Immediately following Sun ‘n Fun 2018 is Aero 2018. Crammed in on the lone repack day in between shows I photographed a great showing of six LSA or LSA-like seaplanes at my home airport. I’ll report more on that gathering in another post because blast off to Germany and Aero we did that afternoon. Aero Friedrichshafen is my favorite European aviation event for one principal reason — it always delivers on new, never-before-seen aircraft. Full days means that most reports must come later but I want to keep the Sun ‘n Fun pace some readers liked by getting regular articles out regarding new things I saw at Aero. First up… SD Planes’ New Two-Seater Americans have seen and we have reported on SD Plane’s single seater, the SD-1 Minisport. Here’s a series of articles about that modestly-priced aircraft — and here’s our video.
SD Planes (Spacek)
Phone: (01142) 605-409-539Hodonín, -- 695 01 - Czech Republic
We have almost exclusively two place entries in the Light-Sport Aircraft space. And indeed, the SD-1 Minisport is not presently (in 2013) a LSA officially. For now it's sold as an Experimental Amateur Built aircraft. What sets this cute little apart from dozens of others is that this is a single place aircraft. On this video we spoke with Tyler Ives, the U.S. importer of this Czech airplane and he tells us what you want to know.
We have almost exclusively two place entries in the Light-Sport Aircraft space. And indeed, the SD-1 Minisport is not presently (in 2013) a LSA officially. For now it’s sold as an Experimental Amateur Built aircraft. What sets this cute little apart from dozens of others is that this is a single place aircraft. On this video we spoke with Tyler Ives, the U.S. importer of this Czech airplane and he tells us what you want to know.
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.
While so many continue to say you can’t buy a Light-Sport Aircraft for less than — pick a number … $100,000 … $150,000 — the truth is something else. We already have modestly priced entries from Quicksilver, BushCat, X-Air, M-Squared, plus several weight shift or powered parachute entries. Another that burst on the scene a couple AirVentures back was SkyCraft. The Czech design that a group in Utah are Americanizing is a fully enclosed, well-equipped single seater. Not many singles have been offered (Tecnam‘s aerobatic Snap is one such) yet the fact remain that much flying is done solo anyway, so why not have a sharp airplane for your own aerial enjoyment. Plus, what if you can fly it away for less than $60,000? Not every pilot will find SkyCraft SD-1 Minisport sufficient and lucky for those aviators, plenty of choices are available if you have to have 1,000-mile range, autopilot, big dual glass instrument panels, and of course, two seats.
“After a long winter and spring dodging the Utah weather,” SkyCraft Airplanes announced that their SD-1 Minisport, “has completed flight testing successfully, meeting all the performance requirements needed for SLSA Certification.” The Orem, Utah company reported, “The plane was found to have good longitudinal and latitudinal stability and exhibited no issues with flutter, vibrations, or dangerous stall/spin tendencies.” SkyCraft representatives said they were able to verify the performance specifications for the SD-1 achieved by its Czech designers (see video below for a performance hint using a European aircraft). SkyCraft said that following the flight test regimen, they posted updated specifications on the Minisport page. Minisport has been flying in Europe since 2007 when the airplane and company were created by designer Igor Spacek. The U.S. team first contemplated a kit aircraft — SD-1 Minisport is constructed significantly of wood making it a great project for some craftsmen — but later elected to go the fully-built Special LSA route.
After making a big splash at AirVenture Oshkosh 2013, the young team from SkyCraft Airplanes went home, rolled up their sleeves, and have been burning the midnight oil preparing the affordably priced single seater to meet ASTM standards and gain FAA’s nod for production. For those less informed, meeting the new industry consensus standards to earn government acceptance is a sharp deviation from FAA Type Certification. The task nonetheless represents a very significant work effort involving dozens of detailed tests and 100 hours of flight testing supported by hundreds of pages of documentation (read our earlier assessment of the costs involved). Even a well heeled organization like Icon has taken years to get all the pieces in place. However, sometimes a smaller, more nimble organization with very clear goals can go more speedily through the process. SkyCraft Airplanes is composed of an energetic group lead by CEO Tyler Ives.
We looked at this airplane at AirVenture Oshkosh 2012 (video). At that time the Orem, Utah team presented their wood and composite airplane as a kit. In a year a lot changed and now SkyCraft is pushing ahead with plans for a Special LSA that will be delivered fully built for the modest price of $54,850. CEO Tyler Ives says the company is ready to declare compliance to ASTM standards and after they get a chance to prove that to FAA, the SD-1 Minisport might become the very first single seat Special Light-Sport Aircraft, a distinction that once earned will last forever. The only other candidate presently known is the Tecnam Snap aerobatic LSA. Given that Tecnam has achieved more LSA models than any other company, you should never count them out so the race is on to be the first-ever single seat SLSA.