Exhibitor Chris Regis of Paradise USA (representing the P-1) reported “good visitor traffic” and “excellent organization” from the people behind the Heart of Texas LSA Expo. The new event, held over March 8 & 9 is one of two planned shows following the strong 2009 performance at the pioneer of LSA Expos, the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo. *** Several reports reminded me of the 13-city Sport Pilot Tour held during 2005 and 2006. Each of those events drew 10-20 exhibiting LSA and attracted 300-700 people at locations across the USA. The numbers sound small to those enamored of the huge crowds at Oshkosh. But, in fact, the Sport Pilot Tour, with its focused marketing on LSA only, helped customers find the manufacturer they were seeking. Everyone who came was interested in LSA and a vendor could speak to nearly all of them.
North Wing Design Apache Sport
Phone: (509) 682-4359Chelan, WA 98816 - USA
|Empty weight||400 pounds|
|Gross weight||950 pounds|
|Wing area||158 square feet|
|Wing loading||6.0 pounds per square foot|
|Height||8.5 feet (with strut-braced wing)|
|Kit type||Fully assembled|
|Standard engine||Rotax 582|
|Power||65 hp at 6,500 rpm|
|Power loading||14.6 pounds per hp|
|Cruise speed||40-55 mph|
|Never exceed speed||60 mph|
|Rate of climb at gross||900 fpm|
|Takeoff distance at gross||125 feet|
|Landing distance at gross||125 feet|
|Standard Features||Strut-braced Contour 14.5 double-surface wing, full cockpit pod, steerable nosewheel (push right, go left) with nosewheel disc brake and trailing link suspension, hand and foot throttles, shoulder seat belt system with recoil for front seat, basic instruments, heavy-duty fiberglass main gear legs, 12-gallon fuel tank, 3-blade composite prop.|
|Options||Choice of other wings including Mustang, 65-hp Hirth 2706 engine, electric start, dual steering and throttle, 4-blade prop, ballistic parachute system.|
|Construction||6061-T6 and 7075-T6 aluminum airframe, steel and aluminum fittings, AN hardware, fiberglass, Dacron sailcloth.|
Cosmetic appearance, structural integrity, achievement of design goals, effectiveness of aerodynamics, ergonomics.
Pros - Revised and improved 2-seater. Numerous new features, besides the dual-mast design that increases comfort: a brand-new fairing; more user-friendly seats; shoulder belts; a gas strut to help lift the wing; better engine vibration isolation; disc brake on the front wheel.
Cons - New features bring slightly higher prices. New fairing is quite wide, losing some of the lean look of the earlier model. The strutted Contour wing, which handles well and looks modern, makes some question its structure (though testing seems to have proven the concept).
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 - New wing-lift system greatly eases setup. Fairing hides fuel tank from view. Easy access to engine for service work. Dual nosewheel steering controls (optional). Electric starting and remote choke both fitted to test trike. Convenient switch panel between legs on keel.
Cons - In-flight trim not fitted to the test ultralight. New features, like the piston arrangement that helps lift the wing, have to be learned (though you'll quickly adapt). Some features, like the Heim Joint used to adjust engine position, are used only once or infrequently.
Instrumentation; Ergonomics of controls; Creature comforts; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - Fold-forward seat rest for the front seat; better back support and easier rear-seat entry. Adjustments for pilots of different heights. Dual-mast design is very user-friendly (and instructor-friendly when they fly in the rear). Beautifully padded seats. Shoulder belt harnesses front and rear with recoil in front.
Cons - Interior finish not as deluxe as some European trikes (though North Wing Design continually innovates). Dual steering is an optional extra. Front seat, though redesigned, could use more lumbar support. Wide fairing is roomy but certainly adds some extra drag.
Taxi visibility; Steering; Turn radius; Shock absorption; Stance/Stability; Braking.
Pros - Nosewheel steering dampening makes for smoother operation; works with trailing link configuration to keep nosewheel running straight. Suspended nosewheel has fairly effective brake; useful on paved runways. Good ground clearance. Maneuverability is also excellent, a benefit to being able to move the wings at will.
Cons - Nosewheel brake, though improved by the disc configuration, is still weaker than 3-wheel brakes like some new trikes. Ground-handling trikes in stronger winds demands more muscle. Optional rear steering system needed for instructor ground taxiing.
Qualities; Efficiency; Ease; Comparative values.
Pros - Short run and fast climb with 65-hp Rotax 582 engine. Adjustable Heim Joint assures optimal lateral thrust angle. The Apache's parallel-to-ground thrust line reduces swing-through phenomenon of trikes at lift-off. Excellent control of Contour wing makes the Apache Sport effective in variable winds.
Cons - Double-surface wing prefers a rather speedy approach of 50 mph. No trikes yet offer flaps or slips to control approaches. Trikes have less control authority in crosswind conditions than 3-axis ultralights (though experience can greatly widen your capabilities).
Quality and quantity for: Coordination; Authority; Pressures; Response; and Coupling.
Pros - Formerly a wing maker for hang gliders, designer Kamron Blevins has refined his art to earn superior handling from his wings. For a double-surface wing, Contour controls are pleasantly light. Trike control harmony can be better than 3-axis designs and was quite good with the Contour.
Cons - Since the Apache is heavier to haul two persons, it is not as agile as North Wing Design's single-place Maverick. Trike precision turns to heading require more finesse than 3-axis controls. Control pressures, while reasonably light in a large, double-surface wing, aren't as light as most single-place wings.
Climb; Glide; Sink; Cruise/stall/max speeds; Endurance; Range; Maneuverability.
Pros - The Contour wing revealed a surprisingly wide speed range while maintaining good handling. Due to the Apache's rear "spine" construction, engine vibration was dampened. Strong climb of 900 fpm with Rotax 582. Double-surface wing retained energy quite well on landings.
Cons - Rotax 582 adds expense, weight, and complexity. No trike dives well at high power settings. Won't cruise cross-country as fast as some 3-axis aircraft. North Wing Design has better wing designs (single-surface) for low-over-open-field flying.
Stall recovery and characteristics; Dampening; Spiral stability; Adverse yaw qualities.
Pros - The Apache was equipped with a ballistic parachute, a focus of owner Kamron Blevins and appreciated by your reviewer. Recoil shoulder seat belt system for front seat pilot; shoulder belt without recoil for rear. Predictable wing; no surprises. Steep turns maintained bank angle comfortably.
Cons - Despite general popularity of wing strut construction replacing wires and kingpost, some question ability to withstand negative loads as no jury struts are fitted (and would be awkward if tried). No other stability negatives.
Addresses the questions: "Will a buyer get what he/she expects to buy, and did the designer/builder achieve the chosen goal?"
Pros - Modern trike aimed at proposed Light-Sport Aircraft market. Dual mast more comfortable for rear occupant. Excellent wing design, core strength of North Wing; handling and speed range are both very good. Gas piston wing-lift system. Fold-down system leaves engine upright and fully braced.
Cons - At almost $19,000 fully assembled, the Apache Sport is relatively pricey ("relative" as many trikes cost more). Market for Light-Sport Aircraft is unproved and rules for certification not completed, so it's unknown how North Wing will meet them (though track record suggests they'll succeed).
Trike and trike wing manufacturer North Wing Design has debuted a new trike called the Apache Sport. Developed for the proposed Light-Sport Aircraft category, this new 2-seater can also be operated as an ultralight trainer qualifying under the training exemption to FAR Part 103. Barely a year after the new millennia dawned, North Wing Design introduced their first new 2-seat trike to the ultralight community – the original Apache. In the last year of the old century, the Washington-based company offered their first trike – the single-seat Maverick with its distinctive strutted wing. Prior to these developments, North Wing Design was a trike wing supplier. For many years, small manufacturers of trike carriages have been buying wings from North Wing because they handle and perform handsomely. In a still-earlier role, the company was a savior to owners of certain brands of hang gliders whose manufacturers had left the business. North Wing came to the aid of these stranded owners.