Day One of the third running of DeLand Showcase is complete. As Videoman Dave and I scoured the show grounds looking for good stories, we spoke to a few vendors reporting that 2018 has been a good year. Our video news gathering exercise brought a pleasant discovery. Many companies are reporting a solid year of sales. The light aviation industry is composed of many small companies. None are corporations the size of Cessna or Cirrus so they don’t require hundreds of unit sales to break even. A U.S. importer delivering 20 aircraft can experience a good year from sales and other services they offer. When several companies report noteworthy sales success it suggests the market is healthy and customers are buying airplanes they want to enjoy. In parallel, the used LSA market also appears active and a virtuous circle begins to take form. The show itself enjoyed the great organization we have come to expect from director Jana Filip.
BRP-Powertrain (Rotax Aircraft Engines)
Phone: (01143) 7246-6010Gunskirchen, A-4623 - Austria
Business Around the GlobeWhile Traveller is their foray into NBAA's glittering world, Tecnam remains highly active in aircraft that readers of this website recognize. Tecnam has been busy this year; here are a few of their recent successes at delivering their light aircraft all around the globe. Greece — Hellenic Air Force Academy, based at an air base near Athens, is a unit of the Hellenic (Greek) Air Force. A recent delivery is the first of 12 Tecnam P2002JF trainers HAFA ordered. The Academy selected the Tecnam model as its next-generation screening/primary training aircraft. P2002JF is a two-seat, single-engine, low-wing aircraft powered by the Rotax 912 and fitted with the latest avionics from Garmin. Tecnam is familiar with supplying government air forces. In 2016 Tecnam delivered eight P2002JF aircraft to the Argentina Air Force. "This [South American] fleet has amassed a total of over 6,000 hours and performed 16,000 landings to date," noted Tecnam. ByDanJohnson.com readers know this model as the Sierra. Poland — Tecnam announced today that the Polish Medical Air Rescue (PMAR) has placed an order for three Tecnam P2008JC Mk II airplanes. PMAR is a very active organization using a fleet of aircraft to perform nearly 10,000 flights in the first eight months of this year alone. P2008JC is comprised of a carbon-fiber fuselage with metals wings and stabilator. "This combination of composite and metal resulted in a more fuel efficient and much quieter aircraft," said Tecnam. The MkII version of P2008JC features a number of significant enhancements including a new avionic suite with a refreshed interior design. Australia — This summer, Tecnam announced the sale of eight P2008 light sport aircraft training aircraft to Soar Aviation of Melbourne, Australia. Soar claims to be Australia’s largest private flying school with with over 500 students. It operates a fleet of 48 Rotax-powered training aircraft and has a team of 100 employees, including more 67 instructors. Soar has facilities at the Moorabbin Airport in Melbourne, Australia and at the Bankstown and Bendigo airports in Sydney, stated Tecnam. France — The same month as the Aussie sale, Tecnam said they took an order for four P2010 MkII four-seat aircraft from Air Paris Academy based at the Tours Airport. Tecnam describes their P Twenty Ten as "the first new single-engine, high-wing, four-seat aircraft from Tecnam that brings together an advanced technology all carbon fibre fuselage with a metal wing and stabilator." Just a month earlier, Tecnam announced that Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand validated the Tecnam P2010 based on the EASA Type Certificate including a 215 horsepower version of the Lycoming IO390-C3B6 powerplant. Tecnam's large portfolio of aircraft from LSA and sport aircraft to four seat GA aircraft to twin engine personal aircraft to the new 11-seat regional airliner makes for an active company rapidly growing to be one of the world's aviation powerhouses.
This week kicks off the truly gigantic trade show known by its sponsoring organization’s abbreviation: NBAA, or in common lingo, “Enn, Bee, Double A.” While not taking up the extensive terra firms of Oshkosh, NBAA actually has more paying exhibitors. They even tow aircraft down city streets in the dark of night so a reported 100 aircraft can be on display at the Orlando Civic Center. The show has become so large that supposedly only two U.S. convention centers are big enough to contain the sprawling affair: Las Vegas and Orlando. The latter is just down the street for me so every other year I go and look for something to report amidst my wandering around astonished at the sheer size of the event and how much money gets spent for a three-day show. I always find something of interest to the light aviation, recreational flying community. This year, I’m on the lookout for Tecnam, one of this website’s longtime sponsors and surely the largest company serving up Light-Sport Aircraft around the world.
Welcoming Steve Beste"I'm a retired computer guy and trike pilot who loves databases," Steve told me. He used his special set of skills to download FAA's aircraft registration database to compile statistics on gyroplane registrations, focused on the new European-style gyroplanes. As you can see, AutoGyro is the clear market leader at 52% with 163 aircraft of 312 gyroplanes registered with FAA. The German builder is trailed by Magni in the #2 slot at 18% with 56 registrations. A new American manufacturer, SilverLight Aviation, has quickly tied Spanish producer ELA for third at 8% with 26 aircraft registered for each. After that it trails off more quickly as Steve's chart shows. More details about other brands will be chronicled in an article to follow. For 2018 through July 23rd, Magni shows its strength by slightly beating AutoGyro U.S. registrations. As always, note that confirmed sales and registrations may not match precisely. In addition, much more of 2018 remains. In slightly more than half a year, gyroplanes registered 58 aircraft putting them on track to exceed 100 for the year. To offer perspective, this figure is approaching half as many as SLSA fixed wing registrations in recent full years. So far this year, Magni has 15 registrations to AutoGyro's 14 for 26% and 24% shares totaling half of total U.S. gyroplane registrations. SilverLight has registered 8 aircraft in 2018 for a 14% yearly share of 2018 to date. A less well recognized U.S. producer, Tango, is having a respectable year, with 9 registrations accounting for 16% in 2018 so far. Tango is trailed by ELA with 6 registrations (10%), Australia's Titanium and Italy's Brako tied at 3 for 5% each. One interesting point: only Tango and Brako offer a single place gyroplane; all others are two place machines.
Much More Data to Follow!Steve Beste and I have been discussing him providing database research to allow this website to continue providing LSA Market Share Info. Many visitors have written to ask; indeed, we are way behind on this effort. The delay is ending. After Steve gets time to study the previous work and methods, he has proposed some wonderful improvements. About the special skills he can offer, Steve wrote, "I'm a retired computer guy and trike pilot who loves databases." Well, that certainly sounds perfect to me. "I'm also the president of Flying Club 1, which was the original USUA Chapter 1," Steve added. "Regarding the FAA database, I'd very much like to reach beyond just [fixed wing] airplanes, partly because I'm a trike pilot, myself. I think that's entirely possible." Given this background, his obvious enthusiasm for this work, and the keen interest of many in light aviation, I am exceedingly pleased to welcome Steve to this website. "[However, FAA's] data is not clean," Steve observed. I am well aware of this problem. Uncertainty about data accuracy of "alternative" LSA is why we have reported fixed wing Special LSA, only offering guesses for weight shift trikes, powered parachutes, gyroplanes, motorgliders, and more. However, we hope that will now change and our market share reporting will be more inclusive. Hurray! Problems in FAA's database is not caused by incompetent clerks. Agency personnel must sort through inconsistently-reported aircraft. If, as Steve pointed out in one example, the registered name of the aircraft is slightly different, it won't show up on a casual investigation. He added, "There's no end of that kind of thing …just so we know the limitations on this exercise. But with that understanding, I love this kind of thing, I have the skills to do it, and would be honored to support your good work for the sport." All such reporting will be available on the home page when fresh and catalogued on its own space found by this link. Wonderful, simply wonderful! Please welcome Steve Beste as a new contributor to ByDanJohnson.com!
UPDATE September 26, 2018 — In the article above, I inadvertently suggested SilverLight and their American Ranger gyroplane was the first or only U.S. producer of such aircraft. That is not what I intended but some readers viewed it that way. Allow me to bring your attention to two other producers.
Sport Copter & Rotor Flight DynamicsBased in Oregon, Sport Copter is a long established, second-generation family business started in 1958. Chuck Vanek was one of the early pioneers of gyroplane design and development beginning his work in 1957. Chuck's son Jim Vanek took over the business and revamped the Vancraft designs. He said his "award-winning, world’s-first, two-place gyroplane took the prestigious Charles Lindbergh award at the Oshkosh airshow in 1985." The company also reports his Sport Copter II design was voted as one of the Top Ten Best Designs at AirVenture in 2011. An airshow performer, Jim said he wrote the parameters and guidelines for gyroplane looping for the FAA in 1998 after performing the world’s first loop in a conventional gyroplane, in 1997. The company's website reports, "He is the only gyro pilot in the world that holds an International Council of Air Shows card for gyroplane looping and rolling." Don't even think about trying this yourself, however. Rotor Flight Dynamics, founded and run by Ernie Boyette, produces a two place and single variations of their Dominator line. Sold as kit aircraft, the two-place model can be powered by Hirth four-cylinder engines, Subaru/AutoFlight EA-81, or the 115-horsepower Rotax 914 Turbo. The company said, "We offer 22 thru 28 foot rotor blades of our own design with a lift capability from ultralight thru 1,200 pounds gross weight." They added, "We are the only manufacturer that test flies all blade sets prior to shipping." For export, Rotor Flight will fully build their aircraft but in the USA, FAA will only permit them to deliver kits, the same as all gyroplane producers. As with all the modern gyroplanes, Rotor Flight uses a substantial tailplane. "The Dominator [series of one and two-place machines] incorporate the Tall Tail design for stability." Asked how their product differs, the company's website states, "What makes the Dominator so unique is its high profile design. It sits up very high off the ground."
Updated September 26, 2018 — This article has been updated to include more producers. See at bottom. —DJ Over many years, you have found LSA market share information on this website. Many have found this of interest …from businesses learning more about their market; to customers doing careful investigation before paying tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for a new aircraft; to government fulfilling its task of regulating industry; to insurance companies assessing risk of providing their product; and many other actors in the blockbuster movie that is light, recreational aviation. I will have more to say about the broader LSA market share reports below but now I want to present the best information I have seen for Light-Sport Aircraft Gyroplanes. …uh, except for one problem. No such aircraft category exists, SLSA gyroplanes, that is. FAA has denied fully-built Special LSA status to rotary winged aircraft such as gyroplanes.
Tallying Tecnam's SuccessTecnam can claim more than 6,500 aircraft flying worldwide. The majority of this fleet are European-style ultralights and Light-Sport Aircraft. Of this large number of aircraft flying the P92 model counts for close to half the total. While the company has branched out to larger aircraft and specialty aircraft, they continue to develop and build aircraft that recreational pilots enjoy.
Hybrid Tecnam with Rotax and SiemensTecnam is a big buyer of Rotax engines as well as Lycomings but they are exploring hybrid electric propulsion as well and they are doing so in collaboration with some leading brands in the game.
In mid-May 2018, Tecnam announced a program the name of which only an engineer could love: H3PS (an acronym for “High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain”). The kick-off meeting took place in Capua (Italy), at Tecnam headquarters because the airframe maker is coordinating the project.R&D departments from Tecnam, Rotax, and Siemens are joining their experience to present an alternative propulsion system that they say "will dramatically reduce environmental impact of today’s General Aviation four seat aircraft."
Dual Approvals Down UnderTecnam announced recently that the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand validated Tecnam’s four seat P2010 based on the company’s EASA type certificate using the 215 horsepower version of the Lycoming IO-390 engine. Tecnam is one of handful of manufacturers able and capable to produce Type Certified aircraft using both metal and composite components. P2010 employs an all-carbon-fiber fuselage with metal wings and stabilator. To serve down-under customers, Tecnam established a corporate presence in Australia last fall, mimicking the effort made in the company’s Sebring, Florida operation to support U.S. sales and service. Active globally, Tecnam is also pursuing other markets for their Light-Sport Aircraft, or in Canada's description, Advanced Ultralights. Here's our article on the company success with America's northern neighbor. Tecnam models are sold and serviced in more than 65 countries.
Picture PlatformTecnam also recently announced EASA and FAA certification approval for the Leica CityMapper installation on the P2006T SMP. The Leica CityMapper is specifically designed for 3D city modelling and urban mapping. It is the world’s first hybrid airborne sensor combining both oblique and nadir imaging as well as a LiDAR system. Tecnam has a large staff to accomplish these diverse projects while building as many as four aircraft a week. Even with many employees, however, this is a impressive penetration of all aviation's nooks and crannies.
The big Italian company that LSA enthusiasts know very well through models such as P92, Sierra, and P2008 has a large and growing presence in global aviation. Their developments are broad and delve into aviation segments large and small. They are also getting ready to celebrate a benchmark birthday. This year Tecnam Costruzioni Aeronautiche — most pilots simply say “Tecnam” — will celebrate its 70th birthday. Born in 1948, the company has changed names but the Pascale brothers kicked off their flying enterprise with the original Astore in 1948. If you are a Tecnam fan, you probably recognize Astore as one of their newest LSA models. Here’s our video with Tecnam boss Paolo Pascale celebrating what was then their 65th birthday, which they honored by releasing their most luxurious LSA so far …naming it after the brothers’ first airplane. Paolo is the current director of Tecnam but he follows in the shoes of one of the founding brothers, “Uncle Luigi” (Professor Luigi “Gino” Pascale).
First Impressions of 915iSI flew in each aircraft with Rotax's Christian Sixt, an American flight school-trained pilot with an impressive list of FAA certificates. Naturally, he is also intimate with the 915iS. Starting was as with any Rotax 9-series engine I’ve ever flown. Immediately the engine burst to life. One difference from prior experience was the “Stock Box” instrument (more formally, Stock Flight Systems Engine Monitoring Unit or EMU) developed by Michael Stock in collaboration with Rotax. Michael is the key man behind the Aerotech/Rotax/Searey/MT Prop project to develop and refine a single lever control for light aircraft (see our video explaining this, or read our article). The Stock Box proved most helpful in observing many factors about the new engine. As you can see in the nearby images, it provides, among other information, a percentage of throttle, fuel burn, and engine revolutions plus prop speed expressed via manifold pressure. If the latter is not familiar to you, don’t worry about the detail for now but see an important point below*. Soon after advancing the throttle, I noticed greater acceleration but two other parameters were more obvious. The climb angle seemed vigorously steep, although this was my first experience in an Aquila aircraft so I had no basis of comparison. Nothing like a 40% boost in power to launch an aircraft into the sky. As the fast car guys say, "Speed costs money. How fast do you want to go?" Fuel consumption was higher than I expected, but speed was also higher. To get below 3 gph, a surprisingly low consumption rate, speed dropped below 100 knots true or 85 indicated. When zipping along faster than 170 miles an hour true, consumption rose to the 7-9 gph range. The 915iS fuel injected, turbocharged, and intercooled engine can produce 141 horsepower for five minutes, then sustain 135 horsepower indefinitely. Once at altitude, Christian demonstrated use of the throttle and prop controls — this was not a single lever control airplane — to adjust for speed or economy. As you can see in the contrasting Stock Box images, we saw as low as 2.8 gallons per hour resulting, of course, in lower speed flight. Christian demonstrated that you can move the throttle and prop control without my experience of adjusting each very cautiously and slowly. Christian jockeyed them around liberally without detriment. A key reason this is possible is because of liquid cooling versus my older experience in air-cooled legacy engines, for example, in a Cessna 182 Skylane. A fellow aviation journalist — a pilot of 300 different aircraft — Dave Unwin felt the 915 started "softer." He also felt it seemed to run slightly smoother. Rotax engine experts felt most of this is attributable to software and the same code can also be applied to the 912iS.
Compared to the 912iSRotax aircraft engine manager Marc Becker arranged a second flight with Christian, this time in a Diamond Katana powered by a Rotax 912iS. While from different manufacturers the two airframes I tested were more alike than different. Although I loved the power of the 915iS with its shortened takeoff roll, thrilling climb to altitude, low-speed fuel economy, and quiet running, the 912iS is more my kind of engine. It was still powerful. Climb was 1,000 fpm. It has proven reliability. Mainly, though, I felt the 912iS engine is better suited to the light aircraft I cover on this website. To me, the 915iS is better suited to larger (heavier) aircraft or those serving particular missions, such as LSA seaplanes or aircraft operating from high elevation fields. In flying the 915iS I revisited the task of managing throttle and prop controls. I have constant speed prop time, a fair bit of it, but that was some years in my past. What the refreshed experience told me is that FAA was right to say this is unnecessarily complex for recreational pilots. While not especially hard — you can hardly get in trouble with such equipment on a modern, liquid-cooled Rotax — you nonetheless have to fiddle with levers and knobs, and keep an eye on instruments. It is more than most sport pilots may prefer and more than some should manage perhaps. Hence the push for single lever control, a simpler way to handle in-flight prop control. Experienced pilots may prefer the control implied by working the levers just as some drivers prefer a stick shift car to an automatic transmission. For everyone else simplicity is probably best. Now a few years after the 912iS was released, it has become a well refined engine, IF it is installed according to Rotax’s manual and instructions. Yet for those who yearn for more power or are building an aircraft of higher capabilities, the 915iS is going to be a welcome powerplant. It does come with a few costs, as did the 912iS fuel injected engine compared to the 912ULS carbureted engine. Marc Becker summarized, "The 915iS is about 12 kilos (26 pounds) more for the engine only; 40-50 more pounds when installed and about €3,000 ($3,750 at today's exchange rates) more than the 914." It is significantly more than the 912iS, as you should expect for an engine with substantially more power and the ability to use that power up to higher altitudes. Fuel needs of both 915iS and 912iS are essentially the same. Thomas Uhr, head of Rotax's Austria plant and a longtime engine expert and enthusiast — and also a pilot — advises the highest octane auto fuel, preferably without alcohol, to get the most power and best results. He also explained that (perhaps surprisingly to some readers) the 915iS compression ratio is lower to allow for the turbo boost. "Stress is actually a little less therefore with the turbo engine," he said. Rotax's 915iS uses the same displacement as the 912iS. In a weight-to-power comparison — grams per kilowatt hour — fuel consumption is only about 6% higher in the more powerful engine.
Entering the MarketMarc indicated that 200 915iS engines have been delivered into the Rotax network including distributors around the globe. Of these, "120 are now with end customers," he noted. "About 20 different airframes are flying today." Some 46 different manufacturers are working to prepare the new powerplant. "Our expectation is to have 400 engines out in the field by year end," Marc added. * On the point about an in-flight adjustable or constant speed prop, Rotax Aircraft Engines top boss Thomas Uhr made an important statement when I asked about fixed pitch props on the 915, “All our engines can use fixed pitch props.” As a leader of a public company, he spoke carefully, but the suggestion was clear: Yes, a fixed pitch 915iS is coming, although today the engine is only driving an in-flight adjustable prop.
April has been busy… starting with a week of Sun ‘n Fun; then a gathering of LSA seaplanes at my home airport the day after; followed by three days of Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany (it runs four days but I had to miss the first); concluding with a journalists-only event at Rotax Aircraft Engines. As a result, my posts to this website may be out of date order but the good news… I have lots to report. I will cover many aircraft stories, but allow me to take the most recent first: flying the brand-new Rotax 915iS and comparing it to the 912iS, although not in the same airframe. Other than official Rotax pilots and select airframe builders, we were among the first to experience the powerful new engine from the world’s leading producer of engines for light aircraft. First Impressions of 915iS I flew in each aircraft with Rotax’s Christian Sixt, an American flight school-trained pilot with an impressive list of FAA certificates.
Yes, yes, I know — in-flight adjustable props are not permitted on U.S. Light-Sport Aircraft by regulation. They are allowed in many other countries, such as most of Europe, but not in America …well, yet at least. A new investigation with FAA regarding the safety possibilities — and very simple operation — of such equipment has the federal agency at least considering a way it could be introduced to Yankee pilots. That’s great news and we commend the FAA for listening. We referred the following video to agency executives so they can see how the idea works: a single throttle-like lever that not only affects engine speed but also prop pitch adjustment, without the pilot having to do anything more than specify what he or she desires by the position of that single lever control. Learn the details in this video.
Sky Arrow Aircraft (USA)Marco Cavazzoni, long associated with Boeing, told me at AirVenture 2017 that a big change was underway. Now I have fresh info and the plan is coming to fruition. Sky Arrow has long been well represented by Hansen Air Group. The Atlanta-based importer introduced Americans to the composite aircraft and has sold to and supported the U.S. buyers of this handsome and very well flying aircraft. Now, Sky Arrow USA is a company that is a subsidiary of Magnaghi ("Mag-NAH-hee"), the large Italian company that took over after the previous producer — using an Italian name often shorted to III or Triple-I for easier English-speaker reference — got into financial trouble. Magnaghi earns its main income producing complex assemblies such as landing gear legs and wheels for airliners. To such a large company, Sky Arrow must seem a hobby project but it is one they are serious about as the plane has many possibilities. Sky Arrow won its LSA acceptance by FAA (arranged by the Hansen team), but another variant has Part 23 approval due to a policy called reciprocity where a foreign certification can be accepted by FAA. This gives Sky Arrow USA many possibilities for commercial use of the aircraft and their website reflects these ambitions. Marco is the U.S. man that will run the U.S. operation for Magnaghi as he and his team work to set up full manufacturing in the USA. This is underway now. To learn more as they prepare for full activity, call 855-4-FlySky or send an email. When editing can be finished, we recorded a video with Marco in which he explains the plans more fully.
Aeroeast USA and Discovery 600At the 25th anniversary of the Rotax 912 engine, at a fine event the big Austrian company organized at their home airfield, I had a chance to fly an airplane Americans do not know. This was the Sila 450 and I flew with company boss, Matic “Mago” Milorad. Here's the article I wrote. I described this experience but soon thereafter I was called to account for allegedly trampling on the rights of a Columbian designer who claimed the Serbian company had no right to produce it. At Sun 'n Fun 2018, I was shown documents and photos that appear to show contracts were properly executed. I am not a lawyer but it certainly looks like my earlier apology may have been in error. All that aside, the original claim is mostly irrelevant as many changes have been made to the airplane now known as the Discovery 600. The American-specific Discovery 600 (the original model was the Sila 450, though it has changed a lot in four years) will be headquartered in Portage Indiana under the name Aero East USA. Flight activities will occur at the nearby Valparaiso airport. U.S. operations will be run by Danny Labovic, a 50% partner with Milorad in the new venture. We interviewed Danny and Mago in Lakeland. Initial production will be mostly done in Serbia, but as the U.S. operation gears up, raw materials such as aluminum sheet that have come from American sources will be partially prepared in the U.S., sent to Serbia for labor-intensive work by Serbians, and returned to American for final assembly and fitting of components such as avionics and engines that come from still other countries, including the USA. Though this may sound complex, it is very similar to what Boeing and Airbus do as they build airlines. It works for small companies, too. I expect to report more on both projects — Sky Arrow and Discovery 600 — as they progress but our videos will fill in gaps in the meantime. Whatever way these projects evolve, it is interesting to see manufacturing come to American shores. Mr. Trump may be smiling, but much more important is the satisfaction of American pilots who will be given more aircraft choices. Welcome to more of a famous label… Made in the USA.
When most pilots think of imports, they assume a foreign manufacturer builds an aircraft in another country, finds a U.S. representative, and sends their product here. That’s certainly the standard practice. For years, especially after the fall of Communism and the opening of Eastern European nations, rates of pay for highly qualified workers was so low that building in America was considered by many to be noncompetitive. Slowly, though, the situation has changed and now American production makes more sense, at least when the company intends to sell to Yankee pilots. At Sun ‘n Fun 2018 I uncovered two new projects; one about which I had some knowledge, another that surprised me. Sky Arrow Aircraft (USA) Marco Cavazzoni, long associated with Boeing, told me at AirVenture 2017 that a big change was underway. Now I have fresh info and the plan is coming to fruition. Sky Arrow has long been well represented by Hansen Air Group.
What Sets Apart Rotorvox?Structurally, the C2A is largely carbon-fiber monocoque construction. This is notably different than the majority of smooth-looking gyroplanes. Most are steel structure with a composite pod. Rotorvox's fuselage is also engineered to provide a protective cell for the occupants. A few other side-by-side seating gyroplanes are on the market, including Cavalon from AutoGyro, the far and away market leader. Rotorvox's version employs the carbon structure to provide such seating, which means it can double as a very inexpensive air ambulance. Entry is also different with a forward-hinged, three-piece canopy. Above the occupants, you see a faired pylon that supports a two-blade aluminium rotor pushed by a Rotax 914 turbocharged engine swinging a three-blade prop. As with nearly all modern gyroplanes, Rotorvox's rotor offers hydraulic pre-rotation before takeoff. Another big departure from most gyroplanes are flat-sided tail booms separated from the fuselage on lateral structures. Each boom supports a tapered fin and rudder with ventral fins. C2A has a short-legged, wide track tricycle undercarriage that should aid ground stability. The main gear uses trailing link main gear with elastomer shock absorption. Rotorvox reports two prototypes were flown during five years of development before C2A deliveries began in October 2014.
- Seating — Side by side
- Length — 18 feet fuselage; rotors 27.5 feet)
- Width — 7.24 feet
- Height — 9.3 feet
- Gross weight — 1,235 pounds
- Fuel capacity — 24 gallons
- Powerplant — Rotax 914 turbo 115 horsepower (limited duration) / 100 horsepower continuous
- Main rotor diameter — 27.5 feet, two aluminium blades with NACA 8H12 airfoil
- Propeller: 3-blade, 69 inch diameter
- Cruise speed: 90 mph / 78 knots
- Never-exceed speed: 102 mph / 89 knots
- Range: 375 statute miles / 324 nautical miles
- Endurance maximum — 6 hours
Besides LSA seaplanes, one area of furious development (and sales) is gyroplanes, the term modern industry prefers to “gyrocopter,” which was actually a branded name used since the days of Igor Benson. A new player, arriving on the scene about five years ago, is Rotorvox. Americans have not seen this aircraft but will soon get an opportunity at Sun ‘n Fun 2018 at Booth #30 in Paradise City. Demonstration flights will occur throughout the week. What Sets Apart Rotorvox? Structurally, the C2A is largely carbon-fiber monocoque construction. This is notably different than the majority of smooth-looking gyroplanes. Most are steel structure with a composite pod. Rotorvox’s fuselage is also engineered to provide a protective cell for the occupants. A few other side-by-side seating gyroplanes are on the market, including Cavalon from AutoGyro, the far and away market leader. Rotorvox’s version employs the carbon structure to provide such seating, which means it can double as a very inexpensive air ambulance.
Flying 915iSWe've reported that several airframe manufacturers — "OEMs" in Rotax's preferred language — have been flying with the newest engine from market-leading Rotax. Enthusiasm for the 915iS is broad. The rollout of this engine was carefully planned by Rotax to ensure good end-customer experiences. As the powerplant has added complexity with the turbo charger and intercooler and carries a higher price tag, good preparation is essential.
Bryan enthusiastically reported, "I had a recent opportunity to fly with the 915is on Rotax guru, Ronnie Smith's Rans S-7 that he is testing. I was very impressed!" Ronnie, proprietor of South Mississippi Light Aircraft has been a Rotax expert for many years and you can often see him and his signature smile — and his Mississippi drawl — in the Rotax booth just inside the main entrance at Sun 'n Fun.
Bryan is likewise doing his job as head of operations for CPS. "I was also able to visit the factory in October 2017 to do some training on the new engine." I am very pleased with the design and performance it offers."So keen is his approval that Bryan added, "I am sure within the next few months one of these beautiful wooden crates will be arriving with my name on it." Can you feel his smile? For pilots, builders, or repair shops interested in information on the 915is, or for those ready to place an order please visit the California Power Systems website, or call 800-247-9653.
As the 2018 flying season launches, a long-awaited powerplant from Rotax Aircraft Engines is beginning to arrive in the USA and to be shipped on to customers for installation. Pilots and builders seeking more power can welcome the Rotax 915iS fuel-injected, turbo-charged, intercooler-equipped 135-horsepower engine. Talk about a kick in the pants! The engine recently won certification for use on aircraft where such approvals are valuable. “California Power Systems is proud to announce the first customer delivery of a Rotax 915iS going to Mark and Alina Pringle of Rocky Mountain Kit Planes to install in a Rans S-21 Outbound,” reported Bryan Toepfer, operations manager of CPS, an enterprise related to mail order behemoth, Aircraft Spruce. “We have another one shipping today for a customer building a Just Aircraft SuperSTOL,” Bryan noted. He continued, “Two more are on the way from Rotax in Austria to be installed in a couple of gyros.” According to California Power Systems — a major supplier and service organization for Rotax — customer demand has been high.
Very Light to Very HeavyTalk about your short takeoff… I just witnessed the successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch, a test flight aiming to transport a Tesla Roadster to Mars. Because I live near Daytona Beach, Florida, I often get to observe rocket launches live. Sheesh! These two accomplishments could hardly be further apart and I don't mean geographically. The space geek in me is always drawn outside to my back yard to get a wonderful view of a launch. I've been privileged to see many, including all the final Space Shuttle launches. With my neighbors who live on the 12th fairway of the golf course at Spruce Creek Fly In, we stood on a pleasantly warm day to see this ground-breaking launch. While we could not see the return of all three rockets, they landed successfully, two on terra firma and one on SpaceX's barge at sea. Because we are about 50 miles away, the sound of these (count 'em) 27 rocket motors traveled to Daytona in about four minutes. The rumbling from those huge motors throbbed on and on, longer than any launch I can remember. The winds need to be rather calm for the sound to travel this far and today we got lucky. Cool! Go private space companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and others. I'm a NASA fan, too, but I want to see these private enterprises take the baton and race outward to the planets …and it's happening. I just hope that Tesla can find a parking spot when it gets to Mars orbit. https://youtu.be/RSc__x0rO9k https://youtu.be/Tk338VXcb24
Sebastien Heintz of Zenith Aircraft in Mexico, Missouri is one of the more vigorous promoters in light aviation. He and his 25-year-old company are all over social media and advertise in big magazines. This week his news came from about as far away as possible, from way down under in New Zealand. “A Zenith STOL, expertly piloted by Deane Philip, was the winner of the New Zealand Bush Pilot Championships in Omaka, New Zealand, on Saturday, February 3, 2017,” reported Sebastien. Deane won with a take-off distance of just 12.6 meters (41.3 feet) and a landing roll of 14.7 meters (48.2 feet). See the video below. By any measure, that is very, very short. “Another Zenith STOL aircraft, piloted by Chris Anderson, took second place,” bragged Sebastien. In third place was a Rans S6 for third place in the Sport Pilot (under 1,325 pound) category. Deane’s STOL CH 701 is powered by a 130-horsepower Viking engine.
See Merlin at Sebring 2018.Two HKS-powered Merlins will be at Sebring, Aeromarine LSA reported. “We will bring a Merlin from our build program that isn’t yet 100% completed,” said Chip. "That will give people a chance to see how easy it is to build their own Merlin.” The fully enclosed Merlin claims to be one of the quickest-build 51% kits available. I went to observe a customer building his own Merlin to see how easy and quick it really was. I came away suitably impressed. "So complete and builder-ready is the Quick Build Kit that most major assemblies and skins are already tacked into position for shipping (using colored soft rivets)," Chip explained, "requiring the builder to actually do some disassembly to bring it to the 51% stage." “There is no 'Slow Build' option,” deadpanned Erwin in his characteristic humor. “Precision matched-hole technology means that the holes punched are not just pilot holes; the accuracy is so high that holes in the skins match the holes in the ribs and bulkheads at final size, so next to zero drilling is required," Chip said. "This precision saves dozens if not hundreds of assembly time hours.” My own eyes proved to me that this precision matched-hole technology works as advertised. The all-metal Merlin PSA is presently flying in several European countries and in the USA today powered with both the more economical Rotax 582 and the HKS powerplant. Merlin PSA quick-build kits with the HKS are now being delivered in the USA with delivery positions available for delivery this spring, Aeromarine LSA reports; some slots remain for the Builders’ Center, as well. The kit (without engine, instruments, and paint) has an introductory price of only $16,500. Depending on engine, BRS, and panel options, completed and painted aircraft cost from $35,000 to $50,000. That's quite affordable by most budgets.
Along with many others, I’m sure, I’m presently en route from Daytona Beach to Sebring, Florida as the 2018 or 14th running of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo is about to begin. It opens tomorrow, January 24th. By the way, it’s 82 degrees today and the forecast looks reasonably good. C’mon down! Fresh news is breaking about the first flights of the HKS 700E-powered Merlin PSA from Aeromarine LSA. Reporting from Lakeland, Florida yesterday, Aeromarine LSA boss Chip Erwin observed, “[Merlin with HKS is] remarkable, the difference in the feel of the airplane.” Chip’s single seater is proving increasingly popular as he logs sales for his one-seater Merlin PSA (Personal Sport Aircraft). Having flown a number of airplanes with the smooth-running, throaty-sounding, fuel-efficient HKS, I predict continued good fortune for Aeromarine LSA. So many pilots prefer a four-stroke to a two-stroke, that — right or wrong — I imagine the Japanese engine could accelerate sales.
What a great Christmas present for the Rotax Aircraft Engine team members (lower photo). The latest powerplant from the Austrian company that supplies a large majority of the powerplants for aircraft covered on this website will soon become available. The company announced from their headquarters in Gunskirchen, Austria that on December 19th, 2017, they received a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Type Certificate (TC) for its new Rotax 915 iSc3 engine. Some companies, such as BRM Aero, have been testing the new advanced, fuel injected, intercooled engine. It is the most powerful model ever for light aircraft from Rotax. All airframe makers will probably be surprised that the final version yields even more power. “The EASA TC allows BRP-Rotax to [begin] producing the certified 915 iSc3 A engine for the European market thus allowing us to fulfill the request of our customers for a more powerful Rotax aircraft engine with proven reliability,” said Thomas Uhr, general manager BRP- Rotax, vice president Powertrain BRP.
In the late ’90s, an earlier iteration of Remos Aircraft delivered their first aircraft, a G-3 Mirage, originally designed by the very talented Lorenz Kreitmeyer. That was twenty years ago. Recently, the Pasewalk, Germany company delivered serial number 450. Susanne and Harmut Lang, the new owners of the GXNXT — known as a GXnXES in the United States — took possession at their aircraft after it was flown to Bremgarten in southern Germany by Remos engineer Paul Foltz. The Lang’s new GXNXT is equipped with the latest avionics by Dynon and Garmin. Upon receipt of the aircraft, Harmut Lang said: “The Remos GXNXT suits our needs perfectly [and] the flight characteristics are amazing and the quality of this aircraft is well known.” If you are confused by the model name, that could be because attention has been focused on the GXiS model that won European ultralight approval recently. Even more recently, the company made news regarding its new owner, Stemme Aircraft.
- Maximum Cruise: 280 km/h — 175 mph — 152 knots
- Eco (lower fuel consuming) Cruise: 260 km/h — 163 mph — 141 knots
- Fuel Burn in Eco mode: 23 liters/hour — 6 gallons per hour
- Fuel Translation: 27.16 statute miles per gallon at 163 mph
Surely all readers know that Rotax-brand engines dominate the light aircraft landscape. The company owns something like 75% or more of the global market and close to that in the USA. Some worthy competitors are keeping the pressure on, but Rotax continues forward. The engine-to-follow is their new turbo-intercooler-fuel injected 135-horsepower 915 iS variant. Rotax Aircraft Engines first announced this new model at AirVenture 2015; see our video interview for details and go to the official 915 iS page for even more. In the press conference where the engine was unveiled, many in the standing-room-only audience were airframe manufacturers. As soon as the management and engineering team was done presenting, they quickly swarmed over the powerplant. You could almost see the wheels turning in their minds as they contemplated how they could fit and use this machine in their aircraft. That was almost two years ago — AirVenture Oshkosh is only about 75 days away!
KLA-100 FeaturesLong-span slotted flaps feature another proprietary airfoil developed in South Korea to slow the KLA-100 for low landing speeds and gentle stalls. The companies reported that wide chord ailerons allowed precise control and minimal adverse yaw. The blended winglets round out the wing tips and reduce drag, increase climb and give the KLA-100 a distinctive ramp presence. KLA-100 is powered by 100 horsepower (74 KW) from a fuel injected Rotax 912iS. The panel holds a Garmin G3X avionics suite combined with a Garmin GTN-650 MFD, Garmin GTX-335 Mode ES ADS-B out transponder, and optional Garmin two axis autopilot. A Stratos Magnum 601 advanced AEPS rescue system is integrated into the airframe. Flight Design and the Vessel employed modern construction techniques. The cockpit’s carbon-aramid composite safety cell helps to protect the occupants. The engine mount and carbon fuselage attach points reduce the possibility of engine intrusion into the occupant's safety cell. For more details, see this earlier article. For more information visit Flight Design or Vessel.
Recently, Vessel Co., Ltd., and Flight Design made a joint announcement after debuting their new KLA-100 low-wing, light aircraft at Aero Friedrichshafen 2017. Few expected this from the make of the very popular CT-series most recently including the CTLSi. Through 2016, this has been the most popular Special LSA in America. The companies’ KLA-100 development program started quietly two years ago. “The first flight was performed in Sumperk, Czech Republic in late March 2017 with test pilot Richard Ponizil at the controls. Since that time the plane has made seven more flights and met all expectations,” said Flight Design COO, Daniel Gunther. KLA-100 is a brand new design destined to be certified as a Light Sport Aircraft for sale in countries that accept ASTM-compliant aircraft, with plans to meet the European EASA’s CS-LSA regulation. The companies think this will allow access to virtually every major aviation market in the world.
Could Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit aircraft, and even ultralights benefit from in-flight adjustable propellers? After more testing and data collection answering that question should be easier. Prominently displayed in front of the Rotax Aircraft Engines exhibit at Sun ‘n Fun — right at the main entrance to the large spring show — was a strikingly-painted Searey kit-built aircraft (photo). Why? The mission was to showcase how a Rotax-powered amphibian aircraft can get more push… without complexity. Named Searey ATD, Advanced Technology Demonstrator, the collaborators include Progressive Aerodyne, producer of the Searey, Rotax Aircraft Engines, and MT Propeller, all coordinated by key developer, RS Aerotech of Nassau, Bahamas. A joint news release said, “For the first time in the Light-Sport Aircraft category*, Searey ATD offers a single-lever operated constant speed propeller, which significantly improves performance and dramatically reduces power management complexity for the pilot.” Searey ATD “will be used for long-time testing of new engines, propellers, and electronic systems.” To serve this goal, Searey ATD has been equipped with a state-of-the-art flight data acquisition and reporting system, which combines engine data with aircraft and navigation data.” Called a “first time” accomplishment, Searey ATD can “automatically transmit its engine and aircraft data via LTE networks worldwide.” The data “will be used by Rotax to perform engine health monitoring” similar to what airlines do globally.
Rotax makes high power-to-weight ratio powerplants that fit in smaller cowlings. Liquid cooling addresses the challenges of keeping motors from overheating, especially in those in tighter engine compartments. Rotax engines are modern and they keep updating them. They can produce in higher volumes than some competitors, have highly regarded quality control, and their testing facility is state-of-the-art. These reasons and more explain the estimate 75% or higher market share the Austrian company enjoys.
The Austrian engine maker said that during Sun 'n Fun 2017 the Rotax Flying and Safety Club (RFSC) and BRP-Rotax will offer information sessions conducted by experienced RFSC instructors.
The special workshops are addressed to those who would like to learn more about Rotax aircraft engines in general and about the 100-horsepower Rotax 912 iS Sport aircraft engine installation in particular.
"Three different types of information sessions will be offered at booth SE15 near the main entrance gate," said a Rotax spokesperson. Throughout the week Sun 'n Fun attendees can register to attend one of the RFSC sessions right at the company's booth, however, they note seating is limited so they recommend interested parties reserve space early.An "Introduction of Rotax Aircraft Engines Familiarization Training" session is offered Tuesday (April 4th) to Saturday (April 8th) from 10:00 to 11:00 AM. This is available for everyone interested in the Rotax product line and it is free of charge.
On Tuesday to Friday from 1:00 to 2:00 PM, kit builders or aircraft developers considering use of the newer fuel-injected Rotax 912 iS Sport engine can attend the "Rotax 912iS Installation Information" session. This session is also free.
Professionals who work on Rotax engines for compensation can take a "RFSC independent Rotax Maintenance Technician (iRMT) Renewal Course" on Thursday April 6th from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. RFSC will cover Rotax 2-stroke maintenance tips.
Further workshops related to Rotax engines will be offered by Lockwood Aviation at Paradise City's forums area. Lockwood will present two iRMT Renewal Courses.
The first will be Wednesday April 5th from 10:30 to 11:45 AM covering "Rotax 2-stroke engine maintenance tips" while the second occurs on Thursday, April 6th from 10:30 to 11:45 AM covering "Rotax 912 / 914 service & operating tips." For these iRMT Renewal Courses please contact Lockwood Aviation at 863-655-5100.
At the same time as Sun 'n Fun is ongoing, the Aero Friedrichshafen's 25th anniversary 2017 event will be held in the picturesque town in the far south of Germany. Rotax will also offer training at this event.
Sessions are scheduled for Wednesday and Friday (5 and 7 April) from 1300 to 1500 offered in English; and on Thursday and Saturday (6 and 8 April) from 1300 to 1500 offered in German. All sessions are held in Room Schwarzwald."During these special training sessions the attendees will gain fascinating insights into the world of Rotax Aircraft Engines and the newest engine development, the Rotax 915 iS," said Rotax. This is their newest engine, a 135-horsepower variant of the 9-series engines and it will be on display on some LSA or LSA-like aircraft at the big German show. Interest should be keen for news about this highly-awaited powerplant.
Rotax is a major player in aircraft engines and the dominant producer for light aircraft. "With more than 175,000 engines sold in 40 years, Rotax aircraft engines lead the Light-Sport and ultralight aircraft market." The Austrian company has 19 authorized distributors and a network of more than 220 points of sale and repair centers supporting customers worldwide. "Rotax aircraft engines are supplied to more than 80% of all aircraft manufacturers in its segment," said the company's spokesperson.
Rotax also announced a new owner registration system. Why might this be important to operators of Rotax engines in the majority of LSA and many light kit aircraft?
"This new paperless engine registration process offers various advantages for Rotax aircraft engine owners," said the company. They listed three worthy reasons: (1) Rotax wants to know their customers and how their engines are operated; (2) customers who opt-in receive newsletters and new technical documentation directly from the manufacturer; and, (3) "In case of a reported engine theft, re-registration of this engine will be impossible." That might not get a stolen engine back but it may help deter theft in the first place.
Convinced? You should be. Go here to register.
How is it that Rotax so dominates the supply of engines to light aircraft? Many reasons might be cited but one is the superlative training they offer. For 2017, the company is going even further, now offering essential training opportunities to the legions who attend airshows in both the USA and Europe. Rotax makes high power-to-weight ratio powerplants that fit in smaller cowlings. Liquid cooling addresses the challenges of keeping motors from overheating, especially in those in tighter engine compartments. Rotax engines are modern and they keep updating them. They can produce in higher volumes than some competitors, have highly regarded quality control, and their testing facility is state-of-the-art. These reasons and more explain the estimate 75% or higher market share the Austrian company enjoys. The Austrian engine maker said that during Sun ‘n Fun 2017 the Rotax Flying and Safety Club (RFSC) and BRP-Rotax will offer information sessions conducted by experienced RFSC instructors.
Rotax Maintenance Classes — If you are a professional or wanna-be pro in the maintenance or overhaul of Rotax engines, you must take factory-approved training. You have choices in such training by recently California Power Systems announced a series of classes. • Rotax 2-Stroke Service Course is for technicians wanting to rebuild or maintain all water-cooled and air-cooled 2-stroke Rotax aircraft engines. Learn to perform a complete engine rebuild with failure analysis and a focus on preventative maintenance. —March 6-7, 2017. • Rotax 912 / 914 Service Class is for technicians wanting to service 912-series engines or owners wanting to do their own scheduled maintenance. This course will give any FAA A&P or LSA Repairman certificate holder the credentials to perform all scheduled maintenance and level #1 troubleshooting procedures. —March 8-9, 2017. • Other classes include: a 912 / 914 Maintenance Class for technicians wanting to perform more in depth maintenance tasks.
So, here's three aircraft you haven't seen before AirVenture 2016 plus a revised project involving an increasingly popular engine. I'll start off with a famous guy checking out a famous engine to propel one of my favorite airplanes. We begin our quick review with Lockwood Aircraft's AirCam.
Of course, you know his face. When I once heard Harrison Ford speak, he said modestly (paraphrased), "I earn a living making faces." I never thought of acting in such simple terms, but I accept such skills are part of the job. He's made faces successfully enough in many movies to be able to afford several fun airplanes and now he's getting into an AirCam. Developer/manufacturer Phil Lockwood said, "We were keeping a low profile to preserve [Harrison's] privacy but the cat is out of the bag now." As an AirCam fan myself, I predict Ford's facial repertoire will frequently include a broad smile.The newest and perhaps most unexpected aircraft at the show was SkyCruiser offered in the USA by U.S. Sport Aircraft based in Texas. This U.S importer has long represented Czech Sport Aircraft's SportCruiser, which has ranked up high on our market share report for years. Literature for the new model makes no mention of CSA, instead referring to Czech 4 Sky. Nevertheless, U.S. Sport Aircraft boss, Patrick Arnzen indicated he would bring in the new model from CSA.
In this article I am covering aircraft that seem to be pushing the envelope but a sign of maturity in the LSA segment shows developments in all directions. One of those is a return to simpler, easy-to-fly aircraft. Looking somewhat like another very successful design, Aerotrek's A220, SkyCruiser represents a model from about one decade back. When the LSA regulation first created aviation's newest segment the typical customer was often someone seeking a carbon fiber speedster with autopilot, a full glass panel, and all manner of bells and whistles. Many developers stepped up to fill that demand and simpler (less costly) designs were left behind. Now, they're back!
SkyCruiser, as seen on U.S. Sport Aircraft's Oshkosh space, is powered by a Rotax BRP 912 ULS, and tops out at 1,232 pound gross (88 pounds less than allowed as a SLSA). At a fairly modest 723 pounds empty, the taildragger still offers a 509 pound useful load or a payload of full fuel (17.6 gallons) and two 200-pound occupants with minimal baggage. Stall is listed at a slow 34 knots and maximum cruise is 86 knots. SkyCruiser appears to come well equipped with the latest from Dynon and more.Perhaps it is because of the success of CubCrafters, but the rush remains on for companies developing vintage-style aircraft with big engines. While Rotax continues to power the majority of light aircraft around the world using their ubiquitous 9-series engines, some builders want more. For slower airframes Cubalikes — to use a phrase coined by Bill Canino of Sportair USA, which also offers a muscular model in this same space — adding a massively powerful engine delivers supershort takeoffs and thrilling climb rates.
One engine is clearly winning the high-power race. Originally developed by Lycoming part maker Engine Components International, or ECi, the Titan X-340 has become a powerplant of choice for those seeking 180-horsepower. Other companies like UL Power and Viking also have potent engine offerings but after Continental Motors bought ECi in 2015, the Mobile, Alabama company has parlayed their famous brand into several entries in the light kit and Light-Sport space. Now enter the Kitfox Titan
One very slick Titan installation appeared on a factory Kitfox brought to Oshkosh by owner John McBean. His team always does impressive detail and finish work and the Kitfox Titan seen nearby was a prime example. An airplane that works extremely well with Rotax (still offered, of course) should be nothing short of spectacular with the big Titan engine doing the pulling. I can't wait to fly this one!It may look familiar (indeed it has some common heritage) but Triton America's SkyTrek is a significantly different airplane than those it resembles. The airframe is smoother with more sweeping lines aft of the canopy. The structure is beefed up and able to handle a higher G loading. The nosewheel has been strengthened to last better in flight school use.
A main difference in this model from others with similar overall looks is that SkyTrek is fabricated in China. Its principle designer, Tom Hsueh, has long been established in the USA and has worked with some of the largest aviation companies. Although Tom says, "I have a Chinese face," he works from offices in Washington State. His may be a new name to most readers, but I have been talking with Tom for a couple years and believe he can become a player in the U.S. marketplace as well as in China. To Triton's and Tom's credit, he reported the Chinese CAAC has certified SkyTrek for sale in that country.
Not only a new manufacturer of Light-Sport Aircraft, Tom has bigger ambitions. In 2009, Triton America, which does business as Triton Aerospace, acquired all the design rights and hardware inventory for Adam Aircraft, a company that formerly built and certified a six-seat, twin engine, twin-boom, pressurized, all-carbon-composite FAR 23 aircraft."To wind up this brief look of new flying machines we come back to Murphy Aircraft Manufacturing, still run by founder Darryl Murphy and still based in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. It's been nearly a decade since we saw any new light planes from this once-prolific producer. Darryl said that when the Canadian dollar soared high compared to the U.S. dollar, it became impossible to sell to Americans, by far his company's largest market. So, he used his large facility and impressive forming machinery to make aviation and other parts for different manufacturers. He seemed pleased about the return to building kits; welcome back, Darryl!
While showing his new Radical, Darryl indicated he's been hearing from potential customers that they'd like a Special LSA Rebel and he reports work is proceeding on that in parallel. Meanwhile he introduced a new model that goes hand-in-glove with the new batch of higher powered, higher gross weight aircraft taking several companies beyond the Light-Sport space. This may be one artifact of the EAA/AOPA push to eliminate the third class medical. Darryl acknowledged Rebel is a good foundation for the Radical, however, the new model is essentially a brand new design. "With more payload, more wing area, and capable of using engines up to 220 horsepower, [Radical] will incorporate many of the best features of the Rebel, Elite, Maverick and Super Rebel," he said.
Looking around Oshkosh, I found ultralight, light kit aircraft, and Light-Sport Aircraft all looking healthier than many seem to think. In addition, the arrival of the 180-horsepower Titan and even larger engines combined with higher gross weight/high payload designs seem created to appeal to those who no longer need a medical. The new program won't be effective for a year and still has hoops through which a pilot must jump, but it does open the door to new designs. Light aircraft engineers and manufacturers seem up to the task and customers appeared intrigued by their new offerings.
I'll have more from Oshkosh after catching up with other work, but I found the light sector very alive and doing quite well, with or without a third class medical.
In a show as vast at EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh, it is presumptuous to attempt covering everything of interest. What follows are some new aircraft I found in the categories I cover on this website. Other projects were certainly worthy of special note but with the goal of a fast dash through the latest and greatest, I’m keeping this one fairly lean. I’ll cover other developments in subsequent articles. So, here’s three aircraft you haven’t seen before AirVenture 2016 plus a revised project involving an increasingly popular engine. I’ll start off with a famous guy checking out a famous engine to propel one of my favorite airplanes. We begin our quick review with Lockwood Aircraft‘s AirCam. Of course, you know his face. When I once heard Harrison Ford speak, he said modestly (paraphrased), “I earn a living making faces.” I never thought of acting in such simple terms, but I accept such skills are part of the job.