Richard Helms has been one of the stalwarts in the trike development among American companies. Enjoying a positive change in market share (by many expert opinions), trikes are finding customers all over the country. It may be news to you but Helms has been facing this demand for years. With some 300 machines in the field, Sabre may be the leading American brand. The Sabre stacks up well against the more elaborate machines from Europe. Across the Atlantic, trikes got expensive and complex as they searched for more buyers. Helms learned that Americans often admire simplicity and he built to this goal. However, some buyers want more feature laden aircraft. Realizing the potential for the growing light aircraft industry in the eastern European countries, Helms went overseas to cut a deal with Aeros of the Ukraine. In the summer of 1999, Sabre introduced the new Venture trike. With an airframe that makes extensive use of Titanium and a sleek fiberglass fairing, the two-place Venture is a veritable showplace for numerous beautifully hand machined parts.
Sabre Aircraft Venture
Phone: (623) 393-0234Buckeye, AZ 85326 - USA
|Empty weight||360 pounds|
|Gross weight||886 pounds|
|Wing area||162 square feet|
|Wing loading||5.5 pounds per square foot|
|Kit type||Fully Assembled|
|Standard engine||Rotax 503 dual carb|
|Power||50 hp at 6,500 rpm|
|Power loading||17.7 pounds per horsepower|
|Cruise speed||65 mph|
|Never exceed speed||70 mph|
|Rate of climb at gross||700 feet per minute|
|Takeoff distance at gross||250 feet|
|Landing distance at gross||150 feet|
|Standard Features||Full pod, dual bucket seats, dual shoulder belts, full instrumentation, front drum brakes, front trailing link suspension, aluminum fuel tank, storage bags, windshield, cruise throttle, foot throttle, remote choke lever, 3-blade composite prop.|
|Options||66-hp 2-cycle Rotax 582, electric starter, ballistic parachute.|
|Construction||Aluminum tubing, titanium, presewn wing coverings. Made in the Ukraine; assembled in the U.S.|
Cosmetic appearance, structural integrity, achievement of design goals, effectiveness of aerodynamics, ergonomics.
Pros - Sleek new design from Aeros of Ukraine imported by Sabre Aircraft. Extensive use of titanium, rare in the U.S., but commonplace in former USSR countries. Large diameter tubing and double, heavy side wires and a stoutly-built chassis help deliver a solid feel. Standard Stream 16 wing offers good speed range with reasonable handling, a good compromise.
Cons - No testing documentation to review. No manuals to inspect. No track record for this trike (though Antares trike from same producer has been good and company also has a well-received line of hang gliders). Unknown capability to replace damaged titanium tubing (Sabre is new to importing this trike chassis though they have brought in Aeros wings for years).
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 - Fuel "gauge" offered for pilot check of quantity. Hand throttle and choke controls located at base of instrument panel, a spot unlikely to be bumped inadvertently. Engine access is easy and engine is upright mounted. Trike fold-down is easier thanks to mast joint above engine; leaves engine securely braced during transport or storage.
Cons - Pull starting proves challenging if belted in securely. No trim adjustment offered. Hand throttle is a greater reach than some pilots will want and was counter-intuitive in its direction of movement. No great radio location is available if desired.
Instrumentation; Ergonomics of controls; Creature comforts; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - New fiberglass fairing yields more room to rear occupant than first version (from summer 1999). Instrument panel more ergonomically slanted for easier access and reading. Backrest on front seat improves comfort for both occupants. Four-point seat belts on both seats. Entry ease is good. Rear seat steering is provided. Seats proved quite comfortable during more than an hour's flying. Some cargo area is provided inside of fairing.
Cons - Foot throttle (on right foot peg) was angled back too much for my comfort, though others may not object. Hand throttle was a little far to reach easily. Rather windy as with most trikes. Small windscreen is mostly cosmetic; I advise a helmet with good face protection.
Taxi visibility; Steering; Turn radius; Shock absorption; Stance/Stability; Braking.
Pros - Nosewheel brake is more effective than expected; on gravel surface it could lock up the wheel. Very sturdy gear legs system should work well on the roughest surfaces. Suspended main gear leg (upright one) helps absorb bumps; spring system hidden behind fairing. Suspended nosewheel with trailing link construction. Visibility is superb as on most trikes; same for ground maneuverability. Generous ground clearance.
Cons - Usual trike "Nautilus Machine" effort is needed to control wing in gusty, strong, or crosswind conditions; large, beefy wing guarantees a fair muscular effort is needed.
Qualities; Efficiency; Ease; Comparative values.
Pros - Landings are as easy and secure as on most trikes; very sturdy gear and suspension system nicely smoothed a rocky runway surface. Wide stance should help in cross-runway crosswind landings. (I made several landings in crosswinds without difficulty.) Braking effectiveness was surprisingly good for nosewheel system.
Cons - Takeoff required more push-out and a longer run than expected (could ease somewhat if chassis-to-wing mount point was moved aft, though this may bring other side effect). Slips in trikes are not effective. With no flaps, other means like better planning or S-turns must control landing approaches.
Quality and quantity for: Coordination; Authority; Pressures; Response; and Coupling.
Pros - Control ease seemed better than some other brands with similar wing size and chassis weight; flight within trim speed range was lighter than some other large 2-place trikes. Reversing roll rate was 3.5-4 seconds, not atypical for 2-place trikes. Steady state turns held bank angle with almost no pilot input. Overall solid feeling in flight.
Cons - Usual heavier trike inability to snap precisely to headings (as is possible on most 3-axis designs). Evaluation wing had a slight turn in it that needed to be "tuned" out. Crosswind capability is weak as on all trikes. Though the Venture is perhaps better than some heavier trikes, 3-axis pilots will find it requires lots of muscle for faster response.
Climb; Glide; Sink; Cruise/stall/max speeds; Endurance; Range; Maneuverability.
Pros - Speed range was impressively wide among trikes, with stall below 30 mph and top speed above 70 mph. Engine ran smoothly and felt very well dampened by engine mount system; standard 3-blade prop helped. Aircraft was able to hold altitude at well under 5,000 rpm, a good achievement for a Rotax 503-powered 2-place trike. Nice flying qualities at very low speeds.
Cons - Climb with Rotax 503 was limited to 600-700 fpm (though nonsensitive altimeter made this evaluation less accurate). Flying solo, I was unable to get speed much past 65 mph (though I consider this more than ample); 2-place flying saw 70 mph. Nearly all trikes are limited in forward speed as excess power results in a climb.
Stall recovery and characteristics; Dampening; Spiral stability; Adverse yaw qualities.
Pros - Four-point restraint system is stoutly built and appreciated, as was optional ballistic parachute system. Good longitudinal stability; dive recovery devices appeared to work well. Stalls broke in very low 30s perhaps high 20s (no way to check ASI accuracy). Full-power stalls never broke. Very pitch stable, you'd have to try hard to get in trouble with inappropriate pitch.
Cons - Pushed to the forward support tube, the wing insistently forces the control bar aft, desired or not. Slight turn in wing made some evaluations less certain. Power response changes climb in all trikes; add generous power and you climb, regardless of desire.
Addresses the questions: "Will a buyer get what he/she expects to buy, and did the designer/builder achieve the chosen goal?"
Pros - Overall finish of trike compares well with the best European trikes; hardware is also very close to the best. Use of materials like titanium adds appeal and is viewed as very strong. Comes complete with many items optional on other designs. Can qualify for Part 103 2-seat training exemption weight (though fuel capacity may be a problem; ask Sabre for advice).
Cons - Those needing more power can select the Venture 600 with 66-hp Rotax 582, but at additional expense. New trike with uncertain acceptance. No known certification applies. Whole aircraft delivery is presently very fast, but parts supply speed not determined.
Only a little more than 10 years ago, the wall fell in Berlin, Germany and Communism collapsed in the USSR. Before these momentous events, few Americans knew anything about the Ukraine (which was part of the USSR) and even those who did were largely unaware of its ability to produce aircraft. Yet by the mid-1990s, some Americans became aware of a Ukrainian company named Aeros. One man became an importer of their hang glider line. G.W. Meadows and his Thermal Riding Vehicles business sold so many hang gliders from the former Soviet satellite that the American market leader, Wills Wing, had to drop prices to remain competitive with the lower cost hang gliders from eastern Europe. In this article I’ll review the Venture, the newest Aeros model for the American ultralight market. But this new Aeros ultralight follows the Aeros Antares (once known as Graffiti), reviewed in the December 1997 issue of Ultralight Flying!