The energetic folks behind the ApolloFox and the extraordinary Evolution Revo (weight shift trike) are now representing the Columbian-designed Ibis Magic. An all-metal LSA, the Apollo team has elected to fully load it with a large new glass display from MGL, autopilot, emergency airframe parachute, and more. Here’s a new one you’ll want to examine soon.
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A key phrase for this website is “Affordable Aviation” (in fact, we bought AffordableAviation.com for future use). Our focus is on aircraft that can work within the budgets of many recreational or sport pilots. Reading about bizjets or self-flying drones in major magazines may be interesting but those of us who love to fly prefer flying machines we can genuinely afford.
A kit-built aircraft is one way to make airplanes more affordable, and more personal. The great news is you have many wonderful choices. What you may not have is time and that’s why this article covers Merlin PSA.
How much time must you invest to get airborne? Would you believe a mere two weeks? Many kits ask for months, even years of your labor plus a place to do this work. If you love the craftsmanship, that may be fine but if you build so you can fly, why not have the process be easier and swifter?
To some it’s a new entry in the LSA race (Sam LS is presently selling kits while pursuing SLSA acceptance). To others the Canadian LSA is a “mini T-6” or a “mini Yak 52.” Either characterization no doubt pleases designer Thierry Zibi. During development he did a thorough job of asking airshow visitors what appealed to them. Now that Sam is flying, it is fair to say that even with the availability of 132 other Light-Sport Aircraft models, Sam LS is unique. At AOPA’s last-ever Summit event in Fort Worth, Texas, I got a chance to take Sam aloft with Thierry overseeing from the aft seat. Short tell: it may look like a miniature warbird, but flies with very solid and pleasant qualities.
As the sun-drenched photos reveal, Thierry’s airplane glistens with polished aluminum, an uncommon appearance on airport ramps loaded with brightly painted aircraft accented with jaunty striping.
Last month the southern China city of Zhuhai hosted a large collection of aircraft at Airshow China. We’ve been hearing about this once-closed country in matters of aviation so often, I thought it would be something different to show a collection of photos taken by my LAMA Europe colleague, Jan Fridrich. He works for the Czech Light Aircraft Association and you know his name as the man who does the hard work to gather figures for our regular LSA market surveys.
Another associate of mine, Will Escutia, one of the new owners of Quicksilver Aeronautics, also traveled to China recently. Visiting dealer prospects in the north of the large country Will reported that he sees four main forces driving the opening of aviation in China: (1) airspace below 3,000 meters is opening to civilian aircraft; (2) high interest in flying follows that airspace opening; (3) government is concerned about their economy and aviation is seen as helpful; (4) entrepreneurs are jockeying to take early advantage of the burgeoning market.
Knocking around the ‘Net looking for signs that Light Sport is alive and well… *** Michael Combs is nearing the end of his 19,000 mile odyssey — what a vision. Latest word from PR dude Dave Gustafson is that the Flight for the Human Spirit in a Remos GX has made it to my old west coast stompin’ grounds. Five jewels of the left coast — San Diego, Burbank, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and San Jose — were on the itinerary for one magical flight day over one of the most beautiful stretches of coastal landscape in the world. God speed Michael, 18,000 miles and 45 states and you’re nearly done. • Imagine the human experience he’s having, flying all summer, meeting all the great people he’s met. I’m jealous, I admit it. • BTW, pilots are encouraged to fly along for any portion of Michael’s Flight.
An Easy-Flying Ultralight
Let’s see. A single-seat plane that can be purchased as an ultralight,
assuming your engine selection doesn’t push it over Part
103’s weight limit, or built from a kit and registered as an
Experimental-class aircraft, or purchased as a light sport aircraft
once the manufacturer meets the ASTM certification. What’s a pilot to do?
That’s the conundrum facing T-Bird I shoppers. This single-seater can be
a Part 103-compliant ultralight when using a Rotax 277, still available on
the used-engine market, though no longer supplied from Rotax’s Austrian
factory. Few prospective owners would select this engine, yet a more powerful
engine would push the T-Bird I over the Part 103 weight limit. Does that
leave only the Experimental amateur-built kit
The answer is no, and yes. To explain this apparent
contradiction, a kit-built T-Bird I with a larger
Rotax engine or the 60-hp HKS 700E engine could
still qualify under the 51% rule.
Remember why we fly ultralights? Few general aviation airplanes are flown below 1,500 feet above the ground. More rare is flight at 500 feet or 50 feet. Neither do you tend to fly most light-sport aircraft (LSAs) at these denser altitudes. Most flights in general aviation or LSA planes start out climbing high as quickly as possible. You switch on the autopilot as soon as possible and fiddle with the throttle, prop and mixture controls to squeeze all the fuel economy you can while flying as fast as the machine will manage in the straightest possible line all the way to your destination.
That’s fine for general aviation or LSA flying, and it’s enjoyable in a different way. But it isn’t ultralight flying.
What about just “boating around” the sky at your leisure, turning every few minutes to see the sights only possible from an ultralight aircraft. Your eye catches an alligator off to one side and you bank quickly to check it out.
There’s only one Carbon Dragon currently flying; it belongs to Steve Arndt, who calls his beautiful version of this ultralight sailplane the Magic Dragon. What he can do with it is indeed quite magical.
On a day when experienced hang glider pilots were only getting in short, half-hour soaring flights at Florida’s well-known Wallaby Ranch Flight Park, Arndt appeared to be gearing up for an entire afternoon of soaring.
“Oh, he’ll be up 3 hours, and we won’t see him until he decides to come back for dinner,” said Wallaby Ranch proprietor Malcolm Jones. Such is the nature of flying the unusually lightweight Carbon Dragon. Most soaring pilots would agree that Arndt’s sailplane and his flying are both remarkable.
An Ultralight Glider
Designed by a team led by the late Jim Maupin and Irv Culver, the Carbon Dragon has a 44-foot wingspan with full-span flaperons, an empty weight of 145 pounds and a gross weight of 335 pounds.
St. Paul, Minn. – Paraphrasing a famous speaker, “You can satisfy all of the people
some of the time or all of the people some of the time, but, well| that’s about it.
to my story about Raven Sky Sports – it’s sale, then non-sale, and the challenge
to its name. First, I got in trouble for announcing
a purchase by an Oregon-based pilot. He and founder/owner Brad Kushner could
never quite close an almost-done deal. The would-be buyer was at first very upset
with me that I would share this news with the public without getting permission (though
I received an email announcement letter along with numerous other recipients). We
patched that up between us but then the sale never happened.
Next, I got a very unhappy but carefully written, four-page letter from the lawyer
who asked Kushner to stop using the name Raven Sky Sports. He thought I characterized
him in a poor light.
ST PAUL, MINN — Aloha! With his wife, Toni, Jerry Forburger completed his deal with airpark developer, Bill Fulton. The ATOL’ers have begun employment with Sport Aviation Hawaii and will begin by offering tandem intros to the islands’ millions of visitors. Tourists and students will get to soar some the smoothest lift in the world (“…after about 700 feet, lift seems to fill the whole valley.”), viewing spectacular scenery: incredibly steep green mountains, cascading waterfalls, and an uncommercialized tropical landscape. Few outsiders have ever set foot in the Kaaawa Valley ’til Fulton made his deal with the Kualoa Ranch family. Says Fulton, “We’ve had visits by several experts. Many think Sport Aviation could be one of the world’s largest schools.” To qualify for such a title, the business will count an expected 20,000 Japanese tourists a year flying on the world’s longest Hang Glider Simulator®. ||| Fulton orchestrated hang gliding participation in the Navy Hydrofest ’90, a fund raiser (needed after budget cuts) to help the Navy provide recreation for the thousands of sailors who regularly dock and restock at Pearl Harbor.