For the second year, Flying magazine is the main sponsor of the Flying Aviation Expo. This show follows on many events held in the desert city of Palm Springs by AOPA, whose organizers often said it was the most popular venue of their annual conventions. Starting off with a bang — dozens of airplanes literally taxi down city streets to ring the convention center — the Flying Expo offer lots of exhibitors, airplanes, forums, and more. Produced by Lift Management, the show was expertly organized and Palm Springs is gorgeous in October. Join us!
One of the most eye-catching microlights at Aero 2015 was the Sea-Avio Risen. This may be the fastest aircraft in the world using a 100-horsepower Rotax 912 ULS. At the show, we were able to interview the developer to get his view of his machine. What you see in the video is the first production model while the prototype has acquired more than 300 hours of flight time. It’s expensive, yes, but man!, does this bird fly fast. Get more detail in this video.
We’ve seen the Song but as the ULS, a pure-electric version of the same airplane as substantially modified by Randall Fishman’s Electric Aircraft Corporation. This gasoline-powered original is offered by Melody Aircraft in Canada, represented by Gary Steadman. Song is built in the Czech Republic and imported to Canada by Gary. Listen to his advice on the video about how you can obtain one along with performance and other specs.
Video Pilot Reports are some of the most popular of our hundreds of videos. They take more work and they have longer running time; this one on Van’s Aircraft’s very poplar RV-12 is presented in two parts. When you count RV-12 in both kit and SLSA fully manufactured versions, it is one of America’s most popular LSA even though it entered the scene a later than some. In this pilot report, we’ll try to tell you and show you why RV-12 is such a hit.
Convincingly the most prolific and successful aircraft engine producer for the light, recreational aircraft segment, Rotax wins awards from readers of magazines that vote on the best powerplant. In this video shot at Aero 2015 in Germany two key executives, Marc Becker and Christian Mundigler, tell us about the award and more about the newest 912 iS Sport engine. You’ll also get to see slides of many, many light aircraft that use the Rotax 912 series.
One of the most eye-catching aircraft I saw in the immense halls of Aero was the Bulldog Autogyro, a superbly finished prototype almost too good to fly. However, developer Barry Jones says he will put it in the air in late July 2015 and his 20+ years of military helicopter flying are experience to back up the claim. Join us in this video to hear more about this beautiful autogyro exhibited with such style at the major German airshow.
BushCat has long be both a very interesting design with features you will not find on other aircraft and it has a price point that most can consider. Prices changes so check with the supplier, but at $65,000 in 2015, BushCat deserves your examination. Now, it is even more capable with a new gross weight hitting the upper limit of 1,320 pounds meaning you can carry two 200-pound occupants and 65 pounds of baggage or other gear. Have we got your attention now?
Electric aircraft are a major buzz with even aviation gian Airbus working on their eFan. That’s still years away and will surely be expensive. However, SportCruiser developer Chip Erwin has an all-new motor with specially adapted battery. The details should impress you and he is also developing new single place airplanes — that he calls PSA or Personal Sport Aircraft — which will be powered by the new electric propulsion.
Many of us who enjoy soaring flight love the Pipistrel Sinus as it offers some wonderful gliding capability. Even the prop can “feather” to reduce drag. It works marvelously and can exceed 50 miles per gallon. U.S. representative Rand Vollmer shows us around the Sinus but then took us outside to see the “Flex” capability. Basically this refers to a variable wing span with extensions that remove in a matter of minutes. You’ll want to watch the whole video to see this feature set.
Quicksilver’s Sprint has long been a great little airplane. Versions of it have sold many, many thousands of units and they consistently deliver good flying qualities with an excellent safety record. However, some may seem a bit underpowered. Not any more! With Hirth’s 50-horsepower F23 twin cylinder engine, Max 103 is highly energetic. Here how it was done on this video.
Glasair is the well-known company behind models of a similar name but now they have something very news. This is the Merlin, which may sound like a model by that name formerly of Canada but this one is a fresh start. In this video we sit in the mockup with company president Nigel Mott who tells us about the plan. In early 2015, the model took to the skies for the first time. We expect exciting things from this experienced producer entering the LSA space.
If you saw Part 1 on the Evolution Trikes Rev, you saw it assembled from trailer form to flight form in a few minutes. In this video, main developer Larry Mednick tells us more about his slick new single seater that sells for a mere $17,900 (base price, though many options can be added). Rev can make Part 103 in its basic form when equipped with a parachute, which it was. Get the whole scoop here.
Light-Sport Aircraft are awesome. Many pilots want one but not all can afford one. Now Lou Mancuso of Bristell USA has a wonderful program for partner ownership, sometimes called fractional ownership. Honestly, it sounds so good it seems almost too good to be true … but it’s for real. Presently available in three locations with more to follow, pilots living on the east coast can join the fun. Hear Lou describe his fascinating plan in this interview.
The first major introduction of a diesel engine that will enter production, perhaps in 2015, came from Superior Air Parts at Sun ‘n Fun 2015. This company makes a line of XP engines for Experimental and Vantage engines for certified aircraft. The Gemini Diesel is their first entry to the LSA market and may prove to be a game changer, especially overseas where avgas is frightfully expensive and where auto gas can be of question quality. Here the details of the new engine in this video.
Welcome back to Paradise, that is, welcome to Brazilian producer Paradise Aircraft to the tropical paradise of Florida where the southern hemisphere builder has set up a remote manufacturing operation. They also began bringing in the significantly-revised P1NG — dubbed “Ping” — although it actually refers to the Next Generation version of their P1 model we’ve seen in the U.S. for some years. In this video we hear about the company and the alterations in the model.
Finally! I got to fly Icon’s long-awaited A5 LSA seaplane. In a word: superb. Well done, Icon. In this 25-minute video join Icon Sales VP, Craig Bowers, and me as we run the highly-anticipated Light-Sport through its paces including a series of stalls that show the value of their hard work to create a spin resistant airframe. No airplane is perfect for every buyer but the California designer and manufacturer hit just about every correct note. We bet you’ll really enjoy this one.
Here’s Part 2 of our Video Pilot Report on Van’s Aircraft’s very poplar RV-12 is presented in two parts. In this second part, Dan Johnson recounts his experience flying Van’s RV-12 filling in some details not presented during the in-flight portion of the evaluation. Although doing these VPRs is much more time consuming and take longer to watch, we hope you enjoy all the information they deliver.
In this video, we think you will see something unusual. This is a 1991 Quicksilver GT500 that looks as though it just rolled off the assembly line. That may be common in vintage aircraft but here’s one you can afford and which nearly anyone can fly. Longtime Quicksilver expert, Todd Eleffson went through this particular GT500 from nose to tail beautifully restoring it. A friend who asked me about it bought the plane before AirVenture 2015 ended because it was an excellent value. More of this is coming as Quicksilver are common around the world.
At AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, Rotax Aircraft Engines made a special announcement … that of their new 135 horsepower 915 engine. The new powerplant, due out on the market in the last half of 2017, features characteristics of the 912 iS Sport with its fuel injection and the 914 Turbo. However, the 915 with its more powerful turbocharger now also incorporates an intercooler. It weighs a bit more and will cost somewhat more, but can sustain a continuous 127 horsepower. In all, this is an engine many airframe producers will greatly anticipate.
The very first Light-Sport Aircraft to adopt air conditioning was the Corbi Air Alto 100 from DirectFly. The U.S.-made air conditioning system is supplied by Air Management Technology (AMT) of Englewood, Colorado. When importer Ron Corbi brought his Fly-Cool equipped Alto to my home airport in Florida, I got an introduction to the airplane and I got to experience the value of that cooling system. Hear more about FlyCool and Alto in this video.
Building a kit is part of the American aviation dream but it isn’t for everyone. However, it is something anyone can learn. In this video we interview a husband and wife team — Hutch and wife Ann — who went to Just Aircraft to build their SuperSTOL (they are seated in the airplane for this video). Now, for those of you who aren’t sure you can dedicate the time, Big Sky has an answer for you: come visit them and they’ll give you expert assistance.
Only a few months earlier, at Sun ‘n Fun 2015, we got our first glimpse of the Superior Gemini Diesel engines aimed at the Light-Sport Aircraft space. At AirVenture Oshkosh 2105, we saw an installation of the engine on an American Legend airframe. This rapid pace is helped by the close proximity of Superior Air Parts and American Legend, just 80 miles apart in the state of Texas. In this video Legend boss Darin Hart and Superior VP Scott Hays tells us when we can expect to see it flying plus other details of the development.
Some folks believe Light-Sport Aircraft cannot function well in a flight school environment. Certainly, while learning to fly, students make mistakes and some believe that means LSA are not built durably enough to withstand the rigors of instructional flying. In this video we speak to Ron Corbi to examine a DirectFly Alto 100 that has logged 500 hours of such flying in a single year. You can see for yourself that it not only endured student pilots but still looks mighty good.
Jabiru Aircraft has long done well with their line of affordable, speedy, and U.S.-assembled aircraft. Yet following the difficult recession years, owner Peter Krotje thought he could do even better, but lowering the price. How is that possible … especially a $25,000 cut of retail price? See the video for more detail but basically the Australian manufacturer sells a kit to a South African company that is highly effective at building these kits. Afterward, Jabiru USA imports and finishes their work. Despite a lot of freight, you pay less. Buyers will enjoy big savings.
Most pilots seem to love engines. Well, no surprise as (except for gliders) it is a powerplant that allows us to go aloft and see the world from our unique perspective. In this video we look into the Suzuki engine conversion to an aircraft engine. Speaking with Aeromomentum proprietor Mark Kettering, we learn more about this Japanese auto engine and how you can use it on your kit-built aircraft. Lots of info here and we tell you how you can get even more.
Vertical Power makes some of the useful products about which most of us don’t know enough. We’re all familiar with the common row of circuit breakers or fuses on our instrument panel but that is old fashioned … so last century. Vertical Power has changed hands and the new company, Astronics, has interesting plans for these innovative and modern products. Join us as Chad Jensen explains what is happening today with Vertical Power. You’ll surely learn something.
Larry Burke founded the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association back in the early 1980s when ultralight aircraft were zooming around the skies of shows like Sun ‘n Fun. We took a rare opportunity to speak with Larry at the 40th anniversary 2014 edition of Sun ‘n Fun and got his perspective on the industry as he saw it then and views it today. This is an important piece of history in the light aircraft community.
When people visit the Midwest LSA Expo, a popular LSA-oriented show in early September, those visitors will likely run into an expert airplane broker, Eric Evans. As you’ll hear in this video, Eric knows his way around a wide variety of airplanes, including many used aircraft. Eric tells us his view of the LSA market as we speak about a beautiful 2009 Jabiru that most viewers would think is brand new. He also tells about his concept to offer LSA training where he goes to the customer’s airport, a terrific idea.
How about an electric airplane you can buy for less than $20,000? Delivered as “almost ready to fly” Italy’s Zigolo is offered in the USA at South Lakeland Airpark (where you see this aircraft flying). Proprietor Chip Erwin, originator of the SportCruiser, tells us how he added electric power to Zigolo and flew it cross country to Sun ‘n Fun 2014. This is not a family travel airplane but for those who enjoy soaring or leisure flying, Zigolo represents an economical purchse.
Lately the loud buzz in aviation is drones. Called UAVs, UASs, RPVs or other names, we’ll just use “drone.” Not our usual fare of reports on man-flown aircraft, we are just as intrigued as tens of thousands of others with this camera-carrying airplanes. They are radio-controlled (RC) but with autonomous flying capability should you lose radio contact or if some other interference happens. Come with us as we fly and witness the surprisingly smooth flight of the DJI drone.
Cub-S, as it is known in 2014, is a very powerful Cub-like airplane. It isn’t actually a Cub and it probably outflies the original or those who closely copied the Piper Cub of old. Yet with 180 horsepower hauling it enthusiastically into the sky, the is one to watch. It will be renamed late in 2014 and announced at Sebring 2015 because the name “Cub” is owned by another company that is acting to protect their asset. This video is our Part 1 edition of our Video Pilot Report (VPR) on the Zlin Cub-S … or whatever it will later be called.
At the Midwest LSA Expo in 2014, we spoke with Jabiru USA owner Pete Krotje about some significant changes made to one of the popular powerplants in the light aircraft space. Used on Jabiru airplanes, the engines are also offered for many other airframes where Jabiru USA provides what is called a “firewall forward kit” offering a home builder everything needed to do an installation. Here the new features from this company, now celebrating 15 years serving the American market.
At the Midwest LSA Expo, we had a chance to speak with one of market leader Flight Design’s midwestern dealer, Tom Baker. We wanted to hear Tom’s comparison of the non-fuel-injected CTLS and the new Rotax iS 912 engine. So, we went flying and asked him for his thoughts … about Flight Design and his history with it as well as the new CTLS and the latest in 912 engine technology. Tom provides a deeper view of this popular LSA that may help pilots in shopping mode.
At AirVenture 2014, EAA hosted Zenith Aircraft in a major project in which 2,500 people gave some assistance to a central team that built an entire CH-750 from shipping container to FAA sign-off and test fly during the seven days of the show in Oshkosh. At the end Jeff Skiles (crew member of the famous airliner landing on the Hudson River) test flew the airplane. Here’s a view of the furious effort to get the job done quickly and well.
Zenith has found a very ripe market with lots of buyers of their kit-only CH-701 or CH-750 models that some refer to as a “Sky Jeep.” These are STOL models with short takeoff and landing. Plenty of people love it but prefer a higher cruise speed for cross country travel. Therefore, welcome to Cruzer. It dispenses with the slotted wings and fat tires. Wheelpanted and using only a single wing strut with a cleaner wing, Cruzer, well … cruises. However, it keeps a very short takeoff and landing and retains the easy flying qualities of the Sky Jeep.
In our continuing series of Video Pilot Reports (VPRs), we review the latest Rans, designer Randy Schlitter’s S-20 Raven. This is a delicious combination of the sweet-flying S-7 Courier and the S-6. The Courier is tandem and not everybody wants that plus the new model incorporates many new features that Schlitter knows his customers will enjoy. Come on along for a flight in the newest and greatest from the Hays, Kansas kit and SLSA builder. This a most enjoyable flying machine and we hope you like our perspective.