They are lining up, literally, at Sportsplanes.com’s Plant City, Florida airport (PCM) assembly station. Michael Zidziunas — everyone calls him “Mike Z” — assembled three of the new Breezer II SLSA and arranged for DAR inspection. Mike Z is a well-known flight instructor and licensed mechanic working in the LSA arena. *** Last fall, at the AOPA Expo, Josh Foss of Sportsplanes.com unveiled the new Breezer II. The all-metal low wing was introduced more than a year earlier but disputes over the design rights and manufacturing put a halt to shipments. Since then, German designer Ralf Magnussen found a new investor, Dirk Ketelsen, a builder of windmills for electric power generation. They established a new 17,000 square foot plant near Husum, Germany (west of Hamburg at the North Sea coastline) where Josh reports they can build more than 100 aircraft a year.
Breezer Aircraft GmbH & Co. Breezer II
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgReussenkoge, -- 25821 - Germany
U.S. Distributor is Breezer Aircraft USA
Most pilots know AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, has been fighting the user fee battle…and they’ve been doing well resisting the might of the U.S. government. But they must also have a connection with Mother Nature as warm, beautiful weather shined on opening day at Connecticut’s Brainard airport. *** On display: StingSport, Skylark, the new Breezer II, Allegro 2000, SportCruiser, Sigma, Thorpedo, Sport Cub, Bravo, Sierra, CTsw, Jabiru J-250, Gobosh G-700S, and Remos G-3. Contrary to earlier info, American Champion brought The Champ, Cessna displayed their Skycatcher mockup, and Cirrus flew their SRS. In all, I counted 17 LSA at Hartford. That amounts to a healthy 19% of all airplanes on display.
At Oshkosh I took the chance to speak with several general aviation leaders — CEOs of top general aviation companies and presidents of leading membership organizations. All have been kind to me with their time and generous with their support for the Sport Pilot concept, but I sensed they didn’t yet accept LSA deep down. Minor questions remained. Today that seems convincingly gone. The same not-100%-certain leaders now chorus, “LSA is here to stay.” *** Evidence of that is again marshaling for AOPA’s season-ending event for general aviation. The D.C.-based organization now counts more than 413,000 members, more than two-thirds of all pilots on the FAA register. The traveling Expo show typically draws well from a region’s pilot population. Action starts October 4-6, 2007 at the Hartford-Brainard Airport (HFD). *** For the third year running AOPA is providing a grouped location for Light-Sport Aircraft right where you enter the airplane display area (SLSA exhibitor list under photo).
The early reviews — mine included (report here) — were excellent. The Breezer design from Germany is a great flying aircraft. Then problems arose…though fortunately not with the airframe but with design rights and such. Now that those difficulties are resolved, new aircraft are again arriving in the U.S. “The new Breezers are here!” declared Josh Foss, head of Sportsplanes.com, a Utah-based organization with reps around the country. He plans to display the new Breezer model at the AOPA Expo in Connecticut October 4-6, 2007. *** Breezer II features a much larger baggage compartment, an enlarged panel, and heavy duty toe brakes that replace a handbrake lever. Josh added, “Breezer II is now being manufactured in a new 17,000 square foot facility in Germany that has been equipped with the latest in high tech machinery geared for large volume. The facilities include a private airstrip for flight testing.
Of recent SLSA approvals Breezer is the newest offering from one of Germany’s largest microlight producers. Comco-Ikarus is also the C42 builder and found a big success with German flight schools. Just as AirVenture Oshkosh 2005 started, Breezer won its SLSA certificate. On an exceptionally beautiful day as AirVenture started, I flew this German designed and built design. Very pleasant and straightforward handling plus easy landings, in all a very satisfying experience. You enter from in front of the wing (note step) which makes entry suprisingly easy. Inside you have a huge visual panorama. Watch for my pilot report in Sport Pilot magazine.
|Empty weight||704 pounds|
|Gross weight||1,320 pounds|
|Wing area||127 square feet|
|Wing loading||10.4 pounds/square foot|
|Useful Load||616 pounds|
|Payload (with full fuel)||505 pounds|
|Cabin Interior||46 inches|
|Fuel Capacity||18.5 gallons|
|Baggage area||44 pounds, aft of seats|
|Standard engine||Rotax 912 UL2/ULS2|
|Prop Diameter||two- or three-blade Neuform|
|Power loading||13.2 pounds/hp|
|Max Speed||120 knots/138 mph|
|Cruise speed||109 knots/125/mph|
|Stall Speed||36 knots/41 mph|
|Never exceed speed||133 knots/153 mph|
|Rate of climb at gross||1,100 fpm|
|Takeoff distance at gross||440 feet (80hp)/310 feet (100hp)|
|Landing distance at gross||455 feet|
|Range (powered)||350 nm - 4.0 hours|
|Fuel Consumption||about 5.0 gph|
|Standard Features||Rotax 912 with electric start, basic panel instruments, familiar all-metal construction, sliding canopy, hydraulic toe brakes, adjustable seats, electric flaps and pitch trim, dual controls, 4-point seat belts, cabin heating, ventilation, baggage area.|
|Options||Numerous additional instrumentation, including glass displays, radio choices, autopilot, IFR instrumentation, ballistic parachute, lighting packages.|
|Construction||Aluminum airframe, fiberglass fairing components, all-aluminum wing and tail skins and fuselage. Made in (formerly West) Germany; distributed by an U.S.-based company with American dealers.|
Cosmetic appearance, structural integrity, achievement of design goals, effectiveness of aerodynamics, ergonomics.
Pros - Redone, improved design in its second generation, now supplied by a well-financed manufacturer. All-metal design with an attractive shape. New features address the U.S. market well (toe brakes, for example). Good payload, able to carry two rather large occupants plus baggage.
Cons - Earlier problems with the supplier of the older Breezer model may have tainted some resale buyer opinions. Even without the history, the Breezer is not well known in America yet; building name recognition takes time and good results, all yet to be determined.
Subsystems available to pilot such as: Flaps; Fuel sources; Electric start; In-air restart; Brakes; Engine controls; Navigations; Radio; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - Fully equipped Breezer II features nice improvements over the first model brought to the USA. Trim and flaps are now electric; trim is on the joystick for easy access. Legions of pilots unused to hand brake arrangements will welcome toe brakes.
Cons - Flap indicator is in a poor position, resulting in a head-down pilot at a time when he or she needs to be observing landing approach or departure. Flap switch is too flat to tell its position without looking. Some pilots won't consider the 18.5-gallon capacity to be sufficient.
Instrumentation; Ergonomics of controls; Creature comforts; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - Spacious 46-inch-wide cockpit will accommodate all but the very largest occupants. Entry over the leading edge, thanks to a well-located entry peg/step, is better than the more common step-over-the-flap entry. Large hat rack can be reached in flight. Good instrument panel space available.
Cons - Like many low-wing designs, you must step on the seat for entry and must push yourself back up for exit (caused carpet bunching even on a new test aircraft). Sliding canopies have some quick-exit vulnerability in landing upsets.
Taxi visibility; Steering; Turn radius; Shock absorption; Stance/Stability; Braking.
Pros - All general aviation pilots will love the new toe brakes, which worked very well. Visibility was excellent, even to the rear as you are doing control checks. Gear absorbed bumps well. Turn radius was fairly small and can be aided with differential braking.
Cons - Low-wing airplanes are not considered particularly versatile on uneven, unimproved strips due to wing clearance. Quick exit out of the Breezer II is not as fast as some designs (you must lift yourself up and out). No other negatives.
Qualities; Efficiency; Ease; Comparative values.
Pros - Easy-landing design (when you follow instructions and let the plane have its own head). Superb visibility for takeoffs and landings; good traffic check capability and low nose on landing gave a wide-open view. Flaps were quite effective. Low-speed capability made for low landing speeds and easy touchdowns.
Cons - You can (I did) "overfly" the Breezer II on landings; it prefers an attitude approach to a deep flare (which I almost always attempt), somewhat unusual for an airplane with light wing loading. Slips were workable, but I did not find them highly effective (though good flaps obviate the need for slipping).
Quality and quantity for: Coordination; Authority; Pressures; Response; and Coupling.
Pros - Quality controls with good response yet without twitchy action; new pilots and students should like the Breezer II handling. Easy stick reach and response; most pilots will find controls comfortable. Steep turns held a good circle easily without adding power.
Cons - You must use the rudder pedals for coordinated turns and you must return them to neutral by pilot input; didn't return aerodynamically in evaluation.
Climb; Glide; Sink; Cruise/stall/max speeds; Endurance; Range; Maneuverability.
Pros - Excellent climb performance. Glide also seemed strong, helping make easy approaches to landing. Speed showed enhancements from earlier model to the Breezer II with cruise at 115 knots at 5,200 rpm (though earlier model may have suffered from rigging errors). Excellent slow-flying qualities.
Cons - Fuel capacity at 18.5 gallons only yields a 300-nm range, insufficient to please all pilots. Not quite the fastest among LSA (though only marginally below the top performers).
Stall recovery and characteristics; Dampening; Spiral stability; Adverse yaw qualities.
Pros - No stalls exhibited any deep nose break. All stability checks showed a well-considered design (see "Cons" for rudder response). Power response and longitudinal checks proved a stable flying design. Steep turns maintained altitude with no power added.
Cons - Rudder pedals required that I move them in the desired direction. The Breezer II will not automatically return to straight flight after rudder deflection; it's easy but you must do it. No parachute fitted to this evaluation Breezer II, so no unusual attitudes explored.
Addresses the questions: "Will a buyer get what he/she expects to buy, and did the designer/builder achieve the chosen goal?"
Pros - New producer gives this quality design new importance in the market. Good improvements made to better fit the American market. Tasteful color and style themed interior treatment will please resale buyers. Experienced importer with 15 regional outlets across the country.
Cons - Few Breezers flying in the USA, making resale value unknown. Change of producers may cause some buyers to wait for more experience. Some pilots living in warm, sunny climates don't desire low-wing, bubble canopy designs. Supply of parts and repair expertise is still growing.
Like American ultralights, European microlights have paved the way to a new breed of aircraft for European fliers. Residents of the European community don’t have the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft (SP/LSA) rule, but they know how to build the planes that serve the market. Comco-Ikarus is one of Germany’s most established microlight builders. After a long and successful run with its C22 and C42 airplanes, the company, based in Hohentengen in southwest Germany, is ready to run in LSA circles with its new Breezer. Compared to the C22 and C42, which is still being sold in Germany and the United States, the Breezer is clearly an original design. The Breezer has a metal wing and tail, whereas the C42 has a fiberglass fuselage and its wings are constructed of aluminum tubes and covered with an advanced sewn textile called GT-Foil, a Kevlar-based material. The Breezer is a low-wing airplane, whereas the C42 is a high-wing; the C42 is strut-braced, while the Breezer is cantilevered.