CubCrafters now leads the field for Special LSA (see this report to learn more) thanks significantly to their early installation of the 180 horsepower Titan engine. Outback Shock is starting making waves in the sky with their impressive entry. Outback with Shock options is sold in America by SportairUSA. Both these companies are to be congratulated for advancing the light aircraft field, but one aircraft really lit this space on fire: Just Aircraft and their ground-breaking SuperSTOL. Just Aircraft went beyond vintage appeal by extending SuperSTOL ability with several distinctive features. “The dual slatted wing significantly enhanced performance and slow flight control,” said design engineer Troy Woodland. His SuperSTOL wing design incorporates self-deploying leading edge slats and wide span Fowler flaps to increase stall range. SuperSTOL also uses vortex generators to further stretch slow flight performance and handling (photo). “This provides access to considerably more off-airport landing sites, making the SuperSTOL one of the most versatile backcountry machines out there,” Troy added.
Just Aircraft SuperSTOL
Phone: (864) 718-0320Walhalla, SC 29691 - USA
Just Aircraft turns heads everywhere when they first introduced the SuperSTOL (STOL stands for short takeoff and landing). With a 100-horsepower Rotax 912, the aircraft was an awesome performer. Yet they saw even more potential. After installing a 180 horsepower, six cylinder UL Power 520i, they tackled installing the similarly potent motor from Continental, the Titan X-340. When Just Aircraft engineer Tory Woodland planned the installation, he realized they’d have to extend the fuselage to assure the right weight balance and control. They added two feet to the length but the climb rate is an astonishing 3,000 feet per minute. Hear more on this video.
Building a kit is part of the American aviation dream but it isn't for everyone. However, it is something anyone can learn. In this video we interview a husband and wife team -- Hutch and wife Ann -- who went to Just Aircraft to build their SuperSTOL (they are seated in the airplane for this video). Now, for those of you who aren't sure you can dedicate the time, Big Sky has an answer for you: come visit them and they'll give you expert assistance.
Building a kit is part of the American aviation dream but it isn’t for everyone. However, it is something anyone can learn. In this video we interview a husband and wife team — Hutch and wife Ann — who went to Just Aircraft to build their SuperSTOL (they are seated in the airplane for this video). Now, for those of you who aren’t sure you can dedicate the time, Big Sky has an answer for you: come visit them and they’ll give you expert assistance.
Article updated 2/16/16 — In a freshly-edited video (see at end), Just Aircraft key fellows Gary Schmidt and Troy Townsend provide extra comments and we add additional footage of SuperSTOL climbing strongly with the Titan. Even before Continental Motors took over the former ECi, that company’s Titan engine has been turning heads. CubCrafters was first to this party, installing the 180-horsepower engine on their Cubalike LSA, demonstrating very short takeoff rolls before climbing steeply. Since then, quite a few other producers have embraced the potent engine and more are coming. This development is sufficiently interesting that I am at work on an article about three “divisions” of powerplants for LSA, light kits, and ultralights. However, all other users of the Titan are unlike Just Aircraft’s SuperSTOL, which itself has turned many a head at airshow demonstrations. SuperSTOL was able to rivet pilots’ attention when it performed with the 100-horsepower Rotax 912, so imagine the neck-snapping twists that will occur when people get a chance to see how this moveable-slats airplane on tall, telescoping gear performs with 180 horses doing the pulling.
If you’ve read a newspaper or watched TV in the last couple decades, you might think America only imports stuff, mostly from China. Of course, that is ridiculously simplistic and just plain wrong but constant repetition of incorrect news may eventually convince people that it is the truth. At one time, it seemed all Light-Sport Aircraft also came from overseas. Indeed, in the earliest days of Light-Sport Aircraft, rules in Europe allowed fully-built aircraft that were very similar so those producers could more quickly enter the new sector. In 2005 and 2006, more than two-thirds of all LSA were imported. While imports remain a strong and important supply of worthy aircraft, an increasing number are now produced in the USA. American companies have caught up and are now arguably pulling ahead. This is true in the innovation of design, in production of ready-to-fly SLSA and in the kit market where American companies were always the strongest and have remained so.
In this Copperstate Part 2 article we resume the list of aircraft Videoman Dave and I reviewed at the show south of Phoenix, Arizona in Casa Grande. To remind you, this was the 43rd running of this show that invites all sorts of aircraft — and many dozens did fly in each day plus others did fly-over demonstrations. However, Copperstate generates a particularly strong response from manufacturers and representatives of Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit aircraft, and utralights. That makes it a must-go show for our team at ByDanJohnson.com and Dave’s SportAviationMagazine.com YouTube channel that so many of you seem to enjoy. Like other shows, many of you approached us at the event and expressed your ongoing interest in the video content we create. We are very pleased about your loyal viewership and will continue to work hard to build our growing video library … already at 400+ videos and moving steadily to 500 and beyond.
Boeing does it. Why not Just Aircraft? Of course, a stretched Boeing only transports more people somewhere. The experience is not more fun … maybe less so. Flying in a Just airplane will put a huge grin on your face and now it is a lot more likely to do so. Having experienced SuperSTOL with 100 horsepower, I can’t wait to get a shot at one with (trumpets blare here) 180 horsepower. Hoo-Rah! “To accommodate larger engines,” the company announced, “we introduce our new SuperSTOL Stretch XL.” By adding an extra two feet to the aft section of the fuselage and six inches up front, the SuperSTOL Stretch XL can now accommodate the new UL Power 520 engine series or Lycoming’s O-320 engine series that outputs 150-160 hp. A plain old — but still exciting — SuperSTOL is powered by the 100 horsepower Rotax 912 which weighs approximately 165 pounds, with accessories, or the 115 hp Rotax 914, weighing 175 pounds.
We’re off to the races … OK, the race track … OK, we’re off to Sebring, which happens to be alongside the Sebring International Raceway. Yep. It’s January so it’s again time for the Sebring Expo, this time number 11, the 2015 edition of the popular Florida show. I’ll be onsite for the four days, which this year is one day sooner, running Wednesday through Saturday. The plan makes it easier for vendors to stay to the end on Saturday and still have time to get home on Sunday so they can be back in their businesses on Monday. Every time I head to a show people contact me, including journalists from publications that don’t follow Light-Sport, light kits, ultralights, or light GA as closely as we do). The question is always the same. What new aircraft or products will we see at the show? …Uh, let me think.
The sixth annual Midwest LSA Expo just concluded. These LSA-only events offer a more intimate setting where you can speak at length with an aircraft or other product representative. They don’t offer the dense traffic of the big shows but the valued trade off is that nearly everyone who shows is interested. People came from as far as California and I witnessed many demo flights. The Mt. Vernon airport is as good as it gets for this purpose with easy access to big broad runways and plenty of open airspace. Lead by energetic Chris Collins, a team of volunteers made it work again. When the event isn’t swallowing all their time these folks have a little fun. Don’t worry about the nearby picture; TSA and Homeland Security can calm down. This was a planned promotional venture on the side of a great new restaurant called Rare, a chop house.
At the big show EAA likes to call the Summer Celebration of Flight, we rove the grounds seeking new airplanes, new engines or propulsion systems, new panel gear, updated models and more. In this very fast tour, we’ll zoom around AirVenture for a glance at some airplanes and components that caught our attention. In subsequent posts we’ll delve a bit more deeply into certain ideas we thought were novel. All photos accompanying this article are courtesy of Light Sport and Ultralight Flyer, producer of the 300+ videos you can find on this website. Rans showed off their new S-20 Raven. Those who thought designer and company boss Randy Schlitter got stuck on S-19 were wrong (it’s never wise to think he’s done designing). His new Raven combines elements of the S-6 and S-7, namely the side-by-side seating of the S-6, with the welded spaceframe and superwide door of the S-7.
Summer’s big show is over and most aviation business folks are back home having that love/hate affair with email that piled up while we worked the event. On whole, the success story is strong. Airplanes sold, crowds were good, accidents were few, and the weather was not smoking hot like it has been in years past (though brief rain showers kept folks dashing for cover on occasion). EAA says attendance was up from last year, that the numbers of airplanes was higher, and that campgrounds reached capacity by midweek. EAA’s special 10th Anniversary of Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft Exhibit drew well all week with 17 aircraft representing all sectors within the SP/LSA space. Visitors could hardly miss the wonderfully central space AirVenture planners offered for this one-year display. With the front corners presenting a bright green Van’s RV-12 plus the freshly debuted MVP seaplane attendees were practically compelled to wander the space and see all the flying machines.
Airplane-brand-specific fly-in events can be fun and informative. If the folks at Just Aircraft are involved and if they show off their amazing SuperSTOL, a company fly-in takes on a new level of excitement. Those of you who have stopped by their airshow display to speak to the people from Just Aircraft know the Walhalla, South Carolina manufacturer is composed of a bunch of individuals that seem so laid back, you could wonder how they get so much work done. They do, by the way, having produced and delivered more than 500 aircraft kits. Since 2012 — when they introduced their at-the-time-unnamed SuperSTOL to slacked-jawed response from crowds — Just Aircraft reported kit sales have more than doubled requiring the company to add a second shift to keep up with demand. How many other companies do you know with that need? All seriousness aside for a weekend, though, those Just Aircraft’ers know how to have a good time, too.
We all have favorites … foods, websites, movies, and of course, airplanes. I have favorites, too. This doesn’t mean my favorites are better than others, nor that anyone else may agree with me. That’s OK. Properly caveated, I have to say one of my favorite airplanes is Just Aircraft’s SuperSTOL. Flying it at last Sun ‘n Fun with head developer Troy Woodland was arguably my most enjoyable flying experience at the show, or for that matter, in recent memory. To state this carefully, airplanes have different capabilities so I don’t have an all-around #1 favorite but SuperSTOL is way up high on my list. Evidently, I am not the only one who feels strongly about the smile-factor of flying SuperSTOL. Honestly, what’s not to like? The plane flies docilely — even though it looks totally radical — and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Plus, the folks behind it are your salt-of-the-Earth, down-home types that you cannot help but like.
How do you take a laid-back approach to create a super exciting airplane? Schucks … it appears easy as falling off a log. The oversimplification denies how much energy and effort went into SuperSTOL. Because the folks at JustAircraft seem to be the most relaxed designers in America, don’t be fooled. Plenty of customers have seen the light that emanates from Walhalla, South Carolina. From the company’s unusual factory airstrip to the jaw-dropping performance of their super-duper STOL aircraft, Just Aircraft is a company you can’t — or at least shouldn’t — ignore. To gain more flavor of the extreme-looking but easy-flying aircraft, Just’s website has several videos that might fascinate you. “Since the company was formed in 2002, Just Aircraft was focused on developing an aircraft that would excel in back country performance,” the company announced recently. “Starting with the Escapade, the company began shipping out kits.