Jay Kurtz is the owner of South Lakeland airport (X49), where vendors often conduct customer demonstration flights a mere four miles away from Sun ‘n Fun. A longtime participant in ultralight aviation, Jay’s built RANS models, Capella designs, and a “regular” RV-9A. But it’s his second RV-9 that really has him revved up; this one is can be flown by a Sport Pilot! Not possible? Too fast and too heavy? Wrong! Jay’s RV-9 ELSA weighs 906 pounds empty and is headed to 875 pounds with planned weight savings. Powered by a 108-hp Lycoming O-235, speed is prop controlled to reach 134 mph at max continuous power. *** With the required 10 hours now flown off Jay can use the ELSA like any other Light-Sport Aircraft. And he reports the weight reductions to stay under 1,320 pounds gross transformed the ‘9 ELSA. “I approach at 60 mph, 20 slower than the RV-9A!” Jay also raved about handling and slow speed flight characteristics. I flew with Jay in his regular RV-9A and it flies as well as all Van’s Aircraft models. Yet Jay remains super enthusiastic over his ‘9 ELSA, “I’ve seen the magic of keeping airplanes light.”
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