You may know its sibling, the Zephyr, which was present at last year’s LSA Mall at AirVenture Oshkosh. Some 90 Zephyrs are flying, mostly around Europe. But the Czech producer’s U.S. importer, Atec Aircraft, went forward with certifying the Faeta (pronounced “Fay-eht-ah”) winning their approval in early June. Atec America’s Caleb Wood reported, “It was a challenging process because the documentation we had to use was in Czech language and had to be translated to English.” In addition, he said, the documents were in a different format with a different method of organization than FAA wanted. But ultimately the data was judged sufficient and now this very shapely design is available to Americans. Caleb and his Faeta will be at EAA’s LSA Mall if he can secure exhibit space elsewhere. *** SLSA number 35 for the Apollo Delta Jet trike represents the number 4 Weight-Shift Control LSA.
Two weight shift aircraft from England carried the list of Special Light-Sport Aircraft past the 60 mark. Welcome to the P&M Aviation Quik and Quik GT450, our two newest SLSA models and the 7th and 8th weight shift aircraft (adding to 5 powered parachute models and 48 fixed wing airplanes, 2 of which fall into the Glider category). P&M Aviation was formed from a merger of Pegasus Aviation and Mainair Sports, the two leading UK trike builders. *** The P&M Quik models are modestly priced compared to other trikes from Europe. You can buy a Rotax 912-powered Quik for just over $50,000, which is substantially lower than other 912 trikes. The price tag also qualifies as one of the least costly SLSA. *** P&M Aviation USA is the American importer of the British brand. They’ll be at Sebring 2008 where you can see the Quik models with a larger control panel to allow for more instruments.
A couple approvals snuck past my radar in the last month of travel. Welcome to a Canadian bush plane and an Australian trike. Back around Tax Day, April 17th, AirBorne Australia gained their second SLSA airworthiness certificate with the XT-912 Outback. And on June 4th, the BushCaddy was signed off by a U.S. Designated Airworthiness Rep (DAR). *** A spacious fully-built BushCaddy is modestly priced for the category at $72,500 base with the 80-horse Rotax. Even with the 100-hp R912S or the 120-hp Jabiru 3300, BushCaddy remains under $75,000. And an ELSA kit is now permitted; indeed, one is already under construction. *** AirBorne’s Outback is a simpler, more open carriage version of their deluxe XT912 using the faster double surfaced Streak wing. The #30 SLSA sells for around $47,000 base price but an Outback is somewhat less; both models effectively qualify as a lower-priced SLSA choices.
In mid-May 2005 SPLOG announced the weight-shift aircraft ASTM standards were done. Indeed, they were, but implementation was stopped with a lengthy appeal. After a 40-page defense, the appeal was subsequently overturned and the specification was again put up for vote. This time it passed, and trikes finally have a standard. AirBorne’s XT series trikes are already certified to government standards in Australia so the down-under company should qualify for SLSA with relative ease. After the new standard was confirmed, Eastern U.S. AirBorne rep’ Terri Sipantzi of Precision Windsports reported, “AirBorne is now taking orders on SLSA XT-912s for delivery in February.” He encourages potential customers to lock in 2005 prices with an order and deposit placed now. The race begins to see which trike will be first with an SLSA certificate.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Friday March 17th, 2006, the AirBorne XT912 became the second brand of trike ever to join a very exclusive club. East Coast dealer, Terri Sipantzi, reported, “We gave birth to AirBorne’s first SLSA last night at 10:30 p.m., PST. An AirBorne XT912 registered as N-912PW was issued its Special Light-Sport Aircraft airworthiness certificate by Brian Carpenter of Rainbow Aviation.” The down-under brand has worked hard to establish an American following and they have for years met a demanding Australian certification standard, so no one is surprised that they were able to show compliance with the ASTM rules. You can read my flight review of the AirBorne XT912 in EAA’s Sport Pilot magazine for February 2006. We’ll be posting the article here (some 90 days after first publication). Congratulations to AirBorne and their U.S. team in becoming the 30th SLSA to meet FAA-approved standards.
Lance Armstrong helped Americans become familiar with the major French bicycle race by winning seven times. Now a Frenchman is making a name for Australian trike maker AirBorne among French pilots. AirBorne’s French distributor won the Microlight Tour de France for the second year running aboard his Airborne XT-912 mated to the Streak 3 wing. Serge and Genevieve Bouchet operate Veliplane ULM Paris, one of the largest microlight schools in France doing both weight shift and three axis training. The Tour de France routes pilots around the country as they navigate and race against each other. *** Airborne won French approval for their entire trike line and two years ago Airborne achieved a milestone earning British CAA acceptance for the XT-912. “So far, we are the only import trike manufacturer allowed to sell ready-to-fly aircraft into the UK market,” said the Australian builder. AirBorne XT 912 has also won SLSA airworthiness in the USA as number 30 on our SLSA List.
After four years of intense development (and more money than you might expect), the Seagull Aerosports Escape Pod made its flying debut at AirVenture Oshkosh 2006. Pilot Eric Rasmussen, proprietor of UFlyTrikes, a weight shift flight school and AirBorne dealership, took the sleek, retractable gear single place soaring trike aloft before a fascinated crowd at the big summer airshow. Designer Mike Riggs said, “People were running for the flight line to snap photos.” *** Those onlookers weren’t the only ones impressed. EAA judges showered the new rig with awards, giving Seagull’s Escape Pod both Innovative New Design and Grand Champion Ultralight. I’m not aware of a design snagging both honors in a single year before. (FYI: Escape Pod has been at AirVenture before but EAA judges don’t award any non-flying designs.) Hearty congratulations to Mike and right-hand man Jeremy! Now, those soaring enthusiasts — me included — are closer to deliveries of their own Pod.
Seagull Aerosports takes a new angle on weight-shift construction with a fully enclosed cockpit.
Developer Michael Riggs might prefer I called his Escape Pod something other than Everyman’s Motorglider, but if you have any interest in self-launched soaring flight, Riggs’ invention is one of the most cost-efficient purchases you can make. The Escape Pod costs thousands less than ultralight motorgliders and literally hundreds of thousands less than sailplane motorgliders.
Oh, and one more thing this kind of flying machine is a hoot to fly. That the Escape Pod also transports easily, can be stored in a small space and is attractively shaped are icing on the cake.
Sure, it’s obvious-I like the Escape Pod. But could it be for you, too? Even if this aircraft isn’t your type, you might enjoy reading about how thoughtfully it was designed.
Before the Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) rule was recently passed, trike enthusiasts had several other ways to fly such aircraft.