This article was updated with additional photos; see at bottom. Midwest LSA Expo held a special ceremony to honor two men in their donation of a beautiful LSA-like aircraft now permanently displayed on an striking pedestal near the airport entrance. Lots of airports have military aircraft mounted on pedestals. Even AirVenture, base of the homebuilders, has military fighters on raised displays — including the famous “jet-on-a-stick” near the show entrance. These displays honor a warbird heritage but those aircraft aren’t what most members fly. Enter Light-Sport Aircraft. While some have gotten deluxe far beyond the original concept — with prices to match — many affordable aircraft still make up the category of Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit aircraft, and ultralight aircraft. These aircraft are what “real” people fly. Midwest LSA Expo has now reached its 10th birthday, staying focused on showcasing this sector of aircraft. So, perhaps it is fitting that today they had a ceremony honoring a donation of a futuristic jet LSA design (technically “LSA-like”).
Hansen Air Group
Phone: (770) 427-6311Kennesaw, GA 30144 - USA
- Wingspan — 25 feet, 11 inches (7.9 meters)
- Length — 23 feet, 4 inches (6.88 meters)
- Height — 5 feet, 6 inches (1.97 meters)
- Wing area — 118 square feet (11 square meters)
- Maximum takeoff weight (LSA) — 1,320 pounds (600 kilograms)
- Maximum takeoff weight (EAB) — 2,646 pounds (1,200 kilograms)
- Empty weight (LSA) — 750 pounds (340 kilograms)
- Empty weight (EAB) — 889 pounds (400 kilograms)
- Standard Engine (LSA) — Rotax 912iS Sport (100 horsepower)
- Optional Engine (LSA) — Rotax 915iS (141 horsepower, max)
- Powerplant choices (EAB) — see video or downloadable brochure
- Never exceed speed — 216 knots
- Maximum load factor — +6/-4 g
- Carbon reinforced composite structure with carbon pushrod linkage
- Windshield frame as rollover bar for improved occupant protection
- Aramid cockpit lining for occupant protection
- Electrically retractable landing gear (fixed gear configuration for U.S. SLSA)
- Sliding and swiveling canopy
- Hydraulic disk toe brakes front and rear with parking lock
- Leather finish to both with five-point harness
- Manually adjustable rudder pedals
- Electric trim all axis
- Fuel capacity — 2 x 13.2 U.S. gallon (50 liter) wing tanks
- Electrically Retractable Landing Gear
- Baggage compartments:
- Front (before windshield) 33 pounds (15 kilogram) with external baggage door
- Rear (behind cockpit) 33 pounds (15 kilogram)
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. We’ve seen this spectacular execution of Hans Schwöller before. It was then called FK51 and we reported it earlier in more detail as to its construction. Now welcome ScaleWings Aircraft. 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.
Article Updated 9/7/15 — See new information at the bottom of this article. Coming up TOMORROW! — September 8-9-10, 2016 — is the Midwest LSA Expo. I’m on-site for all three days in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. More info: Midwest LSA Expo. Only six years after Steve Jobs proudly announced the first iPad, the tablet device seems to have fully conquered aviation. Airline captains routinely use iPads in lieu of bulky printed instrument charts. GA airplane owners with analog panels commonly use an iPad to join the digital revolution without needing to get FAA’s permission. And, LSA developers often accommodate the iDevice; indeed, some Light-Sports make do solely with iPads, occasionally multiple devices. Despite his visionary prowess, I bet Steve Jobs never imagined such a result. Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to see the cockpit transformation his gizmo caused. However, if you’ve flown with an iPad, you know you need some way to hold it that allows access to its wealth of information without interfering with airplane operation.
Germany's popular Fk9 from FK lightplanes is one of that country's most popular models, often flown in flight schools and by hundreds of recreational pilots. Around since the 1990s, the Fk9 has been continuously updated. In fact, this would be the Mark 5 version had not the company renamed it the Fk9 ELA, for European Light Aircaft. In the USA, FK Lightplanes is well represented by Hansen Air Group. Come on along as we look throughout this new version of a well proven light aircraft.
Germany’s popular Fk9 from FK lightplanes is one of that country’s most popular models, often flown in flight schools and by hundreds of recreational pilots. Around since the 1990s, the Fk9 has been continuously updated. In fact, this would be the Mark 5 version had not the company renamed it the Fk9 ELA, for European Light Aircaft. In the USA, FK Lightplanes is well represented by Hansen Air Group. Come on along as we look throughout this new version of a well proven light aircraft.
At the Midwest LSA Expo 2010, we started something new using multiple aircraft and offering their differences and similarities. Here we look at five composite high wing LSA: Sirius TL-3000; Jabiru J-230; CTLS; FK-9 Mark IV; and Navigator 600. If you're in the market for a high wing, this video may help show your choices and help you make a purchase decision.
At the Midwest LSA Expo 2010, we started something new using multiple aircraft and offering their differences and similarities. Here we look at five composite high wing LSA: Sirius TL-3000; Jabiru J-230; CTLS; FK-9 Mark IV; and Navigator 600. If you’re in the market for a high wing, this video may help show your choices and help you make a purchase decision.
Much of what we hear and know about airplane populations is centered on America. Yet in the world of sport and recreational aviation, the rest of the world equates to at least a 1:1 relationship, that is, for every American aircraft flying, many experts agree another flies internationally. It may be more significant than that … consider Germany. In mid-August, our friends at Aerokurier, Germany’s leading aviation magazine, assembled an article about the top 10 ultralights in that country. A European ultralight, as you may know, is not the same as an American ultralight that is today limited to a single seat and no more than 254 pounds of empty weight. In Germany and elsewhere around the European Union, “ultralight” refers to an airplane much like a U.S. Light-Sport but limited in weight to 472.5 kilograms or 1,041 pounds. Originally the weight limit had been 450 kilograms or 992 pounds but because emergency airframe parachutes are mandatory in Germany the weight was increased a few years ago to cover this component.
Two decades of hard work, sharp design and marketing vision, and keeping a high bar for quality production recently brought FK Group, German makers of three European “ultralights”, an award from Aerokurier magazine for best manufacturer. FK beat out Remos and other top light sport builders. *** The latest good news from the FK 9 MK IV producer, (a lovely ASTM-approved LSA I’m eager to jump a hop in), is the newly completed second factory that will complete the company’s goal of producing 100% of its aircraft, from fab to outfitting to painting, all in-house. *** A company release praises FK’s association with Cirrus, (lamentably in suspension of its own low-wing Polaris LSA project – also manufactured by FK – to marshal efforts on its Vision jet), for the “huge production knowledge” in expanding its facilities.
Light-Sport Aircraft are nothing if not diverse. We have all manner of aircraft on our SLSA List of 104 approved models. Germany’s FK Lightplanes illustrates diversity through their trio of models: high wing Fk9 series; biplane Fk-12; and low wing Fk14. *** In May 2009, the newest iteration of the Fk9 series was flown by designer Peter Funk. The Fk9 ELA (a reference to European Light Aircraft, a new class EASA is planning) is a stretched, roomier model of the popular series. The changes should play well in the American market. *** Peter Funk commented, “It seemed that [Fk9 ELA’s new] winglets are improving control efficiency and low speed characteristics.” In addition, the newest model boasts a larger cabin space, a larger panel with room for big screens, more baggage area, electric flaps, and optional longer-range fuel tanks. The versatile Fk9 ELA is also available on straight or amphibious floats or in taildragger gear.
Most American pilots don’t recognize the brand FK Lightplanes, though many do know of one of their models. Cirrus Design based their celebrated entry into Light-Sport Aircraft upon the Fk14 Polaris. This lovely low wing looks enough like a Cirrus that the Duluth, Minnesota manufacturer selected it as their platform to offer what they called the SRS. *** The producer of the best-selling SR22 felt they needed to “Cirrus-ize” the Fk14, but now with the GA industry in sharp decline the company put the SRS project on hold to focus on their Vision jet (which sells for 10X more). *** Yet FK Lightplanes also builds a handsome high-wing model, which has gone through significant refinements in more than a decade on the market. “We’ll still make our Fk9 Mark 4 [the earlier model],” said company director Peter Funk, but his company is now launching the Fk9 ELA (as in European Light Aircraft), a version that more closely matches LSA specifications.
What to the following events have in common? …Sebring LSA Expo, Heart of Texas LSA Expo, Midwest LSA Expo, Sport Pilot Tour… Answer: All are focused marketing shows generating keenly interested crowds to examine Light-Sport Aircraft. When that happens, business arrangements sometime result, and not all deals are between airplane buyers and sellers. *** At the Sebring LSA Expo FK Lightplanes USA struck an agreement with Hansen Air Group. The latter, an Atlanta-based national seller of the Sky Arrow and new FP-04 Peregrine, signed on to represent the Fk9, seen in Florida atop Baumann BF-1500 floats. One aviation family helps another as FK’s father-and-son Tony and Adriel Anderson linked up with twin brothers Jon and Ron Hansen. *** Recently I attended an open house for another mini-conglomerate in light-sport aviation based at the Melbourne, Florida airport.
He could see the benefit for his company’s sales, so Fk Leichtflugzeuge — or FK Lightplanes — president Peter Funk came from Speyer, Germany to support his new American importer, Tony Anderson of Fk Lightplanes USA. Tony brought his family operation to Sebring and their classy display at the main intersection of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo attracted the attention of many in attendance. The intensely yellow Fk9 turned heads and lifted 25 pilots who took demo flights during Sebring. “I was very happy to see how well our high wing model was received,” said a smiling Peter Funk. The Fk9 Mk IV is a well-evolved design. Since the Mk I model flew in 1989, more than 300 aircraft have been delivered. The latest generation Mk IV features a wider cockpit area, four inches more legroom, and improved seat comfort. Unlike many LSA, Fk9 is available as a kit, fast-build kit, or ready-to-fly SLSA.
More than a decade ago, Tony Anderson started teaching students how to fly on floats. Today, his family enterprise spreads across three aviation businesses. In a recent visit I was most impressed to witness what the Andersons have built. From their home base with hangar right on an in-town lake to the North Perry Airport FBO to a downtown Miami seaplane operation, Tony and son Adriel have this major tropical metro covered. At North Perry they also run their FK Lightplanes USA enterprise, importing and selling the Fk9, Polaris, and Comet. On my visit the Fk9 used for training was constantly busy plus I saw two brand-new Fk9s available for immediate delivery. Across the city in downtown Miami, Tony and Adriel operate several Drifter 912s on straight Lotus floats. Adriel directs this training and intro lesson operation. He’s accumulated a rather astounding 5,000 hours in one particular Drifter and it isn’t the only aircraft he flies.
The feature of folding wings is credited with the sale of many aircraft by brands such as Kitfox and Kolb (among numerous others). Promoting the Sport Pilot certificate, I’ve visited flight schools at busy airports where one of the obstacles to growth — and to adding a LSA as a trainer — has been a lack of more space to hangar their fleet. Now with FK Lightplanes USA bringing in their first two FK9 Mark IV B models, this could change. *** The Florida-based importer for the German design used in many of that country’s flight schools recently took delivery of its first two “B” versions configured as they will routinely import them. Their selection includes two-feet less span with the 100-hp Rotax 912S and folding wings as the standard model (though the 80-horse, non-folding wing models can be special ordered). The first customer, taking both aircraft, was the cooperative LetsFly.org that helps buyers share ownership of LSA and other aircraft.
For years, FK Lightplanes has been a leading supplier in Europe. Designs are created by Otto and Peter Funk, the father and son team that introduced the FK9 Mark IV (all-round use and trainer design), the FK12 Comet (enclosed, folding biwing), and the elegant FK14 Polaris, a modern LSA candidate available in tricycle gear or taildragger. FK planes appointed Wings of Paradise their American representative. Based in south Florida at North Perry Airport (HWO), Wings of Paradise is a longtime ultralight dealer and provider of lessons on Miami area beaches. FK Lightplanes sells models like the FK14 Polaris in 51% kit form, fast-build form, and it is available ready-to-fly. Wings of Paradise is working with the German producer to meet SLSA standards; the design is certified under Germany’s Microlight rules. E-mail contact.
FK Lightplanes FK9 Mk IV becomes our 21st SLSA since April 15 (a rate of 3 per month!). A longtime ultralight enthusiast with a list of FAA ratings, importer Tony Anderson has moved fast since securing distribution of Germany’s FK Lightplanes. Since my SPLOG two days ago, Tony was able to confirm by copy of his Airworthiness Certificate the SLSA approval for the FK9 Mk IV on November 17th. Here is a proven microlight design built very lightly (590 pounds empty) using fiberglass over steel construction. Powered by a Rotax 912 or 912S, FK9 cruises at 105 knots and climbs 1,500 fpm at gross (with 100 hp engine at 1,146 pounds gross weight). In service for many years in Germany, FK9 is quite popular with flight schools. It also has the slickest of wing folding mechanisms. A single person can unhook the wing — from the tip — and fold the wing.