds credibility and knowledge to our company to face all the necessary changes, in order to implement new projects we have kept in our secret safe and to take our company into the next level,” stated Miguel Rosario, the company’s founder, lead designer, and current COO.
SeaMax Aircraft describes M-22 as a high-performance Light-Sport Aircraft with global sales. Manufactured in Brazil for more than 17 years it has sold more than 150 units to more than 20 countries.
Seamax won aeronautical awards, such as the prestigious “Outstanding Commercial SLSA” at Sun ‘n Fun in the United States and the Schneider Cup in Italy. It has been featured in more than 40 specialized magazines around the world.
Seamax pioneered as one of the early Light-Sport amphibious aircraft to win FAA acceptance in the category — it appears in the #63 spot on our popular SLSA List. “Made of composite materials, Seamax uniqueness relies upon its ability to remain light, granting exceptional performance, large range, and one of the highest useful loads in the category,” wrote SeaMax Aircraft.
See much more about SeaMax on this page.
UPDATE: Video on Ranger at bottom…
Often at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh we see improved models among vast displays of showplanes. What we see less of are brand new offerings. Yet given the sheer number of aircraft, something brand new can surprise.
You probably already know about Vashon Aircraft’s Ranger (we reported it here) but attendees saw it for the first time at the big summer airshow.
We shot video with Vashon marketing maven Amy Bellesheim and owner John Torode at the event and you’ll learn more about Ranger from this duo when editing is completed. We recorded our usual large batch of fresh video; please be patient during the editing phase and check Ultralight News YouTube channel to see the latest.
Amy reported, “We were overwhelmed with positive feedback” at Oshkosh. “We are up to 57 deposit holders,” she beamed.
That’s quite admirable for a fresh-out-of-the-gate design entering a marketplace with more than 140 Special Light-Sport Aircraft appearing on our popular list.
Following the event, the west coast producer kept up their pace, putting N133VR in the hands of a private owner.
“Our first Ranger was delivered the Monday after Oshkosh and flown to its new home in Kansas,” reported Amy, one of four pilots moving a small fleet of Rangers to the show and back home to their base in Woodinville, Washington state.
“Our team has been extremely busy since we’ve been back from Oshkosh,” added Amy. “Traveling to the show in four of our Ranger R7s was an awesome experience and we had an easy arrival into Wittman Airport Saturday morning.” Arriving two days before the show began proved wise when heavy arrival traffic delayed many inbound aircraft as the show was starting.
“We flew from Everett, Washington (KPAE) to [Wittman Field], stopping at several airports along the way,” Amy continued. She said “the public release of our aircraft at Oshkosh had been in the plans for years. To have the chance to show off our airplanes was indescribable.”
Now that the staff is back home, Amy finished, “We have our work cut out for us … [as we] continue building and delivering these amazing airplanes!”
Even more recently, another Vashon LSA was delivered. “We delivered our second Ranger to a local flight school right at our home airport at Paine Field,” boasted Amy! Northway Aviation is the new operator.
One criticism that has been observed is an empty weight that limits payload compared to other LSA.
Fortunately for Vashon and other manufacturers, FAA is now actively working on regulation change that could lead to a higher gross weight for Light-Sport Aircraft …but that’s a topic for another article.
Amy and John review Ranger details in the video below, shot at Oshkosh 2018.
For your enjoyment, here is arguably the most unique airplane I found on the grounds of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 …and with around 3,000 show planes, that is truly saying something.
This aircraft is made almost entirely of foam sheets that you can buy at Home Depot or Lowe’s. It uses two electric motors for thrust. The aircraft is a biplane taildragger. Batteries provide the fuel.
Plus, yes, it actually flies! Catch some of the action in two videos below.
This unusual arrangement was prepared for EAA’s tough judges. However it fared in that evaluation, this clearly wins an award in my mind for being highly original, unique, super affordable, and OK… it is rather delightfully weird, not that that I see anything wrong with that.
What you are seeing in the nearby photos and videos below is Peter Sripol‘s man-carrying scratch-built aircraft project.
Peter is a longtime modeler and homebuilder with a popular YouTube channel that boasts more than 650,000 subscribers! He brought his foam homebuilt ultralight project to Oshkosh 2018 and we found it in the ultralight area, now rebadged as the “Fun Fly Zone.”
EAA reported, “Peter’s first project was inspired by a visit to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017, and he’s applying lessons learned from that ultralight, which featured wings built with foam board insulation, to his newest model.”
The unorthodox ultralight — I cannot recall ever seeing a biplane twin engine aircraft …certainly not with electric motors — was built from foam board insulation, fiberglass, wood, and some pieces of aluminum. He is so frugal that some of his controls are contained in cardboard boxes. The aircraft weighs around 215 pounds, well under the Part 103 limit of 254 pounds. Part 103 ultralight vehicles can use two or more engines/motors.
The fuel source is a series of nine batteries driving dual model-airplane engines. Peter built a first ultralight that EAA reported “was minimally planned, in contrast to [this] design, which [he] took time to design in CAD.” The first video explains why the motors have the wood constructions holding them along with other design considerations. The second video, Peter’s, shows some of the other building effort.
Think what you will of this project but I admire his skill, tenacity, originality, and his… well, “go for it” attitude.
We interviewed Peter at AirVenture Oshkosh 2018. See that below but stay tuned for more…
Next you can enjoy Peter’s video about building the project. It’s cleverly done just like his unique aircraft:
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 is now history. You will be reading and seeing lots more about the big summer celebration of flight — it appeared very strong to most observers — and you will see lots more from OSH ’18 here and on Videoman Dave’s popular YouTube channel.
As most readers know, Oshkosh is a massive event, by many measures the largest gathering of true aviation believers in the known universe. However, being big isn’t everything.
Indeed, some recreational flying enthusiasts will soon begin a trek to Mt. Vernon Illinois for the Midwest LSA Expo, a far smaller event that has proven adept at linking willing buyers with ready sellers. (It’s also our very best event to capture Video Pilot Reports, so watch for news about that in about a month.)
Let me tell you about a specific brand fly-in, for the CTLS produced in China. While small compared to big American events, this was a healthy start. If aviation is to grow in Asia-Pacific, I think events like that hosted by manufacturer AeroJones are key. More of them is needed but here is a worthy start.
In May 2018, AeroJones Aviation hosted a first-time event at their training facility in the south of Taiwan, called Pingtong Saijiain Airport. AeroJones Aviation is the manufacturer of the sophisticated light aircraft called CTLS. The aircraft factory is located in Xiamen, China.
“As promised, AeroJones Aviation conducted CT Club, the first flying club reunion in Taiwan on May 19th, 2018,” said company spokesperson Jenny Chang.
China and other countries have very well developed airline and military aviation but flying for fun is a relatively new activity. As the photos illustrate, the first-time function was well attended.
“Around 40 participants came for the whole day event,” reported Chang. “The group included CTLS pilots, CTLS owners, and those who have intentions to become pilots.”
AeroJones Aviation operates a flying field, flight school, and maintenance center in the south of Taiwan. The operation is described by foreign visitors as a prototype for what may become many such facilities across China as that nation prepares to build hundreds of brand-new airports. The new airports will allow Chinese citizens to see and experience light aviation. Few Chinese people have ever seen aircraft such as AeroJones’ CTLS and almost none have flown in one.
Events like the one AeroJones hosted may be critically important to introduce literally billions of people in the Asian-Pacific region to the idea of flying for fun.
“We were pleased with this first event and the number of people who came to help launch this new idea,” observed Mr. Hsieh Chi-Tai, General Aviation Development Vice President for AeroJones. “Even CT owners that could not fly their aircraft to Pingtong still showed their enthusiasm of flying.” He believes this type of activity will grow as AeroJones Aviation is able to replicate their flight school and pilots club across China in the years ahead.
AeroJones acquired the rights to manufacture the German CTLS aircraft design. The company has since secured approval from the government to build and sell these LSA. China is predicted to become a major market for Light-Sport Aircraft.
In addition to China and Taiwan, AeroJones Aviation is able to ship fully manufactured CTLS aircraft to other Asia-Pacific countries including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Korea, and Thailand.
Many aviation experts believe China could see rapid growth for aircraft of this type given plans from the central government in China to build hundreds of new airports during the next few years. The Air Sports Federation of China is also planning hundreds of “flying camps” where citizens can learn more about and experience aviation. ASFC personnel attended Oshkosh 2018 and met with groups to learn more about how to pursue their plans.
The Xiamen, China base of AeroJones Aviation includes a manufacturing facility with full fabrication capability. More than 50 highly-trained workers build nearly every part of the airplane in Xiamen. As China may nurture entry level aviation, AeroJones appears destined to be apart of it.
You have more privileges than you may know with your Light-Sport Aircraft.
One of the more misunderstood aspects of FAA’s sweeping 2004 Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft regulation is ELSA or Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft.
Some people call these “kit” LSA. While they can be sold that way, no percentage applies so a manufacturer could call an ELSA a kit by merely having the buyer apply a single decal.
To gain its Special Airworthiness certificate, an ELSA must first be a bolt-for-bolt copy of the manufacturer’s Special or fully-built version of LSA. However, once certificated, the owner can begin to make changes on his or her own. They can also become qualified to do all manner of maintenance themselves, assuming they so desire. An Airframe and Powerplant mechanic (A&P) or Light-Sport Repairman – Mechanic (LSR-M) can also work on ELSA as they can SLSA.
Once certificated and in his possession the owner can change to ELSA status allowing him or her to do almost anything …change avionics or even swap engines. This also means they can add floats to their ELSA and that’s the subject of this article.
Before we talk about Aerotrek on floats, let’s clarify that an ELSA can also be returned to Special LSA status assuming it is either restored to originally certificated* status or if the changes made are endorsed in writing by the airframe manufacturer. A SLSA can be used for paid flight instruction, can be rented, and can perform towing; an ELSA cannot, therefore an owner may wish to return to SLSA status before selling to increase the aircraft’s utility and possibly its selling price.
For much more detail on SLSA and ELSA directly from FAA, click on this link to view or download their PDF file.
“I do not sell Aerotrek 220s or 240s on floats,” said Rob Rollison of Aerotrek when interviewed at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018. He refers to the taildragger or tricycle gear versions of the design.
“I deliver on wheels but for $300, an owner can add the float option, which provides mounting brackets attached to specially-reinforced fuselage points.”
Adding floats is then a matter of taking the newly certificated Aerotrek to a qualified installer who can work out the hardware and bracketry to mount straight (no wheels) or amphibious floats. Most sellers know of a few businesses who specialize in such work.
A proper installer does more than supply the hardware and perform the installation. They also do critical measurements and calculations to establish the correct angle of incidence. On floats you cannot rotate for takeoff as you do on a landplane so whomever does this install needs to evaluate each aircraft based on its weight and balance in order to assure the right mounting position.
This specialized skill is one obvious reason why Rollison does not sell on floats and why you must shift to ELSA status after taking delivery of your Aerotrek. To learn more about Aerotrek aircraft through many articles and videos, please visit their dedicated page here.
* “Certificated” implies the earning of an Airworthiness Certificate. It does not mean “certified.” Light-Sport Aircraft are technically not certified by FAA; they are “accepted” after the manufacturer has demonstrated full compliance to ASTM standards.
Maybe you never flew a floatplane or seaplane (the latter implying a hull). If that’s true you are missing one of the singular pleasures of flying. Landing on water is almost unreal. It seems unlikely but when you find yourself about to touchdown on a lake, you know you have arrived in a way few people in history have ever considered much less achieved.
Alas, the cost of having that dream become reality is substantial. A general aviation floatplane easily runs half a million dollars new, probably much more. Even used, a floatplane is a very costly purchase. Because of their scarcity, a seaplane (with a hull) will cost you even more. Even the most modestly-priced LSA on floats can be a rather expensive proposition.
Along comes Part 103 to save the day. While Light-Sport are affordable compared to, say, a new Cessna 172 on amphibious floats, nothing can compare with Part 103 ultralight vehicles on wheels or floats. In the genuinely affordable space your optimal choice is an ultralight.
You can own a Part 103 ultralight vehicle (not “aircraft”) — on floats — for around $30,000. At the price of the average new car, this is a extraordinary value. Is it a fantasy I’m having? No! Here is some reality.
In the nearby images you see a customer’s Kolb Aircraft Firefly on Puddle Jumper floats. It could cost as little as $25,000 on straight or non-ampibious floats. Land and water options plus added equipment will increase that number but compared to any new seaplane anywhere, Firefly on floats represents a spectacular bargain. For a well performing fixed wing with a wonderful brand name, FireFly on Puddle Jumper floats makes a great choice. (Add too many options and not only your price goes up but your aircraft may no longer fit in Part 1o3, should the freedom of FAA’s simplest regulation be important to you.)
If you must have two seats, FireFly loses out, being designed expressly to be a single seater. Nonetheless, if budget is a primary driver for your airplane purchase, as it is for most people, the FireFly on floats looks to be a highly attractive option.
Kolb’s Firefly (video) flies wonderfully well. It fulfills the Kolb brand — begun by an industry pioneer named Homer Kolb, since deceased — by offering superb handling and great performance in one of the easiest-to-fly taildraggers offered to pilots.
If you think I’m being too kind to Kolb, you probably haven’t flown one. Homer’s achievement is like that of Dick van Grunsven, creator of the RV series of Kitplanes, the world’s most popular kit-built airplane series of of all time. Van’s has sold more but Kolb has a record of which it can be very proud.
At an affordable price for a great flying aircraft with a wonderful history, you can hardly get more enjoyment per dollar invested than Kolb Firefly on floats.
If you wish to read the full, unedited text of FAA’s guidance to field offices regarding Part 103, click this link for a PDF version of FAA’s official word on float weight (and parachute weight, and more).
Click this link for Kolb’s factory information about FireFly.
Watch for our video interview with Kolb boss Brian Melbourne as soon as editing can be completed. (Please be patient: we’re still at Oshkosh and the editing effort runs two days to a week per video; we will likely record well over 30 new videos in the week of AirVenture 2018.)
A new-to-Americans Light-Sport Aircraft made its debut showing at AirVenture 2018. Here is the Magnus Aircraft Fusion 212.
It appears another SLSA snuck by my penetrating radar for such achievements. U.S. chief pilot Charlie Snyder told me that the first Fusion earned its Special Airworthinews certificate back in September 2017 thereby joining our SLSA List at number 146.
Magnus hails from Hungary, home to more aircraft manufacturers than you may be aware, including such as ApolloFox fixed wing and Apollo weight shift trikes.
American representation for Magnus Aircraft USA is handled by Snyder and Magnus president Istvan Foldesi. We recorded a video interview with both men at AirVenture 2018. Both live in the USA while the company CEO Laszlo Boros runs the Hungary operation in a new manufacturing plant near Pecs-Pogany Airport.
Snyder and Foldesi exhibited their brightly painted low wing that uses mostly carbon fiber construction and a dual taper wing. Full dual controls are available at both seats. Toe brakes on each side guide a castoring nose wheel via differential braking. Rudder pedals are adjustable to accommodate pilot height differences. Leather upholstery is used throughout and cabin heat is provided.
Standard avionics equipment includes a single 10-inch Dynon SkyView screen back up with 2-1/4-inch analog instruments for airspeed, altimeter, and compass. Dynon also provides a 25-kilohertz VHF radio.
“This low-wing monoplane [has a] symmetrical wing profile that provides it with superb aerobatic capabilities,” said Magnus Aircraft. However, the company advised, “While the aircraft has aerobatic capabilities … as a Normal Category SLSA aircraft, Fusion 212 is presently limited to a maximum of 60 degrees of bank and a maximum pitch up or down of 30 degrees when operating in the United States.”
“Fusion 212 is available for special order with 3-5 months of manufacturing lead time. Snyder also said purchase is available from U.S. inventory. A base model Fusion is currently priced from $139,900. Magnus Aircraft, Inc., is licensed by the Hungary-based manufacturer to sell to the American market.”
All specifications provided by Magnus Aircraft
CGS Hawk is one of our most storied brands of ultralight and light aircraft. Built in one and two seat varieties in several variations for 35 years, more than 2,000 are flying. Hawk has proven a significant contributor to the light aircraft fleet. Lots of owners I’ve spoken to simply love their Hawk.
After many years of production by the company named after its founder Chuck Slusarczyk — the “C” in CGS — the well known brand is now on its third …and fourth, owners. It’s all good, though. Let me explain.
Current brand owner is Terry Short (article). He will remain key to the manufacture of these aircraft but in fall 2017, he struck an agreement with a new group.
At AirVenture 2018 I met and interviewed Bob Santom and his son, LB. Another son is also involved making the enterprise a family affair. Preparing for our video recording, I learned about their plans.
The Santoms will take over production and sales of the single place Hawk models including the Part 103 model and the Ultra, a somewhat beefier model that is built as an Experimental Amateur Built (EAB). My discussion with Bob and LB was encouraging. I was impressed to hear the enthusiasm from father and son for keeping this series of Hawks available.
This is great news for Hawk fans. The two place models Terry Short and son have been assembling look great and will continue. This includes the FAA-accepted LSA model powered by the Rotax 912. Terry is busy enough that the single place models were lower on his to-do list so in stepped the Santoms who will assure the single place models get extra attention.
“We’re located on an airport community about 60 miles from Terry’s Lake Wales Airport location,” said Bob.
This will make it easy on both enterprises as the Santoms will lean on Terry’s fabrication abilities as they use many parts that are interchangeable between the single and two-seat models of Hawk.
“We talked to many Hawk enthusiasts at recent shows and we were pleased to hear of genuine interest in the single place models,” Bob added.
As you can see by the bare bones Hawk they exhibited, the new operation is just getting underway so a new website is not yet available but you can can email for more info.
On my first day on Wittman Field here in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, we took the privilege to drive around the grounds and capture video scenes as hundreds of exhibitors arrive and set up their displays.
Despite attending a great many over the years, these events have always amazed me and they still do. With less than a day remaining to set up, it appears a hopeless amount of work remains. Nonetheless, at show after show, by opening gate the place looks quite ready, the crowds flood in, and exhibitors smile as they show off their wares.
We will have lots more to report and will capture many videos for you, but here’s a little five-minute glimpse of what it looks like as the show unfolds before our eyes.
To those who have attended, the scenes may refresh memories. To those that have never been, here’s what you’re missing and why you might want to plan for this in the future.
Technology company TQ Group established a reputation for high quality engineering and precision products. The German enterprise will debut two of their general aviation products for the AirVenture attendees at the end of July 2018.
One is an ADS-B transponder in the final stages of certification and the other is a VHF Transceiver that boasts a strong following in Europe.
You may already know the name Dittel. Walter Dittel has been a respected manufacturer of small, high quality, low current drain aviation radios and accessories.
With the acquisition of leading European avionics manufacturer Dittel in 2016 TQ was able to expand its core capabilities and expertise, while substantially enhancing its R&D resources. Through its business unit TQ-Aviation, the company has been serving the aviation sector for more than 15 years, delivering advanced electronic products to well-known aircraft manufacturers and airlines. TQ-Group now employs nearly 1,600 employees at 14 locations throughout Germany, Switzerland, China and the United States.
“We are the first … company that was examined and certified by the German Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (LBA, Germany’s federal aviation office) with both Design Organization Approval (DOA) and Production Organization Approval (POA),” reported Patrick Schrot, General Manager of TQ-Aviation. “We are also currently working on Maintenance Organization Approval (MOA) as well.”
Why are such approvals valuable to customers and the companies who build the airplanes those pilots love? “TQ’s combination of significant certificates and decade-long experience in the industry will increase the speed-to-market as manufacturers do not have to recertify or reapprove the solutions.” clarified Schrot.
At its debut in the U.S. aviation market, TQ-Aviation will promote two Dittel-derived devices of interest to a wide variety of pilots. The company recently opened a branch office in Chesapeake, Virginia to serve the American market.
KTX2 is a new Mode S transponder that meets the ETSO/TSO requirements and is expected to be certified according to EASA standards by the end of 2018. The unit is very light and has low power consumption. It can be installed in either a 6-1⁄4 inch radio stack opening or in a 2-1⁄4 inch round panel hole, perhaps optimal for LSA and light kits with limited panel space. KTX2 has a bright digital display that is easy to read even in bright sunlight. TQ developed the product to give aircraft owners a reasonably-priced option for meeting the 2020 ADS-B mandate.
TQ Aviation uses 1090ES technology, based on modern Mode S transponders, in their KTX2. Installation of this technology simply requires connecting the KTX2 to an existing antenna and adding an appropriate WAAS GPS source.
The KRT2 VHF transceiver has already been installed in over 10,000 aircraft across Europe. It features an integrated intercom, a dual watch mode (the pilot can monitor two frequencies at the same time) and it has 100 memory slots for preferred frequencies that tie in with airport identifiers. The radio can be updated with new software at any time. Like the transponder, the KRT2 features digital electronics which make it light, compact and reliable.
TQ will exhibit at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh over July 23rd to 29th. TQ-Aviation will be located in Hangar B, Booth 2106/7.
This article again delves into the changing face of aviation and in this case within the Part 103 Ultralight Vehicle sector.
Infotech in Part 103 ultralight vehicles means far more than GPS or even synthetic vision digital screens (imagine an iPad mated to a Levil box … remarkable stuff and for very little money). However, digital avionics are not the point of this story.
In the last few days, a formerly Canadian company, Opener, announced their new eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing), the second developer I know of to adopt Part 103’s simplicity and freedom. Like Kitty Hawk’s Flyer*, the rather unusually-named BlackFly also calls itself an “ultralight,” more precisely meaning an ultralight vehicle that can operate under Part 103. What you might like about this, compared to more than a dozen “air taxi” designs, is that BlackFly appears aimed at recreational flyers (as does Flyer).
Developers probably use Part 103 because they can do what they want sooner, easier, and not require a pilot’s license — or much FAA oversight. Conversely, any aircraft with two or more seats must use another FAR section inviting much more regulation.
“Infotech” is a catchall word suggesting computer technology or software or algorithms. It may be hard to explain precisely but it conveys an image of modern, fast, and cheap. Many fields are being altered by infotech. Why should aviation be any different?
Opener issued several news releases on July 12th, evidently aimed at mainstream news who seized on the unorthodox vehicle. The company, now quartered in Silicon Valley, claims “1,400+ flights and 12,000+ miles flown” over nine years of stealthy development; most of these were remotely piloted. Manned flight is very recent.
“Opener is re-energizing the art of flight with a safe and affordable flying vehicle,” said Marcus Leng, CEO. “We will offer competitive pricing in an endeavor to democratize three-dimensional personal transportation. Safety has been our primary driving goal in the development of this new technology.”
“Even though not required by FAA regulations,” Leng continued, “BlackFly operators will be required to successfully complete the FAA Private Pilot written examination and also complete company-mandated vehicle familiarization and operator training.”
In its news blitz, Opener announced Google guru Larry Page is one of the company’s strategic backers. Page also is helping to finance Kitty Hawk and its Flyer (photo below).
In a CBS News article, Leng was reported saying, “When you press the thumb-stick to climb, you have absolute full control. When you stop in the middle of the air and go off the joystick, the aircraft freezes.” These phrases are hardly the way a pilot would say it; perhaps he stated it this way because he was speaking to a non-pilot reporter.
Although BlackFly claims full amphibious capabilities, “It is primarily designed to easily operate from small grassy areas and travel distances of up to 25 miles at a speed of 62 mph.” said Opener. It presently has a 25-minute flight endurance. See more specifications; scroll down to bottom.
As with most of these multicopters, BlackFly’s feature list differs from most LSA:
Regarding that “competitive pricing” comment, Leng said he “hopes BlackFly will be available to buy next year for roughly the price of an SUV.” That sounds volume-dependent, but Opener appears to have substantial financial support.
Alan Eustace, former vice president of knowledge at Google, sits on the startup’s board of directors. My guess is the money supply is something any LSA producer would love to claim.
If SUVs run $40,000 to $80,000 and if Opener could indeed achieve this, that might be a game changer.
“I’ve noticed in my career that things go from impossible to inevitable in a very short period of time,” Eustace said.
His thoughts and my expanding view of this new wave of designs suggests we are just seeing the beginning of a new kind of aircraft, one anybody might be able to enjoy with mimimal or no training. I know that sounds radical and ill-advised but the potential of software-enhanced flying is hard to overlook — at least once the software is judged “very robust.” It is not yet, but that may follow rather quickly.
“The dream of flight, which was so difficult and expensive to obtain, will soon be within the reach of millions,” added Eustace. “Opener is putting the fun back into flying and opening up a new world of possibilities.”
If you are attending EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in a few days, you can check out BlackFly yourself. Opener vehicles will be on display in the Innovation Showcase, booths IC-12A and 13A.
In the fascinating LSA seaplane sector-within-a-sector, we find both good news and bad news today, though the latter can be overcome. That’s the shortest possible story. More detail follows.
“It is with great pleasure we can report that Equator Aircraft Norway achieved first fully balanced flight with the P2 Xcursion prototype aircraft over the newly painted runway 22 at Eggemoen Technology Park in Norway,” reported the company. Here’s our earlier report on this fascinating project.
Tested by Eskil Amdal, Equator reportedly accelerated to 70 knots before leaving the ground and flying down the runway at 100 knots at nine meters (about 30 feet, at the edge of ground effect), before landing smoothly. Amdal reported stable flight with good controllability in all axes. Two more flights were performed the following day, further establishing confidence in the flying characteristics.
“The aircraft is a prototype developed by Equator with very limited means since 2010,” explained the company. “It can operate from land or water, and with its small electric motor, low float wings and good aerodynamics, promises to rival land planes on performance.”
“Equator’s core goal to make flying more available to more people, by supplying, green, silent and practical aircraft to the market,” added the company. Equator benefits from a very large space inside (nearby photo), and “a simple intuitive cockpit that makes it easy to learn to fly.”
Equator hopes to deliver the aircraft both as a hybrid-electric and pure-electric aircraft. The current prototype is fully electric, is set up for testing only, and can fly for about 35 minutes. “Further development shows promise to deliver aircraft with at least 1 hour and 45 minutes of flight time,” explained Equator. “In hybrid configuration the aircraft has [the potential for a] range of 5 to 6 hours.”
Equator is actively looking for investors to move into production while also seeking a larger owner to make sure it can continue the process rapidly.
“It was a fantastic day for the team,” said Designer and CEO Tomas Brødreskift. “This marks the real beginning of the test program for the aircraft prototype. We are now looking forward to gaining actual flight data, and not to mention look forward to putting the aircraft on the water as soon as possible. We are thrilled to see the aircraft perform as expected, and can’t wait to test the aircraft further.”
From a Finland online report, “A small company billed as Finland’s only plane maker saw a one-million-euro prototype of its amphibious plane go up in flames Tuesday morning after a training flight ended in a crash. Here is our last report on Atol’s move to production.
“Speaking at a press conference in Rovaniemi, Finland on Tuesday afternoon, Markku Koivurova, CEO Atol Avion and the designer of the aircraft, said that the plane was completely destroyed in the resulting fire, but that the two pilots on board were able to walk away from the site of the accident.
“The Atol chief executive recounted the events that led up to the crash. He said a pilot instructor and his trainee ran into problems on a training flight when the amphibian’s ‘hood’ opened up. The pilot decided to ditch the vessel.
“He explained that although there was a nearby body of water, the pilot determined that it was too shallow for a landing and opted to take the plane down for a controlled emergency landing in a forested area.”
Atol Avian said that it is not yet clear precisely why the plane caught fire, but speculated that a fuel tank behind the left wing ruptured. Both occupants were able to walk away from the crash although both sustained some burn injuries.
The report continued, “Koivurova said that the accident would not pose a major setback for the small plane manufacturing firm,” while adding that the company will suffer additional loss by taking one customer plane out of the production queue for further testing.
The aircraft retails for 169,000 euros ($199,000 at today’s exchange rate). Atol Avian currently has six planes in production. The amphibious side-by-side seating Atol 650 LSA is made out of wood composite with foldable wings. See all our earlier reports on Atol.
While the LSA seaplane sector of the Light-Sport Aircraft industry is developing some of the most interesting concepts, bringing these more complex products to market appears significantly more costly and time consuming than many non-amphibious aircraft that have preceded them. From Icon’s A5 that is still struggling to reach production numbers to the now-departed MVP and others, the sector is not exhibiting the same time-to-market timing as simpler aircraft.
In the world of Light-Sport Aircraft, we have more than 90 manufacturers and 145 Special LSA (see our whole list) accepted* by FAA. This huge diversity of design has given recreational pilots around the world a large number of ready-to-fly aircraft choices beyond anything we have seen in aviation since the beginning.
However, the old 80/20 rule still applies where (approximately) 80% of the aircraft sold are built by 20% of the manufacturers. It is a credit to this 14-year-old industry that even the smaller companies can remain viable enterprises. Very few of the 90+ manufacturers have left the business. However, most of the airplanes are made by a few top producers, which you can see in our market share charts.
“Serial Number 900 leaves the factory headed for Australia,” glowed Michael Coates, the longtime distributor for Pipistrel aircraft in Australia and the United States. “It’s hard to believe that the time passes so quickly and here we are shipping number 900 from the Sinus/Virus family to a very excited customer in Australia.”
In Virus (yes, I’ve heard most the jokes about the name) Michael refers to the best seller of the comprehensive Pipistrel line. The reference here is to Virus SW. While the company has succeeded with a number of their other models, Virus SW — the shorter wing span and higher cruise speed variation — is the clear front runner among their production.
Pipistrel started with weight shift trikes, way back in the days of Soviet-controlled eastern bloc countries. Founder Ivo Boscarol had to sneakily build his first and fly it only in the evening when few might notice. After the Berlin Wall fell and freedom came to these countries Boscarol was able to embark on an ambitious plan to build his company into the light aircraft powerhouse it is today. This is a man who can barely sit still long enough for an interview as he is managing a number of activities and appears always thinking of the next thing.
Coates observed that the 900 aircraft does not include motorgliders Taurus or Apis, GA candidate Panthera, nor does it include 200 Alpha Trainers delivered to the Indian armed forces and or other government aircraft.
“We achieved another significant success,” added company spokesperson Taja Boscarol. “A Pipistrel Sinus 912 aircraft was certified in India as the first aircraft in the LSA class, ever,” she added.
This particular airplane — nicknamed “Mahi” by its owners — is part of the WE! Expedition project, in which two female pilots, a mother and daughter, intend to fly around the world. Pipistrel will no doubt promote that voyage as they’ve done other global circumnavigation flights.
If you want to check out the Pipistrel line, you have a great chance coming soon.
“This year is going to be our biggest yet,” boasted Coates, “with a strong emphasis on electric aircraft and virtual reality flight Training” He said his display will include the following:
“Several experts from Pipistrel who can answer all of your electric aircraft questions,” Michael assured.
“We will also have 10,000 copies of the new Pipistrel Magazine available for giveaway,” said Coates. “This magazine features the full history of Pipistrel along with the different projects we have been involved with in the past 30 years.” Such company magazines used to be called “house organs” and Pipistrel’s features information about the whole aircraft line.
Pipistrel was established in 1987 as a small backyard workshop and registered as a company in 1989. It started as a producer of powered hang-gliders, but in the 30 years of operation it has grown into an influential, internationally renown company
* A very common mistake is to refer to FAA accepted SLSA as “certified.” This is incorrect. SLSA that FAA has approved have demonstrated compliance to ASTM standards and have verified their quality processes and best practices to FAA examiner’s satisfaction. They may have proven this via an official FAA audit but they are not “type certified.” TC aircraft get “Standard” Airworthiness Certificates. SLSA get “Special” AW Certs. Other countries that use ASTM standards as a basis for approval sometimes add their own “certifications.”
After Aero 2016, we enthusiastically reported on the Zlin Shock Outback (as it is known to Americans; Shock Cub to other countries). You could fairly call it Europe’s answer to Just Aircraft’s jaw-dropping SuperSTOL, the amazing performer that captures nearly everyone’s attention from its introduction until today. Both designs go far beyond the best-selling Special LSA in the country: CubCrafters’ CarbonCub.With the original Shock Outback’s awesomely powerful Continental Titan X-340 producing 180 horsepower, pilots had a shock-and-awe response to the short takeoff roll and homesick-angel climb performance. The aircraft truly inspired many.How could Zlin go one better on this fascinating design? In a word: lighter.Admittedly, Shock Outback, sold in America by SportairUSA — with the big engine and all the other (sometimes optional) fixings such as their slatted wing, long-stroke landing gear, giant Alaskan tires — is an aircraft about as large as it could be and still fit in the LSA category. While a thing to admire, it didn’t address every desire. The big-engined Shock was a bit heavy for then-current European regulations and many pilots have learned to prize lighter weight.Zlin principal and designer Pascale Russo (in video below), is another of the sleep-deprived creators of cool aircraft. He saw another unfilled niche, and since nature abhors a vacuum, Pascale got busy with a new model. Welcome to Ultra Shock, unveiled at this years wonderful Aero Friedrichshafen show.After having constructed, sold, and delivered many sport aircraft around the world over the last 18 years, including “hundreds” of Savage aircraft, Russo was ready with his new idea in surprisingly short order.He said that speaking to pilots “led us to design a (European-style) Ultralight version of our Shock Cub.” He said it was “a Shock Cub in all respects but more lightweight.”Most pilots know it is quite challenging to lessen the weight of aircraft. How did he do it?
First, here’s what remains: “double slotted” flaps (70% bigger than earlier Savage Cub models), the custom-made micro vortex generators installed inside the flap vane, larger ailerons (40% bigger than older models). These features were part of the reason for “dramatically increase the efficiency of the wing at very low speed.”Ultra Shock also retain its strength. “We loaded and drop tested [Ultra Shock] up to 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) from 120 centimeters (about 4 feet) above the ground without any damage.” That may not sound like such a high drop height but I’ve seen test reports and can attest that is a very demanding test, especially at such weight. The design “virtually eliminates the touchdown rebound,” Pascale said. “We proceeded from the original Savage Cub-S,” Pascale continued, “reinforcing and refining the fuselage framework, increasing … the cockpit height, improving the accessibility, and generally improving ergonomics on board.” In other words, he made sure larger pilots will fit well.Despite Ultra Shock’s lighter weight design, Zlin said the “engine bay can accommodate different engines from the standard Rotax 912 ULS (100 horsepower) up to the Rotax 914 (115 horsepower), new Rotax 915 (>135 horsepower), and even the Titan 340 Stroker (180 horsepower).In doing all this, Pascale asked, “Why go fast? It’s so much more fun to fly slow and land short.” Indeed, he made sure Ultra Shock hits these fun flying goals (see specifications below).”We asked ourselves how much weight it would be possible to save, while maintaining the cost of the transformation at a reasonable level,” recalled Russo. He also wondered “to what extent the excellent performance of the Shock Cub would be affected.”He managed to reach a targeted and demonstrated minimum empty weight — an impressively slim 649 pounds — with a 100 horsepower Rotax 912 with radio and basic instrumentation and a weight savings program which introduced carbon fiber elements, light weight battery, and Oratex fabric covering (a weight-saving material with already colored cloth) in place of classic heat-shrink Dacron, among other choices.It appears he succeeded well. Ultra Shock is significantly lighter than most of the other Cub-clones, which should translate to great performance with the Rotax 912 and reduced overall expense. Zlin is targeting €95,000 (about $115,000) for a well-equipped Ultra Shock but for U.S. pricing and availability, please contact SportairUSA. Whatever the final price tag for your chosen options, it is dramatically less than a CarbonCub (that commonly exceeds $200,000, according to many buyers).
Many pilots who first set eyes on the SW51, a precisely faithful 70%-scale imitation of the famous North American Aviation P-51 Mustang managed to utter a single word: “WOW!”
Can you blame them? Look at this bird. The shape is classic and the detail is exquisite, finished down to the last rivet to mimic the famous World War II American fighter. Except, it’s a kind of fake. I better explain.
Thanks to his youthful associate, Christian von Kessel, SW51 has been refunded and reenfranchised, bringing it to reality. The earlier producer group stumbled and this amazing construction never reached market.
Can you handle a machine that looks this awesome? As you hear Hans and Christian state in the video, SW51 is easy to take off and land and docile in flight. Early test flight were done by a Lufthansa airline captain (image). In fact, other P-51 clones also boast relatively manageable flight qualities, unlike the North American original that demanded considerable training and good skills, according to those with experience in the powerful machine. (If you have extra time on your hands, you can read my own experience with the prototype Titan Aircraft T-51 that provided — how shall I say? — …a learning experience.)
For those ready for the hottest action, you can build the Experimental version and install a Chevy V-8 engine, but that’s well beyond the scope of this website. If you’re curious, though, ScaleWings says the airframe can take up to 600 horsepower.
The most distinctive quality of SW51 is its tight adherence to the original look, albeit it as a 70%-scale replica of the historic P-51 Mustang. The earlier report referenced above goes into more detail but I must repeat that although this looks remarkably like a riveted structure, it is not. SW51 is a carbon fiber execution of the original so true that a reported 100,000 rivets are molded into the finish. I saw people examining the example at Aero Friedrichshafen run their hand over the skin and they may still not have realized it was something of an illusion. Yes, it’s that good!
Actually, it’s better in one way. The North American P-51 was originally a single seater. Imagine your first flight in that aerial hot rod!
ScaleWings’ model will accommodate pilots from 4 feet, 11 inches (150 cm) to 6 feet, 7 inches (200 cm) in a cabin that is 22.8 inches wide (58 cm). That aft seat uses enclosed foot wells to prevent interference with front seat belts while using the rear pilot pedals but obviously the SW51 will allow flight training as needed. Engine controls plus throttle and prop controls are provided at each seat.
SW 51 also bests the original with detachable outer wing sections that feature an autoconnect design; wing locking connects flaps, ailerons, pitot tube, electric and fuel lines. The developer reports the process takes one person a mere five minutes to complete.
If you want the LSA version, it will be supplied with a fixed gear configuration; the manufacturer understands what is needed for the U.S. market. For those that want the whole Walter Mitty effect with big engine and high speeds, learn more here about their kit-building program.
Gulp! Can you afford this beauty? Budgets vary by person, but SW51 is roughly comparable to other higher-end Special LSA. In Europe, the assembled base price is about $182,900, though shipping to the U.S. and other countries will add expense. Yankees wanting the retractable version will indeed have to choose a kit, with the cost starting at around $140,000 for a quick-build version, however, this does not include the engine. A wide range is available if you kit build, up to a very powerful V8 engine. Given what you may be acquiring, those prices are reasonably affordable if you yearn for the full fighter jock sensation of flying your own 70%-scale P-51 Mustang lookalike.
At the Rotax event for journalists allowing reporters like me to fly their new 915 engine (more about that and a 915 review here), I met Guy Leitch, publisher of SA (South Africa) Flyer aviation magazine. Guy told me of something I’d never heard of but which I see as very useful to pilots (and virtually anyone, to be sure). It involves a mere three words.
Three words …and 57 trillion squares on a grid. That’s trillion with a T.
I am writing about locating a place on the planet, anywhere on the planet. Why is this useful? Don’t we already have GPS coordinates — latitude and longitude — to cover this need? It’s a valid question but entering a string of numbers can be challenging and we have three methods of doing so. Although we we rely on this for navigation, the fact is a single digit error in entering those lat/long numbers could mean an error of many miles. Again, why is this vital?
Imagine you are out flying your light aircraft over the countryside. Imagine you have strayed into unfamiliar territory with no recognizable references. Imagine you suffer an engine failure. This is unlikely with our modern great engines, but we all know it happens.
You use your your training and experience to select a suitable clearing, and you do your best to put the airplane down without damage. Once accomplished you are someplace on the ground. How do you direct someone to assist you?
From the developers of this new geolocation system, “what3words is a really simple way to talk about location. We have divided the world into a grid of 3 meter by 3 meter squares and assigned each one a unique 3 word address. It means anyone can accurately find any location and share it more quickly, easily, and with less ambiguity than any other system.
The service can be used with a free mobile app or an online map. The developers who created this said, “It can also be built into any other app, platform, or website, with just a few lines of code.”
These two fellows, one a music event producer and his friend, a math whiz, did not create this for airplane pilots. It turns out that a huge number — billions of people — do not have a street address. This sounds odd to advanced societies with extensive addressing systems, but in much of the world such addresses simply don’t exist. Someone needing medical assistance in one of those places has no address to give to an emergency service.
Pilots can certainly use this, as can all sorts of people. This is why I find this so intriguing.
The three words were very carefully chosen (see video). They are also available not just in English but in many other languages, 22 at present with more to come. The words are common words and were carefully chosen not to sound like other words.
I think this is a wonderfully clever system. I urge you to go to whatever app supplier you use and download it – it’s free. Then check out your own location and imagine how you might use this terrific invention were you to find yourself in that field with the crippled aircraft or, God forbid, an injured companion.
This video, prepared by the developers conveys the value of addressing the entire world’s surface. In an emergency, this might be your rescue. Heck, you can even use it to find your friends at Oshkosh.
Years ago, back in the late 1990s, I flew an aircraft called JetFox 97. It resembled the Flightstar of the day and both were modeled on talented European designer Hans Gygax’s designs. Along came Light-Sport Aircraft in 2004; years passed with not much word about the increasingly aged JetFox 97.
It’s back and looking handsome, cloaked in a carbon fiber fuselage. Since this is an Italian design, it has the beauty we often associate with products from that country. I am describing Alfredo Di Cesare‘s FX1.
You can read this article for more details of the history of this handsome aircraft along with many points of interest about it and some in-flight video. An earlier article provides more background from American John Hunter, a longtime light aircraft enthusiast and expert who assisted Alfredo as he completed the design.
I had some correspondence with Alfredo but we had not met until this year’s Aero show in the south of Germany. Since I worked closely with my associate, Videoman Dave — whose YouTube video channel 40,000 of you obviously enjoy — we captured a video interview with the design. See that below.
While FX1 clearly follows the Jetfox 97 — its overall shape, planform, and layout are very similar — the new model is very different in some ways not obvious in the nearby photos.
To start, FX1 uses a chrome moly steel internal structure, with a beautifully-shaped carbon fiber exterior, and riveted aluminum wings and tail.
No doubt, Alfredo’s latest is a dramatic update from the one of two decades back.
Today, as then, the main engine choice is the Rotax 912 ULS carbureted engine but InnovAviation will soon begin offering the Rotax 912iS Sport fuel injected version.
While our video (below) is already up around 15,000 views in just five days after it was posted, I’ve also heard plenty of chatter on social media about FX1. Although lots of pilots love the look, several have said, “Well, it’ll never be available here” (I don’t know why they think that) or “I never see the price.”
We’ve got the answers and more.
FX1 will make its first showing at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 and even its designer, Alfredo will be present. It is being imported by Deon Lombard of AeroPilot USA, the same man who brings in the L600 that we’ve reported here. An 80% scale version of Cessna’s 182 — at a most agreeable price — L600 a beautiful flyer (watch our Video Pilot Report here).
FX1 will make a nice complement to L600.
Deon expects to sell the sleek black aircraft for $135,000 and based on what we’ve seen for L600 it may be quite well equipped for that figure.
Look for Deon, Alfredo, FX1, and L600 in the ultralight / light plane area of Oshkosh at the south end of the sprawling airshow grounds (you can take a free tram ride if the hike is too much for you).
Meanwhile, enjoy our video interview and look for Videoman Dave and I at Oshkosh (though we’ll be a blur as we zoom back and forth making many more of the videos you love. Specifications are shown below the video.